How do I express how I feel right now. I might as well use their names since I’ve posted (and am reposting) a link to their website. It was all of us: myself, Peggy, John (her boyfriend/ grounds keeper), and Bill (the barn manager). I got there early and had a chance to groom Romeo one last time. Oh my word, that hurts to say. I tried taking him in the arena to walk but he wasn’t into it although he did try. I’m sure he already knew he wasn’t long for this world. Another horse, Wilson, had taken to him and stuck with him like glue. It helped Romeo a lot for navigating around the pasture. While I was grooming Romeo and walking him Wilson was kicking his stall and whinnying. I walked Romeo to Wilson’s stall and they stood there almost nose to nose. Romeo was too tired to react but Wilson was stomping around, wanting to get out and be with his friend. My heart was already breaking.
Bill and the vet had arrived. Bill was the one who would have held him down if needed. I walked him out to the…. grave, then came back in to the barn where Peggy and I waited. Fortunately there was no need to hold him since the vet didn’t have the usual stuff. She gave him a series of sedatives then… did what was needed to be done. It had already been confirmed he had a stroke last year after getting a cat scan but his reaction to the sedative was the final confirmation. Bill said that when a horse has neurological problems they lie right down when the first sedative is given and this is what Romeo did. At least there was that. The process took over ten minutes. We waited. It seemed like an hour. We were both a mess. Eventually they came back and we went out. Peggy brought Wilson so he would know. An aside, she does this for all her animals: dogs, cats, etc so they know what happened to their pals and don’t spend the rest of their days looking for their friends. That’s one of the most humane things I’ve heard in a long time.
By the way, when it was in progress, all the horses in the barn got suddenly very quiet. That just doesn’t happen. On our way out, about ten feet away, Wilson stops and stands rigid looking at Romeo. It was only a minute so we sat down next to Romeo and petted him. When I petted him by his ears he would dip his head toward me, but now, he just lay there. Wilson was busy eating grass but eventually he walked over and put his muzzle right to Romeo’s head. I gave Romeo a kiss then took his bridle (had to stop a moment so I could wipe my eyes and see the keyboard…okay, continuing), his bridle and Wilson back to the barn giving Peggy some time alone. She finally came back and we had a cry then had to feed all the rest of the horse and turn them out to pasture. Life continues. I stayed for a long time after. Another thing that was upsetting her was that we were it. Me and her. To Bill, who’s worked with horses his entire life, it was business as usual but he did sit next to him, comforting his through the process. Literally no one but us four would know that Romeo had died and it was only two of us that would miss him. Well, there was another volunteer Peggy had told earlier in the morning, however, she wasn’t emotional having said that, “afterall, he is sick,” and had left. He hasn’t been a working horse for over a year so no one doing classes would even know him. Eventually I had to go home and Peggy had to prepare herself to do a class that night. I would like to have stayed to support her but I think my being there would have been too hard for her to keep it together.
I came home, watched TV, didn’t text anyone about it. I couldn’t, it was too fresh. This morning when I awoke, it all hit me again. I didn’t want to get out of bed which is unusual of me. However, I have things to get done so showered, got dressed, got coffee and am carrying on. Bill and John went back out to get some of his mane and tale. They got some for me too which I’ll get next time I go out. For the rest of my time there, while we took care of the other horses, we could hear the tractor. Yes, that is how they have to get the horse into the grave. It’s 12 feet deep so it takes a lot of time to fill it in. Peggy and I kept our eyes to the ground to avoid seeing any of it.
Bill had told me awhile back to not get attached but how could I not? No one was walking or grooming him so I did. Every time I went out I spent time with him. He was so sweet and leaned in to me whenever we walked. These pictures are the ones I took before going into an eating disorder program. I was discharged one week ago. They were going to do this last week but waited for me. I will forever be grateful to Peggy and Bill for that decision.
Rest in peace Romeo. You will always be remembered. You will always be loved.