Dear John Grogan,
The friendship between a human and an animal is unlike anything in the world. Who knew two minds, whom are totally unalike, could have such a bond? They make you feel sane, at least most of the time. They are always there to listen, even though they don't understand. You know there is going to be rough days but you know their love for you is unimaginable. But deep down inside, eventually in the future, you're going to have to say goodbye to your friend, and it will be the hardest thing ever.
When you laid Marley to rest, you knew you were doing the right thing. You showed such courage in Marley’s final moments, it's something I wish I would have done. My four-legged best friend was a horse that went by the name of Tango for the first 2 months of owning him and then he went by the name Bubba, because he looked more like a Bubba than a Tango. I knew from the moment that I laid eyes on him, I knew he was something special.
When I first met Bubba, he was a strange looking horse. He was tall for a Thoroughbred standing at 17.3 hands. He had a big head on him that held the sweetest eyes I've ever seen, connected to a long skinny neck. We went and tried him out five different times before I talked my parents into getting him, and man can I say, he was the best thing that has happened to me so far in my life and my parents can agree.
After owning him for just over two years I walked outside to see him on a bright beautiful day in March and I noticed he wasn't feeling very well. All he wanted to do was lay down and roll.
We would get him up and walk him and walk him, and he would fall over. We called our vet but he was out of town, so we called another vet who said, “Horses rarely colic, he will be fine.” He wasn't okay. We then decides to go to Ames. That 45 minute drive to the local equine hospital was the hardest car ride I have ever had to endure, I knew what the outcome was going to be, but deep down in my gut I thought he would be coming home with us.
We pulled up to the doors of the hospital and unloaded Bubba. His eyes were dull, not shining like they normally do. We walked him in where he was weighed and then taken directly back to the ICU. That was the last time I saw him standing up. The vets sent us to the waiting room where we sat there for 15 minutes hoping they would decide to do surgery. But when the vet came back and sat down beside us and said, "His heartrate is really low. He's not a canidate for surgery, we should put him down.” I ran into the bathroom where I collapsed. A couple minutes later, mom came in to get me so I could go see him one last time.
He was laying in the first stall as you entered the ICU, he was hooked up to several machines. His breaths were low and shallow. I sat next to him and told him how awesome he was and gave him his last kiss. I got up and left the room as they cut his hair and put him down. I regret that. I should have been there for him, I shouldn't have been selfish. The entire time I wondered why didn't we take him here sooner? How did I not notice it when I turned him out that morning?
I cried myself to sleep for weeks. Everything brought back memories, memories that at that time made me smile wider than the Grand Canyon. Moments like jumping a 4 ft wall tackless to laying on him out in the field as he took a nap in the warm sun. We were truly inseparable. My farrier even commented on how when I come out of the house, Bubba perks up and watches me the whole way until I greet him with his favorite treat.
I am now without him, the only thing I have left of him are the memories and his tail. I still cry when people bring it up, but I know I have to move on, because I did the best I could for him. I know that I have to tack up the next one and make more memories. I can’t compare Rio to Bubba, that wouldn't be fair, for I know that Bubba was my heart horse, and in life you can't reverse time, you can only just keep moving on and try keeping your head held high. I did. It was the hardest thing ever, but now I'm making fond memories with Rio and I know I would be making Bubba proud.
You helped me pull through this tough time because you did. You loved Marley almost as much as I loved Bubba. You said, “A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A waterlogged stick will do just fine. A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he’ll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?” That's what I felt with Bubba, and knowing I made him one of the luckiest horses in the world, just like you made Marley the luckiest dog in the world, it makes me have a sense of peace knowing his life with me was the best thing ever. Even though putting him down has been the toughest thing I have gone through in my life, unfortunately it was the best gift I could give him, to get out of pain, and you knew exactly that's what you had to do.
Some of the hardest decisions in life may not be the best for you, but be the best for someone else. Just remember the fond memories, which was a huge key you helped me learn. I know remember Bubba by a tree that flowers in the spring and a million pictures that I have hung in my room along with the peace of mind that he’s watching over me.