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Losing Part Of Your Soul - April 2024

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.


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