Necessary Evils

I have an old horse. Correction: I had an old horse. We put him down this morning. Just typing the words makes the screen blur in front of me and my eyes sting.

He was old. I know it was the right thing to do. He only had half his teeth. He was going blind and deaf. Both his hips were arthritic, but when we gave him medicine for the pain, his kidneys couldn’t cope. Three years ago, he developed heart failure. And this summer, I could not get him to put weight on.

I feel like I betrayed him.

He was skin and bones when I got him 9 years ago on Halloween. We used to joke that he was our very own living, breathing Halloween ornament, and I spent three thousand dollars on feed for him that year alone. A message for his previous owner: I hope you burn in Hell. No animal should be that thin, that scared.

We’ve had our ups and downs. He kicked me in the face the summer after I got him. For an old guy, he had lots of pep. And I got to ride in a wheelchair, though they wouldn’t let me race it in the hallways. (Spoilsports!)

But the balance between the needs of his heart and the needs of his kidneys was getting more and more precarious, and I realized that putting him through another winter would be nearly as cruel as what his previous owner had subjected him to. So I made the arrangements, gave him a summer of grass and leisure hanging around with his redheaded girlfriend, and then this morning I slipped some sedative into his breakfast while I groomed him and laughed at his equine bowl cut. Then we hung out on the front lawn, where I’d let the grass grow long and lush, and we had a quiet half an hour before the vet came.

I’ll miss your cranky face, Old Man Pony. Mr. CrankyPants. Gasman (Oh, his farts…).

My Chancie.

About the author: Kate Lowell

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