Euthanasia is never easy, but it can be less punishing.
The secret is to focus on love instead of loss.
It's a cold north wind that blows through my ribs today. Like a stand of quaking aspen, my bones are held together by proximity and not connection. My heart hurts and I am joyous. She was special. A rescue came here to die, early last year. Instead she grew fat, made friends, taught us the fine art of braying. She was tiny; a a small standard, in donkey terms. A mighty presence, defined by hooves and quirkiness. Decades of holding her ground brought her to this fair state, vision and hearing nearly gone. The pain hidden for so long, undeniable. It must stop. She needs a predator to come for her. Perhaps some fearful moments but then free. It would be a good trade. Her longears droop awkwardly, her eyes are deep-still. Independent, she keeps a bit off from the herd. Like I do, together but apart. I hoped her ancient heart would let her go but still she stands, shifting hurt from one leg to another. Fetlocks quiver, can't hold weight long. She lost her taste for canned pears two days ago. Nature is dependable, if not kind. The pain of saying good-bye is equally balanced with fear of our own passing. Pause. Sharing life with animals means keeping death close; welcoming mortality inside. She deserves calm breath, not selfish tears. Dear Old Girl, I'll be your predator. I'll come for you in the full warmth of the sun, without regret. The vet bends quietly to feel that ankle and gets a kick for asking. One last profanity. My teeth catch the air with the the precious joy of knowing her. Cantankerous, I'll keep that part for me. With one hand on her halter and one hand scratching her forehead, the way she likes. Keep focus; her impossibly soft whiskers. She leans back so slowly, the weight growing just a pound at a time. It's a moment to cherish. She's not trying to escape, she's trusting my strength to lighten the weight on her old legs. In her way, she's letting me hold her. Then it's time, we breathe together, and both of us, just a pound at a time, release all.
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro