A tribute to those we've lost along the way.
JASPER (R.I.P. May 2013)
Jasper was thought to be standardbred but when he arrived at his foster home from the feedlot in Ottawa it was soon discovered that he was not standardbred, but more likely to be thoroughbred or thoroughbred cross. Never the less, he - like so many other horses - needed to be saved. His road to recovery was overseen by the GPS team, and Jasper was finally able to run free in the pasture.
On the weekend of May 18th, 2013, our dear, lovely Jasper sustained a fatal injury while in the pasture - a compound fracture to his front leg. With tear-filled eyes and broken hearts, the Team bid their final farewell's as they watched Him cross over the Rainbow Bridge.
"You were my first chance to take part in a rescue, and you needed it so badly. Stuck in that bad, noisy place, not knowing what was going to happen to you, it must have been so scary. But you were a brave boy, and you tried your very best to do as we asked you, and came willingly when I put the lead rope on your halter. They didn't even care enough about you to give you a halter with a good snap. Maybe they thought that a horse going to slaughter didn't need one. The first time I touched your neck, I knew you were feeling a little comfort, because someone was finally on your side. You chose to come with us. There was no pulling on the lead. You just came. Even though your poor feet were hurting you so much, you stepped up on that trailer like a champ.
We had a long ride home, having to stop to change a flat tire, and you were a good boy, just waiting until we were ready to go again. Every minute took you farther away from that place and those people, and I guess that was good enough for you. When we got to your foster home, good, kind people were waiting for you. They had good food, and were generous with it. They put blankets on you, and gave you your own box stall, all clean and comfy. They made you feel safe and loved. You soon started to look healthy, and we could see you changing.
When you came home to Go and Play, you were missing Oliver, but you made friends with Dexter, and he was your comfort buddy. Then you discovered the other horses, and when they picked on you, Arwyn took you under her care, and you became her baby.
We saw your sense of fun when you would run at whichever horse was being ridden in the ring, at stop quickly at the fence, as if to say "BOO!" We laughed at your antics, and told each other stories about what you'd done that day, and what a bugger you were. And we laughed again.
Today, we cried for you. For your pain, your fear, for knowing you had to leave us. So soon. Before we were finished. So much left to do yet with you. But it was not to be. We cried for us. We cried for a family member, so loved and wanted, gone too soon.
We can all take some measure of comfort knowing that from the time we took you from that feedlot, the only touch you knew was the loving kind. The only voices you heard were kind and friendly ones. You had all the food and treats you wanted. We were able to do for you the one thing that matters. We ALL protected you. It wasn't just our job. It was our pleasure. We are grieving now for you, because we loved you so much and we wanted so badly to see you live long in your forever home. You stomped into my heart the first time I saw you, and you will always be my special boy. It was with you that rescue became real at that gut level for me. I'm so grateful you gave me that because it made me want to do it over and over.
So many people will never know the joy of rescue. We live it. You and the others we save from slaughter and abuse are our future. It is how we measure our inner goodness. You are our babies. We love you, and we will miss you, our baby Jasper."
HOWMAC'S QUICKTEMPO (R.I.P. July 2014)
"You came to us in the cold and snow, and you left us crying in the rain as you crossed the rainbow bridge today. Inara, the Companion, the Comedian with the twisting tongue, best friend to Skye and Tuffy. Our Narry Nara, we knew you were losing the strength and the will to fight on and we had to let you go before the suffering got to be unbearable for you. This was a moment we dreaded, because we all worked so very hard to give you good health, but it was beyond our ability. We wanted so very much to see you go home with your forever family, but I guess that was who we were to you. Your mamas, your papas, your caretakers, your protectors. Your very own forever family, and we all loved you like you were our very own to keep.
When you were still in quarantine, you would love to get out and go for your walk. Always, it would start out as an innocent stroll out the laneway to stretch your legs from the long time in your stall. Then it would become a push-pull to the fresh green grass that was starting to come in the hayfield, and you just couldn't get enough! It must have tasted so good after the long winter, and you needed it. We all came to know your "left shoulder drill". Over, over, over just a bit more, and the next thing we knew, we were off the gravel and into the green stuff, your head down, taking in as much as you could before we stopped laughing and remembered we were on the wrong end of the lead rope. And you always had to have a good roll.
You started to feel so much better, and we began to feel confident you would beat that illness. And that personality! Head out over the stall door, talking, demanding attention, saying "Hey! Excuse me! I'm out of hay here!" and the tongue doing gymnastics and twisty curlicues out both sides of your mouth while you tossed your head up and down. Our very own funny girl. The sunny spring day you got to go out into the far paddock by yourself and the lead rope came off, we all watched the video, and our hearts sang for you as you tried your running legs for the first time in weeks. You were so happy, and so free, and you were able to roll without the confinement of the lead rope.
What was it that brought you to us? How were we lucky enough to have been the ones to keep you safe and happy in your last few months? We knew so little about you before you came home to us. We never dreamed then how short your stay would be. But you have left your mark, and we will always be grateful to have had the honour of sharing your last days with you. To have watched you become such close friends with Skye and Tuffy, and to have been greeted in such fine fashion. We will miss your nicker across the fence when we come to the barn, and there will never be another you. We loved you as you were. A gentle lady with a love of life and all the wonderful, tasty treats that came with it. Run free, baby girl, and don't look over your shoulder. There are no whips, no heavy shoes, and no raindrop tears where you are now. Just a rainbow bridge for you to cross, and join your old friends. We will see you again, our Narry Nara. And we will smile."
MR EURO (R.I.P. August 2015)
"I had not spent much time with you since you arrived at Go and Play, other than turn in and feeding time, so didn't have that easy familiarity that others did, but admired you more from the sidelines, your copper shine coat, and that wild stallion mane and tail.
Everyone who saw you would draw their breath, not believing what stood before them. Quiet and self assured, you would accept their offerings of admiration and treats as if you were royalty, having kindly come down to visit with the commoners.
In your paddock, you would welcome the company of any who wanted to share time with you. Human, goat, pig, chicken, you were happy to spend time with all. You were in your element, and all loved basking in your glow.
You loved your grain, and made it very clear that you expected to be fed quickly once you heard the buckets banging. And if there were treats to be had, you weren't going to stand there watching someone else get them and do without. That was understood and very quickly rectified.
How odd that of all the people who have passed through your life, those who witnessed your birth, who put that first halter on you, who introduced you to your racing career, who drove and rode you to victories large and small, that I would be in the small group who spent your last day with you.
As I watched you, so uncomfortable, yet willing to allow others to come into your stall to try and ease your distress, a gentleman even in what must have been unrelenting, building pain, and in those hours, it impressed upon me what a truly gentle soul you were. You stood in the crossties while I sprayed, brushed and combed the burrs out of your beautiful forelock, mane and tail, picked up while you raced around the paddock.
I even braided your forelock to finish up, just like Sarah had so many times, so you could see more easily.
It was such a brief time we knew you, just 62 days. 62 short days, and then you were gone, the victim of excruciating, brutal, irreversible colic.
We're left wondering why. Why you, so big, beautiful and strong? Why now, in the midst of so much change? Why so painfully? We thought, we hoped, that you were feeling better, and you would be fine. And never would we have wished it for you to end that way. So much we would change if we could.
You were escorted out of this world with compassion, gentle hands, and many tears. You will be missed very much, and won't be forgotten.
Wise folk say that everyone, whether human or animal, comes into our lives for a reason. Some stay a long time, and others only a moment, but each passes through to leave us more enriched than when they came.
All of us experienced our time with you in our own different way, but we will all remember you with the same love, admiration, longing, and for a while, sadness while we heal, and we will each take away our own lessons from your all too brief visit.
Run, beautiful Euro. You're across the Rainbow Bridge now.
Run with your friends, old and new, and revel in your freedom. Your work here is done.
Until we meet again."
U R SO INCREDIBLE (R.I.P. October 2015)
"A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about how lucky I felt, after the loss of Euro, which both followed and preceded much upheaval and change for Go and Play, that through it all, I still had my Joey. And I reflected briefly on how glad I was that I didn't have to write a eulogy for him, because I didn't know how I would ever be able to. When we lost Jasper, I had put my thoughts of him to word, and after that, it had somehow fallen to me to be the one who would write the eulogies or tributes to the horses lost to us. Hard as it was to write a piece for each one, I always had the comfort of being able to go out and see my own boy, and pet and hug him. I felt like I would have him forever.
For the past three years, I lived in a joyful hammock of security, loving every moment spent in his company, and dreaming of years of fun still ahead. Strong and healthy, coat shining from a naturally good constitution, he might even outlive me. Yesterday, Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at about 12:30 p.m., my whole world was torn apart, and my belief in happily ever after was shaken to the core.
My Joey is gone.
Joey. Joe. JoJo. Silly Boy. Baby. Good Boy!! The "Wrong" Horse
You arrived at Go and Play in August 2012, straight from the Greely Auction Barn feedlot, snatched from the clutches of those who viewed you as nothing more than mobile meat. You weren't the horse Sarah was expecting to receive, but there was no return, so you took your place as the first Go and Play feedlot rescue. Swollen right hock, otherwise in pretty good shape, it was uncertain, however, if you would ever be able to carry a rider, or just be a paddock puff. Some investigation showed your name to be "U R So Incredible". And you were so incredible! Friendly, silly, always looking for a treat, you stole the heart of everyone who met you.
Sarah's good care, and an allowance of time to heal brought you around, and you started under saddle with Meg's expert guidance. You fit in with the herd, and quietly took your place as one of the gang. Each day, I grew more attached, without even realizing it. In fact, until someone made an appointment to come and see you, I didn't know how much I would miss you if you were adopted. So, when the person wasn't able to come, I took it to be a sign that I needed to adopt you. I told Sarah I wanted you, and I can still see her smile. So home I went, and told your future dad and sister, and hurried back to the barn to meet Sarah yet again, adoption fee in hand, my Christmas gift from Daddy (Barry), in a card I still keep to this day. Your sister (Carla) took photo after photo of you, and announced to the world that she had a new brother. She smiled the whole time, every time she was with you. Even though you made her itchy and stuffy.
I would always call you "My Joey". It made me so very proud to talk about you and show everyone the photos and videos I took of you. I admit it: I was bragging. But who wouldn't? You were the picture of beauty, a big, strong, glorious, shiny bay, tail to the ground, perfect head, bright eyed wonder. And you were mine! And everyone else's, too. Friendly to a fault, I trusted you completely to stand in the crossties while children squealed and ran around you. You never, ever, threatened to kick, and you were the go-to horse for birthday rides, first timers and small children's introduction to horses. And you patiently allowed newbies, including me, to learn how to drive. Gentle as you were, you took treats from an elderly lady's hand, as she smiled in delight, old memories coming back to her of long ago horses and races at Morrow Park. And she drove you around the sandring, reliving her youth for just a few moments.
I would stand at the gate, or in the paddock, and quietly say "Come here, my JoJo", and you would come over, ears up, eyes bright, ready to say "Hi Mom! What'd you bring me?" You would tell the other boys to back off, I was your mom, and whatever I had, you weren't willing to share, although you would eventually give in and let them have a little, too. Yes, you could be a bit of a bully sometimes. But I watched you one day last winter, much to my surprise, come to the aid of Star after some of the other horses decided to pick on her. They didn't bother her again, with you standing beside her, her self appointed protector. You and BJ were best buddies, and it wasn't until last summer's Standardrama that I realized how attached you were to all of the Go and Play horses, when I watched you greet Lucky and Mojo. You were so excited to see them, and had to go and say hi.
The sound of a plastic bag would bring you to attention, anticipating some goodie yet to be eaten...maybe something homemade. I bought fabric, thinking I would make a blanket just for you to wear to our next show. The theme was going to be "A few of my favourite things". I was waiting for a delivery of fabrics with bananas and grapes. I had already collected your other favourites: carrots, apples, watermelons, grass; all were to have a place in the design. Colours cheerful and bright, just like you.
We will all cherish our memories of you. They are why we are all so sad now. If we hadn't loved you so much, look what we would have missed! Our slow rides, because I wasn't the best rider you had ever had, all those people you made smile, our drives around the property, and our first and now only horse show ever, where you showed your excellent "fast walk" during the trot section of the halter class. But let's face it Joe, you walked as fast as I ran. And you took our cart through those cones perfectly, until I misdirected you.
We had much unfinished business, you and I. More trail rides with Dad and BJ, perfecting my driving form for next year's Standardrama, more petting and talking things over, more grooming, more massages, and most of all, more love and unchecked pockets. There is no way to put into these few words how much I will miss you. The hardest thing I have had to do in 35 years is to let you go. But I made you a promise when I adopted you. A promise that you would be safe for the rest of your life, and that I would make sure you always had what you needed. Enough food, attention, love, and when it was time, I would be there to escort you out of this world. Yesterday I kept that promise to you, years sooner than I ever expected I would have to. But you deserved it.
You brought me so much more than I ever gave to you. When I met you, I was in a place in life that I needed desperately to change. It had been 32 years since I had to give up the horses of my youth, and I had not allowed another horse into my life between then and coming to Go and Play. It was time, and you were the one who was chosen to come to me. You saved me as much as I took part in saving you. You gave me back my happy, my feeling that all was right with my world. A crappy day would melt away when I saw you and you returned my gaze. A soft nicker, a gentle nudge, was all that was needed to make things feel okay again. And I always carried you with me in my heart when I left you at the paddock gate. I hope you knew how much you were loved and cherished.
You will stay in my heart where you belong, my JoJo. I will carry your memory with me, just as you carried me on our rides. I will someday talk about you without shedding tears, and take the happiness you gave me and pass it on to others like you who need my help to survive and thrive. When it's time, I will take my leave of this life as well. Until then, wait for me on the other side. I will meet you at the Rainbow Bridge.
Rest in Peace, My JoJo.
~ Julie Craib
PRINCESS SKYE (R.I.P. November 2015)
"There is something about an animal in need that drives the human spirit to spring to action, to be the "someone" who does "something" to help. A pull of the heartstrings, a voice in the back of the head that won't let up, a feeling in the pit of the stomach that won't go away until that animal, in this case a small, scruffy, skinny dreadlocked mare with untrimmed feet and a crooked walk, is safely surrounded by stall walls, soft bedding and plentiful, clean hay and water.
An ad on Kijiji offered for sale a Standardbred mare, as well as other equines in equally dire straits, and the photos demanded we go and get this horse. The pictures only hinted at the distressing living conditions of the animals, and once there, bargaining commenced immediately.
With no time to waste, an agreement was reached, and arrangements made to pick up the as yet un-named girl. We would have loved to be bringing them all home, but it wasn't possible, unfortunately. But our ragged lady stepped up onto the trailer, and into her new life as if she had been expecting us.So was the beginning of our time with Princess Skye.....
When we got you home, little Skye, we really weren't sure what we were dealing with. All we knew was that you seemed to be a sweet little thing, and we had no idea of what your pedigree might be. You had no freeze brand on your neck, so we had no way to track who you were. So we just gave you a name that went with the names of some of the other residents of the stable.... Star and Luna. It suited you, and so it stuck. You were not in very good health when you arrived. We all worried that the parasite load you carried at first would prove to be too much for you, but you came through it. Covered in manure, it took 5 hours to clean you up, only to find you had mites under all of it. How uncomfortable that must have been! A cool April day, even with the sunshine, and you needed to be clipped to take care of your skin condition.
So you got your own stall, blanket, and pretty soon you started to feel more at home. All the comforts a girl could want. Even a pedicure! A good diet and lots of love and care had you looking like new by the end of summer, and it was clear to all that you were enjoying your new life.
At some point, it occurred to someone that you were rather regal in your attitude toward us and what you wanted, so we started to call you "Princess Skye".
You enjoyed the minstrations of your courtiers, and would stand to be groomed, and very graciously accept the various treats offered by your admirers. Your favourites were Krunch, carrots, and apples...cut into quarters, of course. A lady never takes too big a bite.
You were a very good sport, and took part in the Halloween open house, dressed up like the pretty princess you were. Children and adults alike, all wanted to pet and admire you, and like true royalty, you granted as many audiences as were needed to allow all to meet you.
You made friends with Tuffy when she arrived, and you adopted Harley as your own. Horses came to Go and Play, and left again, fostered and adopted. All the while, we waited for your forever family to come and meet you. It takes longer with older horses, but we kept hoping.
Imagine our joy, when Rachel and Pat and family, who had already adopted Pet and Raven, decided to adopt not only you, but your pasture buddy Badmoon, and your best friend in the world, Tuffy! It was a happy day this summer past when you and your friends were reunited with Pet, and got to meet Raven and Tinkerbell.
When we got word you had crossed the Rainbow Bridge, we all felt so very sad. We had wished for you and your new family, years of happy togetherness. You did have happiness until the end, though, and that is the best we all, as your extended family, could hope for you. You had children to love and brush you, and no hard work to do. A lovely retirement that any horse would enjoy. A loving horse mom and dad to make sure you wanted for nothing, and you gave back in spades. You made senior ladies and gentlemen smile, and let them relive their glory days for just a little while. You have caused many to smile, our pretty Princess, and we are so very proud of you.
We will miss your wonky pace-walk, your soft eyes and friendly, cheerful way. We will smile when we think of how you would get so excited about your grain that you would lift your front foot while you ate. We will hear you talk across the fence, telling us you want to visit. And though you have left us for now, forgive us if we forget for a moment, and reach out to give you a pat and a stroke."
MILO SOLOMBRE (R.I.P. January 2016)
To say that we love and cherish every horse that enters our program is an understatement, and today this has proven true. While we will never have the opportunity to meet Milo, we grieve for him today, as we learn of his passing.
Milo was 19 years old. Not a young colt anymore, but instead, an older gentleman, who even in his final hours, was happy and soaking up all of the attention and treats that his QT family could give him. He made 73 starts on the racetrack, mostly in Quebec, before being lost in the shuffle, as so many racehorses do. In January 2016 he appeared in a PA killpen, bound for slaughter, but thanks to a kind, caring, and generous group of people and supporters, he was networked, bailed, and promised a new life here in Ontario, at our facility.
We anxiously awaited for updates on you, and were excited to have you arrive to us in late February. Instead, we cry today, after learning that your last owners had failed you. They had sent you to auction on a fractured leg that could not withstand the pressure, as you tried to lay down in your nice, new soft stall. We thank Nancy and your QT family, for being with you in your final hours, and giving you the love and care that you so rightly deserved. You're free now sweet Milo, run like the wind - there is no more pain, no more carts to pull, and no more humans to carry.
"Your spirit at last free,
No boundaries for miles to see.
You are now galloping on gold,
In the presence of those who can keep up with you.
You're God's angel now,
And that was always meant to be."
DIAMONDS RR STYLE (R.I.P. September 2016)
Today, at 2:17.p.m. I said goodbye to my best friend of 15 years. My sweet boy, I love you so much. My heart is breaking right now. I have no words to describe how empty I feel inside.
453 races. 87 wins. Over $250,000 in earnings. A race career that spanned 12 years.
At 29 years old, you ARE the epitome of a 'war horse'.
Run free my handsome boy - no more arthritis to slow you down. Plus all the carrots you can eat - and I bet you don't have to be stuck dragging around a human anymore in order to get the best patch of grass!
So many memories, so many lives you've touched during your years. Every one who knows you probably has a story or two that they will always remember.
My best friend, my rock, my teacher & my confidante. I will always love you and I will always remember you.
Forever & Always My Friend.
~ Kimberly Hale
KEYSTONE MOSCA (RIP December 2016)
We are sad to report that our gorgeous Beau has crossed the rainbow bridge, where she can now run free without pain from arthritis and old age. When Beau first came to us, she was full of life and spirit, and she loved to run. While she was never able to find her forever family, she was one of our own that we loved and cherished every single day.
She made us laugh, and while she was a true mare through and through, her ability to bring a smile to anyone's face was just part of her charm.
The last few months, we watched our sweet Beau become stiffer and more uncomfortable. We did everything we could to help her, but in the end, we knew that her time had come. We will miss her infectious personality and her beautiful grey coat in a field full of bays.
Her spirit lives on in her beautiful daughter Diva, and we were honoured to be able to have this mother/daughter pair in our lives - even for just a little while.
"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose;
All that we love deeply,
becomes a part of us." ~ Helen Keller.
LUKES MC CHAMP (RIP AUGUST 2017)
A simple routine visit to a potential horse going up for adoption became a whirlwind two weeks of heartbreak, compassion, strength, courage, and teamwork. We had offered assistance to rehome a Standardbred gelding who was a companion only; and we set up an appointment for a representative to go out, meet him, get some photos & video that would help in his rehoming process - what we didn't know was that the reason for his companion only status was a badly injured leg that had healed over time to create a warped twist that was nauseating to those who looked at it in person.
What followed a phone call that depicted this horse in need of our immediate personal care rather than a rehoming process, was a swift gathering of our amazing supporters who came together in mere hours to raise the funds to have Luke transported to a facility near some of our Board members, along with the funds for him to be seen by a vet.
Within 24 hours we had Luke in our care, and it was quick to see that he would likely require the saddest ending, euthanasia. He was very underweight, and could hardly walk at any speed. However, what was quickly evident was Luke's spirit and his personality.
Luke was infectious in the way he was able to make you laugh, cry and get mad all at once. He was happy to try to toss you in the water trough or knock you over on his way to a fresh patch of grass. The light in his eyes however was dim, and we knew at the end of the day we needed to do what was right for him, no matter how much it hurt our hearts.
The vet confirmed our worst fears, that Luke would not be able to safely sustain his life as he was, and there was no cure to fix his leg or the pain he would be in if he continued. However, the vet said that this was a horse who deserved to know love in his final days, and so we did just that. He was spoiled daily with groomings, treats, and all the hugs he could get.
As Luke's final days came, we were contacted by former owners of Luke's who came out to say goodbye, and shared many stories of him in his former glory days. We got to know Luke so much more than we ever expected, and we were grateful he brought us together with so many kind and compassionate people.
We said goodbye to Luke on a windy, sunny day -- you could tell that he was ready to go, how else could you explain a horse that was excited to see a vet? And as he breathed his final breaths, we hugged him close and told him how he could now go and run pain free & have all of the ladies for himself. And what did he do, but let out one last big snort - as if he knew he was about to become King of the pasture in the sky. Rest easy Luke, although we know you're up there charming the ladies with your handsome good looks and "look at me" attitude.
“To live in this world you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” – Mary Oliver, Blackwater Woods
WESGATE WENDY & KENDAL RUBY (RIP NOVEMBER 2017)
To lose one horse is a hard pill to swallow. To say goodbye to two of them is heartbreaking. I won't lie, I've tried and failed to write this many times over the past week. Every time I start, I find myself unable to find the words to express how much love we had for these two amazing mares. So I'll do my best, please excuse me if I do not do them justice.
Wendy - Sweet, sweet Wendy. She arrived to Go & Play in 2015 along with her pasture buddy Pablas Guy Laughin (known as Diesel now). Wendy was the mother of the horse behind the start of Go & Play - Hillary's Conquest. She was also the amazing mother to 5 other foals. While Wendy never found her forever family to spend the rest of her days with, we believe she stayed with us because she HAD found her family. She chose us, and that was end of it. She spent the past year living like a Queen with her best friend Ruby at a foster home up near Orangeville. Her foster mom Barb gave the girls all the love and spoils they could have, and even throughout Wendy's ups and downs struggling with her senior age of 26 years old, and the affects of a nagging breathing issue that would flare up, Barb was there by her side right until the end.
Ruby - Little Ruby joined us in the spring of 2016 as an underweight given-up-on-life shell of the mare she grew in to be. Bullied by her previous pasture mates, she was left with only the scraps to eat and it took it's toll on her senior body. A careful feeding program and a lot of love, and Ruby became this gorgeous fiery matching pair with Wendy. When Ruby connected with her pasture mates, she connected HARD - they were never allowed out of her sight. While she blossomed under good feed, her history took its toll on her body and she began to struggle with her hips and found it hard just to get up and down from her daily naps. Barb was by her side, watching and ensuring Ruby never struggled to get to around.
This past fall, the girls began to show their senior ages and the tough decision to sit down and discuss options began. We had hoped that the girls would be able to enjoy one more winter, but when Wendy's breathing issue came back once again and took it's toll on her, it was clear to see that the girls were ready to go. We could not bear to allow them to live one day without each other, they were best friends until the end and we take comfort in knowing that they are together still, across the rainbow bridge ruling their own pasture and making sure all the boys stay in line.
Bless you Wendy & Ruby, our hearts ache but we know that being together is what made you both so happy.
And to their foster mom Barb, thank you for all you did for our girls.
"In the steady gaze of the horse shines a silent eloquence that speaks of love and loyalty, strength and courage. It is the window that reveals to us how willing is his spirit, how generous his heart."
~ Author Unknown
ROLYS GIRL (RIP JULY 2018)
While she has thrived some days, our precious Molly's bad days have become frequent, severe, and with that in mind ; we made the hardest decision we could make as a team. We never, ever want to watch her struggle. And in the past few weeks, her neurological symptoms have been catching up to her - she has fallen down, and often had struggled to stand if she's laid down for any length of time.
She goes through days where she seems to not recognize or realize where she is, and she goes in to a full blown panic. It's scary to watch, not knowing what more you can do to help her. We can heal the physical wounds, but some times we cannot understand the mental ones.
We were blessed that Molly had a wonderfully good day to be able to visit with Ashley and Carrie, and we have treasured photos and memories to honor, and cherish her.
We love you to the moon and back miss Molly and though our hearts ache, we know that you have had everything you have ever wanted or needed. We let you go today knowing that within our hearts, what's right for you comes above all else.
May you never have to fight to stand up after a nap, or worry about where you are ever again.
You are home, you are free.
And we love you. Always.
Thank you to Mallory for being her faithful foster mom for the past few months. For researching and being willing to try all kinds of methods and treatments to try to ease Molly's stress and pain. No one hurts more than you, and we send our strength to you as you be there for Molly one last time.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved within your heart,
and try to love the questions themselves.
Do not seek the answers which cannot
Now be given to you
Because you would not be able to live them,
And the point is – to live everything.
So live the questions now.
And perhaps you will gradually,
Without noticing it,
Live along some distant day, into the answer.”
– Ranier Maria Rilke
CLAUDEL CC (RIP AUGUST 2018)
Life shouldn't be so cruel. Why does one of the sweetest horses that her foster home ever have the pleasure of meeting have to have such an incurable problem? The worst things happen to the truly good ones.
From Day 1 on her arrival Gem has struggled with heaves. As the warm weather arrived and the humidity - her breathing became horrendous. Her foster home tried every medication the vet could offer, every treatment and natural option that would possibly have some kind of effect. Some days, it was believed the battle was being won.
And then suddenly it wasn't, and this poor sweet mare would slip back to square one. Her veterinarian tried one more option, one more "hail mary" to try to get a hold of Gem's heaves. But she warned us all that if it didn't work, the kindest thing for Gem would be euthanasia.
We waited, we hoped. But life would not be so kind.
When I got the message this morning that the vet was calling our Board - deep down, I knew. It didn't make the words that sank in any easier. It didn't work. In fact, her treatments had created fluid in her lungs that was setting her up to be susceptible to pneumonia. An almost certain death sentence for a horse that already struggled to breathe.
I've never had the pleasure of meeting the vet from Georgian Bay Equine, however she is probably one of the kindest people our Board has ever dealt with. She was honest in her assessment of Gem, and what her future would entail. We thank her for her kindness, her honesty, and her treatment of Gem during these past few months.
To Gem's foster home & all those who spent time with her - my heart aches for you and what you're feeling today. What I feel is nothing compared to what you, as the ones who worked with Gem every day, are feeling. And I am forever grateful you opened your hearts and your home to this beautiful little mare who never had the opportunity to truly live the life that she deserved.
Run like the wind sweet baby.
"Only the weak are cruel, gentleness can only be expected from those who are strong" ~ Leo Buscaglia
RUTH PLUMSTED (RIP March 2019)
You know, making the decision to allow an animal to cross the Rainbow Bridge is never an easy one. It's an even harder one, when you have to make the decision, but you cannot be there to hold them close, to tell them how much you care about them & how much you wish you could find a way to take their pain away without having to lose their life in the process. To know that you love them, even though you never meet them & even though that animal never has a chance to know you either.
Such is the case with our dear sweet Ruthie. I have tried long and hard to find the words to say to memorialize this stunning mare who didn't deserve the hand that she was given. In the end, I leave you with the words from her savior & the woman who stepped up to do whatever she could do to help Ruthie - even though she would never see her face.
I don't normally rant and carry on, but I need to do this...
This is Ruthie..she was in a kill pen in Pennsylvania, in foal. She came to my attention through Kimberly from Go and Play Stable when they were saving two other Standardbreds from here. I try not to make rash decisions, but I had no choice at all in this instance, so I told Kim I wanted her, and Kim set things in motion for that to happen.
A lot of amazing people came together and scraped together everything they had to give, to come up with the funds to get her out. We succeeded, and Ruthie went off to New York to a QT farm to wait for her trip up here to us in Canada.
In the meantime, I spoke to the gentleman that had her for the last 17 years of her life, fully expecting to be talking to some kind of a monster on the other end of the phone ... I have never been so wrong in my life.
He and his wife were just about in tears talking to me, so relieved that Ruthie got a home, they felt they couldn't afford to keep her anymore, so they did the only thing they knew - sent her to the auction.
All of us horse lovers get very angry at the injustice of the kill pen, and we are angry with the people that send them, thinking they are selfish and money hungry, and don't give a damn about their horses. Not always so. Turns out that some folks just truly don't know any better. I tried my best to gently educate this sweet man about what happens there, and I'm sure I got through to him. When Ruthie got to New York, she wasn't feeling well, but it was chalked up to stress from being crammed into a tiny pen with strange horses that were also stressed to the max.
Three days later, Ruthie went downhill, and the vet was called in. She had aborted her foal at some point & was suffering from a form of impaction colic.
She fought hard for her life, but she lost today ... My heart is broken, and I'm sure a lot of other people's are too.
She had a great fan club and didn't even know it. I'm having trouble deciding whether I'm more angry or sad..both I guess. I know that ranting on Social Media is not very effective to solve the problem of horse slaughter, but I'm hoping it brings about a conversation about taking steps to come up with a solution to an ugly thing...
RIP Ruthie, I didn't get to meet you, but I sure did love you. ~ Zina
"Grief never ends, but it changes. It's a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith...
It is the price of love." ~ Anon