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This month's blog has been a most difficult one to write and it has taken me quite a while to find the words that may help you understand me a little better and in the process, help you understand your feelings with life's events and challenges with our best friends.




I found something, recently, that was a beautiful way of expressing our relationship to animals and in this case, pets.  Let me just repeat it here:  In Hawaiian, you don't call yourself your pet's owner, you are their Kahu.  Kahu has many meanings among them are guardian, protector, steward, or beloved attendant. Basically, someone who is entrusted with the safe keeping of something precious, something cherished. What a Kahu protects is not their property.  What they protect is a part of their soul.  

Using this as a framework for understanding, the next element comes from spending some years with a Hopi Shaman who was most enlightening about a great many things.  One of those was to understand that animals too possess Spirit which some may call Souls.  I have reflected on that, particularly when people experience the grief, the schism, of their death in which I believe part of them remains in you and a part of you moves on with them.  I came to understand the Native American perspective of realizing it is rather arrogant to think our species is the only one that has souls.  The more we watch, the more that is revealed. 

There is, however, a unique bond between a rider and their horse. Unlike smaller animals over which you can easily have physical control (dominion), the relationship with a horse requires trust. It is, with its might, capable of easily dispatching you. Likewise, with the blind spots of a horse being directly ahead and directly behind, you become their eyes and in you they place their trust that you will bring them to no harm. A horse and a rider become one.  And, unlike many other animals, this relationship can last many years and, in my case, nearly 25 years.




As it is in the title of George Harrison's Album, "All Things Must Pass."  And so it was for me on March 18th when I discovered my mare, Roulette, was in trouble in the early morning.  The general term Colic is applied when there are gut issues with a horse.  We first used our basic pain medication that we have on hand but also called for an emergency visit by our vet.  His initial approach was to try to clear the gut with both a relaxing medication and fluid.  We watched her and walked her around and she seemingly responded well.  I treated her to grass and dandelions she rarely got, brushed her out completely which she always enjoyed, and walked on the property she never could go.  After a good hour, things began to go wrong again.  Another emergency visit quickly turned less promising and all we could hope for is her to roll herself out of it.  We continued through the rest of the day to work with her but it became apparent that we could not resolve the problem and that she was in a good amount of pain.  Late in the day it became apparent that either I put her down or risk her suffering through the night, not for her benefit, but mine.  I took my clips of her mane and tail and said our goodbyes.  As her partner, I could not let her suffer any further, and ended her life in the early evening after a final check indicated multiple organ failures were in progress.  I had her buried on the farm the next morning near Deb's personal horse, Tigger, whom we lost Christmas Eve two years ago.  They were pasture buddies.  Needless to say, it's been a difficult month for Deb and I. 

I'm sharing some of our pictures of her and me and, like many of you have experienced on a smaller scale, her last picture which pretty much says it all.  So, I tried to be a good Kahu and, in the end, a part of my Soul went with her.


-Lou

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What many people don't know about my wife, Debbie, is that she has several miniature horses that have been used in therapy for autistic or handicapped children and others. 


Milky Way was exceptional at pulling a cart and he loved doing so.  With Debbie's medical challenges, this had become more difficult as there is a lot of work tacking up a horse to draw a cart or wagon.  Both Debbie and Milky Way loved to give to others and they did so many times.  It will be difficult to look into the pasture and not see his face. 




Born 4/26/1996, Milky Way was Deb's first ever horse and was the one to make her dream of owning horses a reality. (But really, they own us!) She bought Milky Way when he was a couple of months old, so they “grew” up together. I reckon they taught each other!

They showed for a couple of years, and even went to Nationals! Milky Way introduced her to some amazing horsey friends. Life happened, and they stopped showing. But she would still use Milk to teach others to drive. He was a good and patient teacher for this task. He taught the art of gentle hands and soft voice.

Milky Way was Nyte’s general from day one. Nyte is another miniature of ours. Wherever Nyte went, Milk would be found to be at his right shoulder. As Nyte has aged, Milky Way would be the one to keep him safe from everyone else. Milky Way took this job seriously. Nyte will be lost without his best friend.

Milky Way loved to go for drives! And he loved to go FAST! Driving will never be quite the same again. Run fast and free, Milk! You will be sorely missed here by us all! -Lou



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There are few people we know who quietly go about their life and, yet, have touched so many people both directly and for generations to come.




There was no fanfare to him and certainly none at his passing. I have added a link HERE to let you see what a great soul he was to me and to many. Gene's last 6 years with a transplanted heart is an extraordinary testament to Living on the Edge of Science.


Gene was truly my Guardian Angel when Debbie totally crashed and was sent from Norfolk General to the Cleveland Clinic on total life support via jet.  He spent hours talking with me and helped me through that crisis.  His care, his insight, his advice was all sincerely given and he listened to no end to me for nearly 3 months.  


Anyone who knows me, well, that says a lot for Gene.  A few years later he taught me, like about 50,000 others, CPR in the event I needed to do it on Debbie.

 

We tried, when we could, to catch up with Gene as we returned again and again to Cleveland.  His last few years were pretty rough on him, socially, financially, and family. We tried where we could and were saddened that we could not make it back to be beside him in his final hours.

Even though he had a pretty good idea what was ahead of him after his first heart attack in November, he took the time to visit Debbie in the hospital at the time she was informed that her transplanted heart was failing. Gene was that type of true humanitarian.


Gene was also quite unique in perspective having nearly died about 8 times.  He was like an etched window into heaven.  You could get a sense of the realm beyond, or the transition to a "different form of energy" as Gene would say, but not a clear definition.  Christian religion refers to it as "seeing through the looking glass darkly" but with Gene, there was light.  Most importantly, Gene taught me what was important, that being life itself, and that which is not being about everything else of this world.

He will be missed in my life but I am forever enlightened by Gene.  I can only hope from this side of the energy that he found the energy he hoped to embrace and that it is kind to him.


-Lou




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