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3 years ago

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Today I buried Charlie, my 31 year old Belgian( he would have been 32 in summer), whom I had had for 24 years, in other words half of my adult life( if we consider 21 the beginning of the adult life). We had to put him down on the evening of New Year's Eve due to a medical condition that developed during the day( not a colic).
Charlie always was a dependable horse, from the carriage rides I gave in Iowa City in 92 to the wagon rides in Kansas City and Weston and the farm work, up till last year, when I finally put him into his well deserved retirement, he was always a horse eager to work and not to shy away from any task that was put in front of him. He had outlived several other horses I had teamed up with him, during that time never got sick seriously and always behaved smartly.
Even though I have of course lost a number of horses in the over 50 years that I have owned horses it is always a sad occasion, but I am glad that I made the decision to have the vet put him down that evening. It would have been on my conscience if he had had to suffer more or by himself. This way he died with the people he trusted (myself and my wife as well as the vet) close to him.

Uncle Joe says 2016-01-03 14:18:38 (CST)

I'm sorry for your loss, Klaus, and glad I got a chance to meet Charlie last summer. You two had a special partnership.


3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2016-01-03 23:28:10 (CST)

I'm sorry for your loss, I know it don't get easier to do. I just feel that is the last thing that I can do for a friend and team mate. It is hard to see them suffer at least he is not suffering. I've had to do that more times than I like to remember with dogs,cows,horses and mules.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2016-01-04 05:20:51 (CST)

I am very sorry for your loss... a very difficult but necessary decision that we are all faced with eventually.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Robert Dennis says 2016-01-04 08:58:52 (CST)

As a horseman, it is the least we can do. Death is not the worse thing that can happen in this life. Sorry he had to go. It's never easy.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dick Hutchinson says 2016-01-04 10:50:00 (CST)

I 've heard say that if a man has one good horse in his life he is lucky. I would say you are very lucky.

To uncle Joe
Thanks for getting my password. The farther north of 70 you get the easier it is to forget

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Shanen mannies says 2016-01-04 14:28:57 (CST)

Sorry for your loss, I have been there and done that.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

PaulaB says 2016-01-07 09:56:30 (CST)

Jason and I send our heartfelt condolences for your loss. I am glad we were able to meet Charlie during our visits to your place and saw the both of you as great role models and teachers. He was really an awesome fellow.
Paula and Jason

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Kate V says 2016-01-07 16:56:36 (CST)

Klaus-----I'm sorry to hear of your loss of Charlie. I have found, that as I get older, it doesn't get easier.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-01-08 07:47:34 (CST)

Thank you for all the kind responses. The reason why I'm sharing such kind of personal stories is that there is always the side of the animal to consider, too, and that there are measures we can take to alleviate suffering no matter how tempted we might be for our own sake to prolong the life of an animal companion.
At the same token, I think we also should not forget the fate of all those animals that kept in factory farms and gigantic feedlots often have to suffer a lot more than an old horse at the end of his life and maybe we can contribute with our voices and consumer actions to introduce the " end of an era" in a positive way. There are some hopeful signs here and there, like when fast food chains announce the end of consumption of eggs from caged hens or when large agricultural companies obviously under the pressure from consumers and animal welfare activists signal that they will switch to group pens for sows instead of gestation pens.
When tens of thousands of dairy cows perish in a blizzard it shows to me that these dairies have become too big to properly take care of their animals.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2016-01-08 17:24:56 (CST)

Klaus- Very wise words. Good animal husbandry is about providing all we can for the creatures in our care. That sometimes necessitates making difficult choices. When once we needed to face the decision regarding when to let one of our animals go, our wise vet told us that, for the sake of the animal's well-being and comfort, better a day too early than a day too late. It sounds like you made the hard but selfless choice for Charlie's sake.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-01-13 09:55:00 (CST)

I won't deny, Bret, that I get teary-eyed which is just an expression of the long bond one has shared with the creature, be it horse or dog.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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