Silver Linings

When I write, I don’t expect or require an audience. It’s nice to have, and fun to get to interact with people, but it’s not something I “depend” on. Not here, anyway.

However, when I share thoughts on a relatively busy regional bulletin board, I expect it to be read, at least by a few people. It’s possible that a conversation will start and a new friend will be made. That’s the nature of a public forum.

I don’t, however, expect to be contacted by a major equine magazine for an interview.

Last week, I was idly browsing the regional bulletin board called EquineSite. I poke around on there occasionally, but I’m not a regular poster/commenter at all. EquineSite has always been pretty good to me — it is, after all, how Image came into my life. If it weren’t for a post I made there, B and I would have never connected. Anyway, I happened upon a thread discussing when you know the time is right to euthanize your horse. This obviously struck a chord with me. I opened the thread and read about the original poster’s dilemma, sympathizing with her distress over a horse that was suddenly going downhill. The thread was full of responses, but I replied anyway, throwing in my own two cents about the situation. It sounded like the critter’s quality of life was declining, and that it was probably time to let him go. I made the comment that it may be in her best interest to not stay for the actual euthaniasa if it were her first. I don’t want to say I regret being there for Image’s final moments, but because Image was my first euth, it was a little bit traumatizing. It’s also the last picture I have of him in my head. It was an amazingly quiet thing to watch — it honestly looked like he was lying down to take a nap — but it’s something else entirely to look into his eyes and find them devoid of the soul you once knew. It was unsettling, to put it lightly. I’m not sure I’d make the same decision again, knowing what I do now, but it is what it is.

The second thing I touched on was to make sure you have a clipping of your horse’s tail. When GP died, and L handed me his halter and a chunk of his tail, it was absolutely heart shattering…but the bracelet I had made was worth all the money and the heartache in the world. I’ll be honest here: I had a gut feeling the day that McGee came out for that original exam that things were not going to end well. I took a chunk of Image’s tail that day, right from the middle, so it went unnoticed. L chastised me, but I’m grateful I did that because I didn’t have to think about it when the time came. I will have a bracelet made from his tail hair as well, and will wear it daily, the same way I do GP’s.

Anyway, my comments were short, sweet, and not exactly well written — I kind of just threw them out there, along with gentle internet hugs to the OP for her heartache. I left the post and didn’t think much more of it.

The next day, however, I had an email sitting in my inbox from a journalist from Practical Horseman. I did a double take and it took me a minute to comprehend the fact that a major equine publication had contacted ME for my perspective on planned euthanasia. Um, what? I cannot brain. I haz teh dumb.

Once I got over it a bit, I wrote her back letting the journalist know that I was game for an interview if it would help others deal with this situation, and gave her my phone numbers. She called me at work a few hours later, and we had a lovely conversation. She asked quite a few questions about the whole situation, and was appropriately sympathetic for a stranger with a shared love of horses.

Hopefully, I said something quote-worthy and didn’t just ramble aimlessly for a half hour (the girls at work assured me I sounded professional and intelligent…they may be biased, though!). I didn’t ask when the article was going to be published, but I’ll be keeping my eye on the Practical Horseman magazine for a bit to see when it drops. I’m not even sure I’ll make the article, but I don’t really care — I was flattered that I was even contacted because of an impulse response to a bulletin board thread.

It’s a little bittersweet. If I do end up being quoted, I really hope something that I said helps another person in my situation. Nothing was easy about last month. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. However, it’s an inevtiable part of owning a horse: eventually, you are going to lose your best friend. It sucks, but thinking about it in advance and having a “game plan” in place for when that day comes will make the whole process go just a little more smoothly. So, if there is a silver lining to be pulled from losing Image, I guess this could be it for right now…I’m sure I’ll realize more as time goes on, but the wound is still too new for me to think anything other than “this effin’ sucks!”

So, my little potential claim to fame was a neat way to start my week. There are a couple of other “neat” things going on, but no spoilers just yet. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Silver Linings

  1. L.Williams August 9, 2013 / 8:05 pm

    I will look out for your article/interview 🙂


  2. SheMovedtoTexas August 9, 2013 / 9:33 pm

    That's great that you were able to share your experience to help others. I'll keep an eye out for the article, because I haven't been through it and I will need all the help I can get one day.


  3. Petr August 11, 2013 / 1:14 pm

    Amanda – you made the right decision to be there with Image. He needed you there. And I know exactly how you feel. The hardest goodbye I ever said was as I was looking into the eyes of my friend. Yes, eight years later I still recall that moment as vividly as the day it happened. And there have been hundreds of times I have wondered about my decision, but I know (I know!), I made the right one. And, as happens in life, that sad moment was soon overshadowed by happier memories. Reading your blog brought it all back to me. My face hurt from fighting back tears as I followed your journey. My situation was similar. A date was set. My gal was not getting better, would never get better, it was just waiting for her to let me know when she was ready. And she did let me know, although I selfishly hoped she never would. I couldn't ignore that look in her eye when she told me, nose hiding under my arm as she just leaned into me and sighed. That single day is right up there as one of the worst days of my life, but I am overwhelmed at times with memories of happier days with a happier pony. So don't beat yourself up too much. It ain't easy playing God. Image chose YOU to share his life, you just did not know those days were numbered. I did not save any hair. I wish I had. As much as I had braced myself, I was unprepared. I pulled hairs out of brushes, off of blankets, anything I could salvage as a keepsake. Today? I am kinda glad I just have her sweet memories to get me through my days. Sorry to ramble. Don't second guess your decision. It was the right one for Image and the right one for you.


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