Saturday, February 05, 2011

LOVE- the furry family members

As I type this the love of my life, a big black Australian shepherd dog named Kaya, is sleeping beside me, taking up way more of the bed than statistically speaking a 60 lb dog should. But that's okay. Because after last night's sad and heartbreaking events, I'm more than happy to spoil Miss Kaya and let her know I love her.

Last night we very unexpectedly had to put down my sister's beloved horse, Streaker. Streak has been in the family for about 7 years now I think. He was a rescue horse, saved from the glue factory, many years ago. But under my sister Stephanie's love and attention, he's flourished into her "Noble Steed."
Some pets are not just simple little furry creatures meant to keep the mouse population down, or to intimidate squirrels and rabbits from the garden. Some pets are members of the family. They look up at you with their big brown eyes full of adoration because you, their very special human, provide shelter, food, and belly rubs for them. Your pet loves you, and you love your pet right back.

Stephanie made Streak her world. Anyone who has ever owned a horse knows they are not cheap to buy (but rescuing them does help), tend to, or provide for. Ferrier appointments, shoe-ing, stable fees, feed, saddles, vets, etc. Horses do not come cheap. But Steph has worked hard to be able to provide for her horse. To care for and raise a horse is a labor of love. You must truly love not just horses, but your horse, to want to make the sacrifices.
And then there is learning to ride your horse. Not all horses are broken as easy as you see in the movies. Some take years to break and ride. It takes time and a lot of work. Again, it is a labor of love.
Steph and Streak had their own special language. When Steph would approach the barn and make her silly squeaking and clicking noises, Streak would run from some distant place in the field to find Steph. Streak knew Steph was his human. He came running for her and her only.

Steph's best friend has long been Streak, and he'll always be her first true love. He was there for her through everything.
I'm sorry to say that there was a sad accident last night and poor Streak was severely injured. Sadly, Steph was out of town when it happened. From the time she found out to the time the vet arrived and euthanized him was less than an hour. I rushed to the barn to be with Streak as soon as I found out. I held the phone so a sobbing Stephanie could say goodbye to her baby. Her goodbyes were the last thing he heard as he took his final breath.
We saved a braid of his tail for Steph. I'm glad that if she wasn't able to be there with her baby, at least she was with her human best friend when she got the news. There has been an outpouring of love from the friends that knew how much Steph loves Streak. And from the many friends that Steph had taken up to meet Streak and to go riding with her.

If you ever wonder if horses have feelings, let me tell you about Streak's horse best friend, Scout. Scout is another horse at their barn. They never leave each other's side. They are always found romping around the field together. When we take Streak out for a ride, Scout follows us right up to the gates, where we have to force him to stay inside the field, and not follow us out. These two horses are best buddies. Last night, Scout stayed faithfully by his buddy's side as he was put down. As 3 humans huddles around Streak, comforting him as he slipped from the pain, Scout never left. When we backed away, Scout went over to nudge and stay by his friend.
Some pets are more than just furry companions. Some pets are family members too. They have feelings. They love you and depend upon you for everything. They know and value the person who cares for them.
Goodbye Streak, we'll miss you.

PS- thank you to Brenda, Sarah, and Emily for being there last night! Your help meant the world to us!


  1. I'm so sorry to hear of your family's loss. If I can recommend a book that might help you deal with the real grief that comes with the loss of an animal family member, take a look at _Rescuing Sprite_ by Mark Levin. He wrote it after his dog died, and many pet lovers have taken solace from it. Take care.

  2. Oh, now I'm crying. I'm so sorry for your loss. All my love to you and Steph and everyone mourning the loss of their friend.

  3. I am so heartbroken for y'all. Streak was so wonderful. He was the only horse I've ever gone up to and touched and talked to. He was so wonderful with the kids. I haven't had the heart to tell Eli yet, he really loved Streak and he loves Stephanie so much I don't want to break his little heart. I can't imagine the pain you are all going through.


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