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In Remembrance of "Red Dove"

Sandie Hucal


November 2008:
I don’t know the name you were given back when you were a carefree colt with your whole life ahead of you. I’m not sure of the path you have traveled to arrive in this place or when you were betrayed by those entrusted with your care. Despite being thrown out like garbage because of a leg injury you likely incurred desperately trying to please the humans you served, you still approach me with kindness, simply wanting to connect with someone who sees you and cares. Your neck has fresh wounds from being roped. Why did they feel the need to treat your gentle soul with such disdain and cruelty? Why is no one else willing or able to sense your fear, your pain or your call for help? Why are they afraid to look into your eyes? 

It was my first auction and I was only able to rescue a couple of horses. Surrounded by countless pens of “loose” horses whose fate was a one way trip to Fort McLeod if no one bid against the meat buyer, I was overwhelmed by a profound grief and helplessness I had never felt before. I could only bring home two horses, and I had to consider how “adoptable” they were in making my choice. In the end I was able to give a second chance to two weanlings, a Percheron (Luna) and a Belgian (Cosmo). 

December 2017:
I sobbed for two days straight thinking about you and the others I had to leave behind. I am so sorry that I was not able to rescue you and give you the life you deserved, and that you were alone and afraid when you left this world. I still think of you and feel a deep wave of grief pass through me. Although I was unable to bring you home to FSS, I can see now that taking a moment to gently and compassionately look into your eyes and see you, while holding the space for you in a time of need, did make a difference, even as it shattered my heart. I want you to know you mattered to me. Your life mattered. You are loved and I will remember you always. May your spirit run free, my beautiful friend! 

* * *

This is my tribute to a horse who was at the first auction I ever attended. I find remembering and honouring the animals I have lost or couldn't help through ceremony, writing, drawing or in other creative ways helps me heal my broken heart  (And, as you can see, you do not need to be a professional "artist", just let your heart speak through your crayons, paint or whatever medium you choose.)

And now I will go hug all the horses I was able to bring home.