Here Lisa S gives us her reasons for keeping any pet and apparently not finding a use for it.
I was at a party (for the kids, I don’t do grown up ones anymore lol!) recently and got talking to someone about the horses and how Indy was injured and being stabled. This person had recently lost their dog. I kind of assumed they would understand a few things, but they didn’t.
We got talking about the cost of keeping horses and that I hadn’t actually sat on one in 3 years. I was asked why I kept them. Short answer was, they had all been rescues and as they were currently, they’d be hard to home, but also, I had a connection with them, even if one of them is still really scared of people.
Our attention turned back to Indy, 27, retired, and currently costing a lot of money. I was then asked why I didn’t just put him down. I felt that was really off, given this person had literally just lost their dog and would (or should) know the pain of losing a part of their family! I’m not very good at asserting my opinion in conversation, and to be honest I was a bit blown away with the comment.
Why didn’t I put him down?? Best answer I had was why would I?! And on thinking about it later, I have of course come up with lots to say but didn’t have the chance.
Animals, whichever one they are, don’t owe us anything. Indy certainly doesn’t!
My own personal take home from that conversation was huge. Most of it was stuff I already knew and stuff that was in my head and heart anyway, but in sharing this piece about older horses, I’ll share my thoughts on that conversation and perspectives that I think this person, and many, many others (especially in Australia), fail to see…
Animals owe us nothing. If we choose to have them in our lives, we choose to commit to them and their well being. To insinuate it would be more practical to have an animal put to sleep purely because someone is not “making use” out of them, is, to me, really coldhearted. Most dogs don’t have a use. Most cats don’t have a use. Not having a use certainly doesn’t mean they have no purpose. Their purposes and places in our lives are great, and varied. Some are simply companions, some are the one and only reason a person gets up every day, some are healers and some are healed. Why does that not apply to other animals? Of course, to me, it does. Indy, at 27, owes no one anything! He never did. But I sure as hell owe it to him to give him the best life that his years have left in them. Just because he is not ridden anymore, and just because I don’t have time to ride the others at the moment, doesn’t make them obsolete in my life. They are my grounders. The things that keep me real. That keep me centered. They don’t need to have a purpose in my life, but each of them has their own anyway.
If we give value to only the animals (and indeed the people) who are of “use” to us, and discard those who are not, what does that say about us as individuals? That we only value that which is useful to us is not the way we should be living and loving. How can meaningful connections be made when we place depth of connection on usefulness?
This person looked at me like I was mad to be spending all this money on a horse who was sick and old and not ‘useful’. But that horse, and others before him (Mincka, Bronze, Pandora, William, etc.) hold much bigger pieces of my heart than that. I am GLAD I am that person who stresses about how the next vet bill will be paid instead of just calling it quits because a horse won’t be ridden again. I am glad to be that safe place for those oldies who find their way to me. I am honored to be able to spend their last days with them and to stand by their side as they leave this earth, knowing that all they needed to be in my life, was LOVED.
Old horses, beaten up horses, screwed up horses, much like the people they share so many traits with, don’t require a use. They don’t need a purpose. They just need to be loved. A horse’s only purpose is to be a horse. A person’s only purpose is to be a person. If we can surround them with love, instead of placing a value or use on them, wouldn’t that make us all the richer for it? (Admittedly, for myself, it means financially poorer, but it’s not money that makes the world go round after-all.)
For me, it does mean I am an emotional wreck a decent bit of the time, but I would far rather that than be someone who was driven by materialism and placing the wrong value on animals and people.
Just a thought…