Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Goodbye My Watch-over-me Dog, Goodbye My Sweet Lena

On September 18th, shortly after 6:00 in the evening, 
Dr. Erzsi Willoughby came to our house and euthanized Lena. 

 Dr. Willoughby, deeply intuitive and compassionate, helped Lena to gently slip the leash that bound her to this earth and enter the world of pure spirit.  I miss my constant companion intensely. 

Lena's number one job was to watch over me.  She was committed to this job
and was happiest when she was "going along" with me, wherever our trail might lead.

A likely aussie-kelpie mix, Lena cast a field of friendly cuteness that won 
her many friends.  She thrived around people, lived for the sound of jangling car keys,
and was completely committed to her number one charge - me. 

While cute, Lena packed a ton of fierce determination that she tried to express through
alpha dog moves on Stella, my pitt/shepherd girl, and other dog friends.

Through all the rough and tumble doggie games, she more than held her own.

Lena's expressive face would shine with canine joy
 as she waited for the magic words, "Lets GO" 

that would send her sprinting across the road into one of her favorite
 places  -  the 90 acres where my horses live.

Over the years she joyously leaped and dashed along
 miles and miles of trails that led through the general pasture.

There she could regularly find the nastiest piles . . . 

. . . that would send her into fits of pure ecstasy.

Our shared trail was full of opportunities for exploration, exploration, and partnership..

She was amazing around the horses.


And was always there, always listening, watching my every move.

We would play zoomies . . . 

. . . she loved racing away from me, then turn and speed back to my side.

Wait for me my good dog, I'll catch up with you on the trail home.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sending Lyra and Autumn Home . . .

A few months ago I decided that this summer would be the final season for my two grannie mares -  Autumn, 26 years old, and Lyra, 30 years old.  Last winter was hard for both mares, for different reasons.  Lyra, a thoroughbred, was having a harder and harder time with her night vision and was no longer thriving in the general pasture.  Autumn had six loose teeth and the spring tooth floating by our wonderful vet did not correct issues with her mouth.  Both mares, when kept in a paddock or corral, showed anxiety related behaviors that kept them agitated and made it even more difficult to  hold their weight.  It was time to send them home . . .

Saturday morning was beautiful, a sun-kissed fall morning. 
I pulled the girls from the general pasture so they could enjoy a feast of their favorite goodies.

Their herd members lined the fence, keeping us company.

Lyra, so clever and proud of herself, gave me dozens of kisses 
and got dozens of carrots (her favorite trick).

On this day, the carrot bucket was bottomless.

While we waited for our vet, both girls enjoyed grazing and being groomed.

Their eyes were soft, there was not one tiny bit of fear or worry.

There is no easy way to say goodby to a beloved companion.
Yet I found comfort in seeing my dear trail partners end their time on this earth
in the kindest and most compassionate way possible.

Autumn and Lyra had a gentle end, their eyes stayed calm and trusting throughout
the entire procedure.  There was only mild surprise at the end, then they were gone, 
out of their bodies, running free along the trail home.

Red Horse stayed close, then slowly and carefully said goodby to his friends.

In our community, there are limited ways to dispose of equine remains.  
The man who came to collect the bodies was kind and respectful as he did his job.

On this day I had so dreaded, I felt great comfort in seeing the gentle end I was able to share with my mares.  I am absolutely certain that the prayers and loving energy sent us by friends and family contributed to our peaceful experience.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I wish we had more resources to support equine euthanasia in our community.  The following link leads to a discussion of such resources in another part of California.  There is also a video of an actual procedure.  It is not scary to watch, and is a good resource for someone wanting to learn more about what is involved.  Click HERE to visit the website. 

One day later and I am grieving, but I have absolutely no regrets.  Autumn and Lyra gave me more than I could ever possibly repay.  I consider it a great blessing that I was able  send them on their journey home in the most compassionate way possible.