Thank you so much for the hugs and most of all, your understanding. I've mostly been keeping to myself recently because I want to avoid those flippant comments, "Oh it's just an animal". They only make it hurt more, especially from someone who you considered a friend.
We lost our family horse back in 2010 and he left a huge hole in our hearts. My dad was the only one home at the time too which just about ripped him to shreds, and I hated that I wasn't there. I still don't know exactly what happened.
We weren't sure we could handle another horse. The grief, the long committment, the work...but we did start dipping our toe into the market, looking around, and we found Angel in November of last year. She was a sweet mare, affectionate, with some riding experience and only eight years old. We took her home looking forward to having a bright eyed face peeking out from our barn again for many years to come.
Over the weekend, Angel wasn't looking too good. She was sluggish and she wasn't interested in her food which was a huge red flag. She will fight for her food and lick the pan clean. The next day, she was eating and a little more perky and I thought it was just a random scare. I checked on her a few hours later and she was laying down, not eating. Called the vet and found out she had colic, probably too late to save her. We could send her several hours away for surgery, $3,000-$6,000, but the chances are, it would happen again. We stayed up with her early into the morning, walking her, brushing her, gave her some muscle relaxants, sedative...but there was no change the next day and we knew it was too late to save her.
We'd only had Angel for six months. It was so painful to watch my dad hold onto hope when there wasn't any left. He REALLY did not want to see Angel go - the pain of losing Joe was still right there below the surface, not fully healed yet.
Dad still seems hopeful about getting another horse. I don't know that I'm strong enough for that. I don't know that I could ask my family to go through that heartache again. I love horses, I love having them around, I love how their horsey smell and their big horsey hugs makes everything better....but it hurts so much.