I cried so much writing this, that it hurts. This is a true event that happened just a few hours ago.
Hot tears streamed down my face as I carressed her soft and sore neck. Why now? Why her? Callie had foundered. She looked up to me for a minute, just looking straight into my eyes. If horses could speak English, she'd be saying: What's happening to me? She was on drugs right now. Only a few hours were left and the tears became sobs and struggled breaths. I knew from the moment Mom took me out of school on Thursday, that this would be the end.
The hour it took to drive all the way up to the University of Georgia was the longest car ride I had ever been in. Mom, Kelly, and I sobbed for half of it, then laughed about how funny it was that all of our expectations wouldn't happen.
We always knew right when we gained custody of her, something were to go wrong. Her name was Stephanie, after the trainer. She came to us skinny and with barely even a tail. After an accident in a trail ride, medicine deteriorated her personality and she was quite shy. My sister, Kelly, and I took her out to graze and immediately she looked at us as if to say: Thank you SO much! She began scarfing down like she hadn't eaten in days and she kept going at it. A few days later, we rode her and everyone fell in love. My mother, my father, Kelly, and the instructor knew she was the one. Miracle was the name we gave her after Mom paid the check. Callie for short.
We were so happy. After my previous horse, Peregrine, went into retirement I needed someone to love and ride. When jumping her, it felt like flying. I loved her to death and I always will. Today, March 23, 2006, was her date of death. We never thought anything would be wrong with her until the time when all the horses got strangles. That was the start of problems.
Callie got strangles. After a while of treating that, Purpura Hemorrhagica showed up in her legs. The swelled was tremendous and we thought she would die from the blood.
Still, days passed and she got better. I asked my mom, "Is it fatal anymore?" She shook her head, 'no.'
After a long laugh on the phone with a friend, the house phone rang and I set down my cell. The first thing that I heard my mother say was that: "Callie foundered." It was funny how quickly everything came and went. I started crying asI went back talking on my cell phone. We talked for 30 more minutes until my Mom came home and drove me out to the barn.
Truthfully, I was thinking. God, please let her not be able to be ridden for a few months. Just, for a few months. I didn't want her to die. Nobody did. I just thought Callie was scary now that she bolted out of jumps and couldn't be stopped. When we got to the barn, I saw Nicole, Kelly, and Dr. Thompson standing there. An IV was in her neck andthings just ran through my head. They kept talking about her bone "rotating." I was confused.
Nicole and my sister went out of town and two doctors occasionally came out to check on her.
Sunday, I was brought the best news in a long time. Ramone, the barn manager, left Callie's stall guard open to go get her feed. When he came back, she wasn't there anymore, but 1/2 way down the driveway. It seemed things were perfectly better.
The foundering gotworse. Her bone was pressing up against the hoofwall. When Nicole came back, her and Ramone took Callie up to UGA to get looked at.
Days passed and nothing seemed to get better. It all came down to March 23.
So here I was now, grazing my horse, and remembering all the good times we had together. My mom took pictures of her and me together, but half of the time I wasn't looking or tears were seen. I wasn't ready to say goodbye. I was only 15. I placed dandelions in her mane and halter, as my sister braided her tail. We groomed her till she was spotless. "Callie..." I said, catching a bit of her attention. "Remember Pillsbury? You two were stall mates. You're going to visit him soon, okay?" I played with her black mane.
She seemed to have no bit of interest in what I was saying. "And Mr. Lucky to Be? Remember him too? He's gonna be there."
My Mom and a few college students watched as I sobbed and whispered to my horse. "Yeah....you'll meet them. Cross that bridge together into paradise, for me, okay?" She snorted as she tore at the green grass. "They're waiting for you." She raised her head to stare at me or something else far away. I countinued talking.
"There'll be greener pastures there. You can eat until you'll be an obese horse just like in cartoons!" I smiled for the first time in days. "You can eat the grass non-stop if you want to, and it'll never die....You're not like one of those racehorses... I swear you're not going to be glue." I paused. "You're going to have one heck of a long dream." Then, I just sat down on the grass and stared up at the sky, whispering in a harsh tone. "Why, God? Why do you have to take her away from me?"
My Mom brought us all to our senses. "It's just like going to sleep, Michelle. Do you have any questions for Dr. Hart?"
Then I knew she was going to be put down. I turned away and I cried as I am writing this.
About two hours passed and it was time to really say our goodbyes. We led her back to the barn, tears dry. Dean came up to me again and grabbed the leadrope. "Do you mind if I take her in?" I shook my head no. I was lying. I wanted to take her in and hug her until the day ended. Before he led her away, I stepped infront of Callie and stared her straight in the eye. I reached forward and wrapped my arms around her neck, squeezing hard. Tears began to form.
As I turned to leave, I made a mistake and looked back at her walking away from me. I then realized that was the last time I would ever see my horse again. I walked back to the car and burst into tears. My Mom was crying, and my stubborn sister even asked for a tissue.
We returned to school. I had an anime club I had to go to. Three of my friends ran up to me like: Why are you wearing jeans? and so did my spanish teacher. They all asked what happened. I forced myself not to cry and said: "My horse is being put down." I just walked away from them. My spanish teacher ran up to me and hugged me so hard I thought I was going to die.
"I'm sorry." Was all she said.
When my Mom came back and took me home, we were quiet. Then I just started crying more and asked her how the process was. She explained and told me it was the right thing to do. At a red light, I choked out. "I didn't kiss her, I only hugged her." And then. "I didn't tell her I loved her." I sobbed more, looking out the window.
I was a sucker at trying to hide it.
Then, my Mom spoke. "Michelle. You didn't have to say you loved her, she knew. She knew right when you touched her and pet her. Callieknows you love her because she knows you care."
"I still didn't..."
"Michelle." She said boldly. "There is a better thing than telling her you love her. And thats what you're letting us do. Callie got the message when you let her walk away and be put to sleep. She was in terrible pain. It was like if you had an infection underneath your finger nail and you hand to stand on that." I mouthed 'ow.' "She knows for a fact you love her. You didn't have to say it. It was enough to let her go."
I felt myself smile. It was the right thing to do. The doctor's couldn't stop the problem, and that was okay. Her life was now in God's hands. Now I just sit hereand think to myself. It doesn't matter if you died, or if we weren't so lucky. You were still our Miracle.
Callie, I love you.