Death and Euthanasia

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.

Thunder enjoying the sun a few weeks before he died. (1985 – 2015)

Leave a Comment