Thursday, October 25, 2018

Some Goodbyes Are Too Soon

We suddenly, and very tragically lost our sweet Ella in a freak accident Saturday morning.

(note: the last few blog posts that rolled out were pre-published as well as were from rides I had had weeks ago).




I'll be blunt - as much as I don't want to go into the details of what happened, I think a level of honesty and some transparency is needed to understand the depth of the situation.

We did not see the events transpire, so only have the knowledge of beforehand and after, as well as the Veterinarian's findings and assumptions.

Essentially, Ella was alone in the back section of the pasture with the horses while Jamie and I were unloading round bales into the barn. Something we had done hundreds of times. The horses were on the opposite side of the barn, watching us, while Ella was on the other side supposedly eating poop.

Something had set Ella off and she began to bark and the horses (excited for the roundbales or perhaps keen on seeing what the dog was barking at??) gingerly trotted to the opposite side of the barn where we couldn't see. I don't know what happened. I don't know if there was an animal in the back section of the pasture that caused alarm. I don't know why the horses trotted over there. I don't know why Ella barked.

What the Vet figures is that the horses must have spooked and decided to flee from whatever situation was present, and inadvertently, contacted Ella with a limb. The trauma (or lack of, rather) does not suggest she was kicked, stepped on, or intentionally injured.

That's about all I'm going to say about it. I don't want to go through the details of our own trauma as we discovered her, or the efforts we made to save her. I don't want to talk about the confusion, horror, and immense pain we felt in those moments. There is some peace in the fact that despite what we saw when we found her, her conscious-self was long gone.

I hope wherever you are, you can forgive me <3
I do know there are risks involved in horses and dogs co-existing and part of me feels really stupid for having them out there with me. But in the same breath, I worked so fucking hard to make the horses a safe place for Ella. Hundreds of videos I have of them together will show her disinterest in them and fear of them when they came close. She never bothered them. They never bothered her. She never ever barked at them (which is why Jamie and I both found it odd she was barking in the paddock).

I don't even know what to say. What to do.

I know of several people who avoid bringing their dogs to the barn. I get it. I understand why. My dogs are always with me and I think I do an OK job of giving them the tools they need to stay safe or make good choices around the horses. I spent months working with Ella and had I had any indication she would have chased them or caused an issue, she wouldn't have continued coming. But she was a delight at the barn and even when I rode in the arena - she did her own thing, sniffed her own stuff and didn't find the horses particularly interesting.

I've kind of avoided the barn these past few days aside from doing chores and changing blankets. I know I can't blame the horses, especially since it really does seem like it was an accident, but I just keep seeing it and it's so fucking hard.

I do blame myself. And I have played the events in my head over and over again - what I could have done differently, what could have happened if we didn't do X, Y, Z or had I just left the dogs at home that morning.

To say we are heart-broken is an understatement. She was a light at the end of the tunnel when I lost Ty and she brought me so much joy. She was unapologetically Ella - it didn't matter if you didn't like her... she was going to make you like her. And that's how I want to remember her - as the dog I didn't intend to keep but the dog I fell in love with after I thought so hopelessly I would never feel that again.



I am so sorry, my sweet girl. I wish there is more I could have done to protect you, to save you...


When I can do a proper send-off post for Ella without breaking down, I will. I don't want this one to be her "last" post on my blog, because that's not how I want her to be remembered. I want to share the good times, the times that made me laugh and the times that I fell in love all over again. Right now, I just can't bring myself to do it.

36 comments:

  1. Cathryn, I am so, so very sorry to read this! Of COURSE she forgives you and knows nothing but love for you. <3 I hate that you're shouldering such grief again so soon. Carrying it is never easy and it never leaves us, but with time, I think, we get a little more accustomed to it's weight and become stronger. Thinking of you and yours and wishing you some peace through this hard time. <3 <3

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    1. I appreciate your kind words <3

      The devastation her loss created has not only impacted my home, but several other homes where she was warmly welcomed and loved. I am slowly learning to forgive myself and forgive the circumstances around her death, but it's so hard. Some days are better than others, and I'm trying to keep my head above water.

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  2. Oh man, I'm so sorry. Freak accidents like this (and that's really what it was) can happen so fast, and despite our best efforts. :(

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    1. Thanks Amanda. The thing about freak accidents is there is no rhyme or reason it happens - and as a critical thinking person, I almost *need* an explanation. The grieving process is so different in this instance, compared to Suzie and Ty.

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  3. I'm so, so sorry. 😭😭😭 Hugs to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you <3
      It has been really, really tough.

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  4. So sorry for your lost, it is so devesating to lose a dog unexpectedly.

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    1. I think when loss is so sudden, it really shakes you to your core. We are trying to slowly move past it and are trying to understand that some things just don't make sense.

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  5. Oh no I am so so sorry :( ugh that is terrible. Sending you all hugs - and a wish to not be too hard on yourself. Life on the farm is hard and accidents happen every where. This is not your fault. That never makes it any easier tho :(

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  6. I'm so sorry. Loss in any capacity is brutal

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  7. I am so sorry <3 Don't beat yourself up, sometimes accidents happen no matter how careful you are.

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  8. I'm so so sorry Cathryn. Losing them suddenly is so hard no matter what the circumstances are. <3

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  9. oohhhh no i am SO SO SORRY but you gave her a wonderful life while you had her. Shit happens and it sucks :( That day Ollie got tangled up in his tie out IN TATE's stall around Tate's feet I just knew that he was going to be killed right in front of me. Even a 500-600 lb beast with a 15 lb beast will kill without even trying in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was so lucky it didn't happen but it does happen. It doesn't help but just want you to know we are all with you on this and hugs to you and UGH I wish I could take away all the pain and sadness for you! Please take care of yourself and don't beat yourself up too much. This could happen to anyone with dogs and horses! :(

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    1. Thank you <3

      You basically said what the vet said - wrong place, wrong time.

      We are slowly moving forwards. Very slowly <3

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  10. I'm so very sorry. It's easy to want to blame yourself, but sometimes accidents just happen. And it's heartbreaking, but it's not your fault. I'm glad you had each other when you needed each other.

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    1. Thank you, Stacie.

      I think the guilt will stay with me for a very long time, and it will be something I have to accept at some point.

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  11. Poor girl, I am so sorry. Losing a beloved pet, friend, and family member like Ella unexpectedly is gut wrenching. Take comfort in each other :(

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  12. I am so, so sorry for your loss <3 Accidents happen, and they're not anyone's fault. It doesn't make the pain less, but I hope it does help lessen the guilt on your heart because you certainly don't deserve to bear it. Sending all my love

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  13. I'm so sorry :( Please try not to blame yourself, you gave her such a wonderful home and went above and beyond for her. It sounds like a terrible accident. I've loved following all her adventures and was only just showing my husband one of the pictures of the dogs out enjoying the world with you and saying how lucky they are. I'm very sorry things ended so suddenly.

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    1. Oh god. We took those two darn dogs EVERYWHERE with us. They have seen more places than any average dog, that's for sure. I tried to make life as inclusive and fun for her - she deserved it and more <3

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  14. ((((Hugs)))) I get the thoughts and the guilt. I do. Right or wrong I have felt it for a long time with Steele. Reading this does not make me see my reason that you are at fault. I believe in having dogs around the barn and taking precautions. But accidents can happen so quickly and unexpectedly. There is no way to shelter them from every thing. No matter what.

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    1. <3 Thank you Teresa.

      I am trying... some days are better than others. I still have a hard time going out to the barn but am pushing myself to interact with my horses and enjoy them without feeling guilty. It has been tough because the SO does not share my thoughts/actions towards the horses and although it was accidental, I think he just needs someone to blame/ be mad at.

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  15. Oh no. I am so, so sorry. She was such a cute, little dog. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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    1. <3 Thank you Olivia. she was certainly one in a million

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  16. So sorry to hear about Ella. Accidents happen so quickly and sometimes there's just nothing you can do to prevent them. I understand the guilt but it's not your fault even though I'm sure saying that doesn't make you feel any better. RIP sweet girl you were loved so much and will be missed.

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    1. Thank you, GHM. The thing about accidents is that they have no rhyme or reason for happening and it makes me very conflicted about how I should feel. I tried to do everything I could to keep her safe out there.

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  17. Im so sorry for your loss. Do not blame yourself, there is only so much we can do to protect them in this world.

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    1. <3 I appreciate your kind words. I am trying

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  18. My heart is absolutely broken for you. I am so sorry. Wishing you peace in this devastating time :(

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