I have never been a fan of euthanasia. While death is a reality of this world we live in, I do not want to be a part of ending a life. However, with horses being such large animals, and the kinds of accidents and things that can happen, euthanasia is an unfortunate reality in some circumstances.
Yet, I didn’t want to touch euthanasia with a ten-foot pole, so I never owned my own horse. I enjoyed other people’s horses, and I would let them deal with euthanasia if it ever came up. But not me. My reasoning was, if I never owned a horse, then I’d never have to do it.
That all changed several years ago with a 26 year-old gelding named Chaco who was in deteriorating health. There was talk of “putting him down”. That’s the nice phrase for “kill him”. When I heard that talk, my stomach churned. I took one look at him and saw a horse in chronic pain who could no longer cope with his environment. Off the top of my head I could list five things I would do differently if I owned him. I decided that for this horse only, I would deal with euthanasia if I had to. I took him into my care.
A few years later, another senior horse in deteriorating health showed up named Thunder. With him too I knew five things I would do differently so he could thrive in his golden years. For him as well I would deal with euthanasia if I had to.
I told both of these horses regarding their death at the end of their life, “It’s ok if one day I just find you in the field. We don’t need to do chronic illness, nor deteriorating health, nor euthanasia. When your time is up, it’s up. It will be a sad day, but you can go peacefully on your own.”
Years went by, and they thrived. Then one day a few months ago, it happened. We found Thunder dead in the field: peacefully and on his own, at home, in his herd, in his favorite napping spot. My wish for him had come true.
Thriving in their golden years, and dying a natural death at home. That is what I want for the senior horses at God’s Window. Euthanasia? If it ever comes up, I will deal with it. For now, I just enjoy what is, and it doesn’t get any better than that.