Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Just a Girl and Her Horse

On Sunday night, I received a phone call I have been dreading.  The stable owner was concerned about my horse, Cherokee.  He wasn't acting like himself.  He was on the ground, and he wasn't eating or drinking.

To be honest, I have been waiting for this phone call.  Cherokee is 29 years old.  Considering the average age a horse lives to be is 25-30, I know the end is near.

As soon as the call ended, I burst into tears.  I felt like a horrible owner.  I haven't been able to see him in a while due to the overall busyness of life.  All I could think about was getting a chance to say goodbye and let him know how much I loved him.

Once upon a time, before Grant and my four kids, Cherokee was my everything.  My parents gave him to me on January 8th, 1993.  He was the best Christmas/Birthday present ever.  I asked for a horse every single Christmas and Birthday, and finally, I got my wish. 

For 7 years, Cherokee received all my attention. I met Grant and got a job, and less time was spent with him. Fast forward a few years and Dylan was born.  Then Lexie. Then Lily.  Then Liam.  With each child's birth, I had even less time to give to him.  Weeks would pass before I would get a chance to see him.  I knew he was being taken care of, and I knew we could keep him happily retired until he reached the end of his life. 

Some of my happiest childhood memories are those spent with Cherokee. On Sunday night, I was filled with regret.  I let all that time slip away and now I was facing the real possibility of having to say goodbye. 

On Monday morning, I prepared myself for the worst.  When I opened the stable door, Cherokee wasn't in his usual stall.  Fear filled me as I headed down to the lower stable.  I held my breath as I slid open the stable door and looked inside. 

I was extremely surprised to be greeted with Cherokee's happy neighs.  I went into his stall, wrapped my arms around his neck, and breathed in his scent. 

I'll admit it.  I burst into happy tears the moment I saw him.

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I spent the next half hour focusing all my attention on him, and only him.  He was thrilled to see me, and even though I was filled with guilt, I was also extremely grateful that this wasn't the end for him.   I brushed him, talked to him, rubbed his soft nose, and fed him sugar cubes.  I made sure to savor the time I had with him and let him know how much I loved him.  For those few moments, it was just Cherokee and I, just like it used to be so many years ago.

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I'm not in denial.  I know Cherokee's life is coming to an end.  I know I'm going to have to bid him a final goodbye in the not too distant future.  But for now, I'm going to enjoy the time we have left together! I am so thankful to have the chance to spend more time with him.

7 comments:

  1. I understand. My horse Phoenix was my everything for so many years (I got him in 1994). He doesn't get as much attention these days, but I still love him so much.
    I'm glad you had some special moments with Cherokee! Hopefully he'll start feeling better. Our horse, JR, lived to 34 and did very well until his last 6 months, when he got stomach cancer.

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  2. Such a sweet, emotion filed post! I am officially teary-eyed. Thinking about you and your precious Cherokee.

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  3. oh girl, i know what you're feeling. we have two horses--one that's almost 20 and the other that's around 10. we've had "tuff", the 20 year old, for about 8 years and it's so hard to see him age and begin to move slower than his play mate. when we first got him, he was a little more spry and young. watching a horse getting old is hard. i hope your cherokee has many more years that he can bring you happiness. xoxoxo.

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  4. I'm crying for you! It's so hard losing an animal. Cherokee is so beautiful! I'm glad you are able to have some special time with him!

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  5. I'm not even an animal lover and this post really, really moved me. I'm so glad that you got to have a special time with your Cherokee.

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  6. I'm afraid of horses and I was still so overcome with emotion when I saw your picture with him. I love you, friend and I love this post!
    xoxox

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  7. He is so beautiful, so hard to lose a member of the family. I pray for many more visits for you!

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