When it came time for my first horse, who had been part of my life for thirty years, members of my family came from hundreds of miles away to say goodbye to him, and to be there for me. He was the last link to our childhoods.
My husband had arranged for an excavator to be present, from a local company who told him that they had just the right person to send for the job – a young man with a ranch background, who had experience burying several of his family’s horses.
My horse had never cared for a veterinarian, including this one - my sister made the remark at this time that he was a “one-woman horse” and disliked injections of any type, but he put up no resistance, just looked at me and let me know that he was ready to go. After the injections, we all sang hymns, then the excavator suggested lining the bucket of the equipment with a blanket before he carefully picked my horse up.
He asked me which way I wanted my horse to face in the grave – towards dawn, or towards sunset; I chose the direction that my gelding liked to look out into the far distance. The excavator gently lowered my horse, then we all tossed in flowers, and some favorite grasses and forbs, and the grave was filled with earth.
Later, we marked the site with large stones.
Losing a beloved animal is always difficult, but it gave me solace that my boy’s passing was handled as well as it could have been. I greatly appreciated family attending, my husband’s arranging for the burial, the caring professionalism of the veterinarian, and the unexpected kindness of the excavator.