One of the things that had to happen before our idea of an art studio/gallery space could progress involved much heartbreak… Like many young girls, I was pretty horse crazy in my youth. I was fortunate enough to be able to have a horse of my own when I was thirteen years old. She was in my life for a wonderful seventeen years before she was taken by navicular disease, a degenerative disease of the hoof, which eventually resulted in such debilitating pain, that walking became unbearable and euthanasia was the only option. I wasn’t sure that I would ever choose to have a horse again, but after John and I got married we moved out to a farm and it just seemed like a logical step.
I am not one of those people who views a pet as “just” an animal. For me, they are family members and as such are given the same type of loyalty and love as any other. Two horses, two dogs and one kid will keep one very busy. Anyone with animals knows how they can tie you down, especially horses. You can take the kids and the dogs to grandma’s house if need be, but loading the horses into the car is not an option. It wasn’t until much later that we found a person whom we trusted completely to stay at the farm and look after everyone and we finally had some opportunities to get away on occasion.
As the horses and dog (we were now down to one) grew older, I used to joke that we were due for a very bad year. I had no idea how accurate this prediction would turn out to be. In the spring of 2011, within a period of less than four weeks, we lost our beloved border collie to cancer and due to old age and illness, both of our horses. The three events right on top of each other were almost too much to bear. I had suffered the loss of a family member before, when my dad died very suddenly in 2007. Despite how mind numbingly painful that experience was, the loss of the animals hit me even harder. I think it was because, although I adored my father, I was accustomed to not seeing him on a daily basis. I had spent time with those horses almost every day for close to twenty years and the dog for fourteen, way more than anyone else in my family, (Rob had been off on his own for five years). No matter where I looked, inside the house or out, there were reminders lurking around every corner. It took a long time to realize I could stay in town after work if I wanted and didn’t always have to rush home to take care of somebody. People would often comment about how nice it must be to have such freedom to come and go as we pleased and I have to admit that does have its advantages. I have come to sum it up that being without the animals has made my life somewhat easier, but definitely not better.
I am not the type who wants to rush out and fill the void left by the loss of an animal by replacing it with another. I don’t think we will ever have horses again (although I have learned to never say never) and we are still some time away from even contemplating another dog, but one day…