He Died In My Arms, And My Heart Will Never Heal :(

I have lost many pets over the years. I have had rescues birds that died when I was young, hamsters, ferrets....etc.
But, the hardest loss was that of my horse, Domino. 

I purchased him as an elderly horse, so I knew that he may not be long for this world. He was a sweet tempered, 15.2 hh black Thoroughbred cross with a white star on his head.
I must have been one of his best owners, because the way he followed me around and came to me in the pasture, it was like he was saying, "Thank you for taking care of me."

I used him for my riding lessons, and he was every student's favorite horse. Everyone at the barn knew what a great guy he was, and let me know that his personality was one in a million. Having had many horses, I knew that they were correct. He was a special horse that touched the hearts of many children in our lesson program.

He had colicked before, and had not only recovered, but had become a more lively and healthy horse. When I purchased him, he was very thin and lethargic, but in a few months, we had him galloping around the field with good muscle tone and a beautiful coat.
I was used to the colic lasting for a while. One time, I had spend all night until four in the morning in the middle of winter (we don't have heat in the arena!) walking him until he was ok.  

This time, though, it was bad. He started to colic in the morning, and I walked him and waited for him to come out of it. The vet came out and administered medication to him, and told me to call her back if he didn't improve. I was quite positive through the whole situation. I felt sure that he would be fine; that this was just another bout of colic. 
As the hours passed, it became apparent that he was not handling this well. He kept falling down when I was walking him and refusing to get up. Finally, I called the vet again. He was laying there with this terrified look in his eyes. I told my friend to stay by his side as I went to the rest room. When I left, he raised his head and whinnied after me, as if to say, "Please don't leave me!!"

The vet told me that I had two options: I could either put him down, or try and trailer him to the hospital, where he could get a $5,000 surgery to try and untwist his intestines. The surgery was only 50%.... and with him already being in his late twenties or thirties, it was very likely that he wouldn't survive it. 

I had never had to make a decision to put a horse down, even though I have owned many in my life.

Though it was most likely the right thing to do, my decision haunts me to this day.

We got him up, and lead him out to the field under the large tangled oak tree, where him and I had sat many times in the cool of the day.
He laid down, and put his head in my lap. I held him as the tears streamed down my face. This gorgeous creature, so large and majestic, now lay helpless on the ground, at the mercy of cruel fate. 

The vet explained how the injection would work, and how it would shut down his entire system. It was basically an overdose of a sedative, so he would not feel anything.
I tried to be strong.
He looked at me, and in his eyes I could see his thoughts, "I have lived a long life. You have been a great friend. It is time for me to go now. It hurts so bad..."

It took less than a minute. HIs his muscles relaxed, and his breathing ceased. My Domino was gone.


He was buried in that field. After that, I could hardly bring myself to go to the barn. I stopped giving lessons. Not long after that, I sold my other horse and moved my third one to a different barn. I was so devastated after the incident, I hardly talked about it. My students sent me pictures they had drawn and cards with their condolences. I even had a student write me a book about her experience with me and my lesson horses. 



I still think of Domino.... I remember listening to Enya on my iPod while galloping through a field with him one summer day. Every time I hear that song, that memory floods my mind. It was like a dream.... I will miss him forever. 

Starlatheimmortal Starlatheimmortal
22-25, F
2 Responses Jul 28, 2010

Thank you for your empathy...I have a hard time re-reading this as it stirs up too much emotion. <br />
<br />
(Oh, and, if I could send an "e-tissue", I would ;)<br />
<br />
~Starla

The screen has gone blurry reading your story. <br />
Got any tissues anyone?