This past Sunday we said goodbye to Vennus, our daughter's horse. She loved her lots, she was a blessing to her and so many kids who passed through our door.
The love of a girl for her horse.
Fun times with Vennus.
It was a tough day...a sad day...the kind of day you don't really want to experience and yet it's a place we all must face, whether it be a loved one or a loved animal. As it says in Ecclesiastes 3: 19, 20b "Man's fate is like that of the animals, the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal...all come from dust and to dust all return."
And so yesterday to dust did Vennus return.
Saturday morning I looked out our living room window and saw Vennus struggling to get up. I woke Charissa up and we both ran outside to see what was wrong. It had rained through the night and the paddock was greasy mud and Vennus had gone down to roll and couldn't get back up. The last couple years she has struggled with her back end and we knew the day would come when we'd have to put her down, but I struggled with knowing when...when would be the right time. Yes her body was twisted but she was still happy, she still ate, there was life in her eyes. She was a real trooper.
But that morning as Charissa and I struggled to get her up and she just couldn't get a grip in the mud, through tears Charissa said we have to call the vet and I knew she was right...it was time. My husband came home and got the tractor, we thought we could get some straps under her and hoist her up, we tried but it didn't work. But Vennus gave it one more go at trying to get up and the three of us managed to give her enough support and push to get her up...we were so thankful. Yet we still knew it was time to make that dreaded call. For us the worst would be to have her go down at night, not be able to get up and die from struggling and laying down for so long.
I couldn't make the call, I had to ask my husband to do it. I'm so grateful my vet answered her phone, it was Saturday, it was the weekend and yet she answered. She was unable to come on the Saturday but said she'd come on Sunday. Even though it was a weekend where she wasn't on call, she did this for us, she knew Vennus and she knew us, I didn't want a stranger putting her down. And so I am so thankful for our vet and her kindness and compassion.
Vennus spent Saturday in the yard with Amadeous munching on grass. Charissa groomed her and spent some time with her...this was their last day together. The last couple years Vennus has had the freedom to just wander the yard and eat grass with Amadeous, at times they even wandered over to my parents place trimming up their yard too. It was always nice being able to look out the window and there they were, or if they were missing we knew they were next door and my parents were enjoying seeing them in their backyard.
It was hard thinking about Sunday...knowing that our vet would be coming in the morning and Vennus would breathe her last breath. It was hard listening to the tractor down in the woods, knowing my husband was digging her burial place...it was painful for him too.
Sunday came and it was a beautiful morning, cool and sunny, the kind of morning I love. My husband went over and told my parents what was happening with Vennus so they could go down and say goodbye. Later I saw them head down the hill together...a sad time for them too. Once they came back up Charissa and I went down to feed Amadeous and Vennus and as we walked I'm thinking, this is the last time we walk two pails of grain down this hill and I walked with a heavy heart...knowing what was to be. Charissa went in the paddock with the pails of grain and Vennus nickered away like she often does...I was so glad she did...I was praying she'd nicker for Charissa one last time.
After she'd eaten her grain we put her on the pasture for that final time with Amadeous...the morning was beautiful. Charissa spent time with her and I got my camera and took some shots, then we went up the hill and waited for the vet.
Our vet arrived at 9:40, I greeted her through some tears and we talked about what would happen as we'd never gone through this before. We walked down the hill together with my husband and I went in the paddock to get Vennus, I snapped the lead on her halter and gave her one last kiss and led her out. I stood with her just outside of the paddock and our vet stroked her face gently and then I walked her to that dreaded place tears streaming down my face. I thought I could stay, I would hold her lead one last time but I couldn't, I gave it to my husband and I left to see our other horses.
Daytona and Amadeous were hollering away for Vennus, pacing along the fence, it's like they knew something was happening. They continued to holler, I stood their and cried as I stroked the face of Amadeous and Daytona. Minutes later my husband came...it was over...she was gone.
Just like that...her life was no more.
After our vet finished with her, she left and my husband and I went to see Vennus...it was hard...but it was necessary. I stroked her face one last time and then walked up the hill with my husband to get Charissa so she could see her.
Charissa went down the hill...alone...she needed that time to say a final goodbye and put her blanket over her one last time. She also brought Amadeous and Daytona over to see her...it's part of their grieving process too. As soon as she brought them over and then put them back in the paddock their hollering stopped...they knew...she was gone.
It was a difficult day and yet there was peace. I had struggled so much with wondering when was the right time to make the decision to end Vennus' life and people and my vet would say, "you'll know." They were right, that Saturday morning Charissa knew...it was time. A friend of mine sent me these wise words when I had told her I struggled with second guessing, "There comes a moment when we know 'it's time' and as the days pass you will feel comfort in knowing you didn't act too quickly and you didn't wait too long."
Vennus will be forever missed.
Wild and free.
She loved to use the trees to scratch herself :)
The early years before Charissa owned her, she rode her at a horse riding stable.
She was great with the little kids.
Vennus and the Belleville Hillbillies.
Miss Frosty on chilly winter's morn.
Charissa's last photo shoot with Vennus in June, knowing this would be their last summer together.
My husband wrote this for our daughter, I thought it was beautiful and wanted to share it with you.
My dearest Charissa,
It’s been a long time it seems for me that I have sensed the Lord whispering to my heart. But on the day that He chose for us to lay Vennus down these verses and thoughts were very strongly impressed upon my heart:
Ecc 3:1,2a There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die.
Mt 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.
He spoke to me of His will and love for all of His creation including Vennus, even more so His love for you. He had pre-determined a time, a very specific season for Vennus to be a part of your life, our lives. Did you know biblically speaking “7” is the number of fullness completion; “and on the seventh day He rested” September 7th 2014, we laid Vennus down to rest after 7 years living at our home. She saw you through the impressionable teenage years of your life.
On the weekend determined by the Lord for Vennus to lie down, He saw to it that we were able to get Vennus back up one more time. He made sure our vet Amy, picked up her phone despite her busy day with hockey and a planned family gathering. She readily agreed to coming out Sunday despite not being the vet on call that weekend. He gave you Saturday to prepare and have one last precious day with Vennus.
God was in that, He seen you, prepared you, and knew well in advance that this would be the day that you and the rest of the family would walk through this before you moved into the next season of your life. He so intimately set the events in place, and it just struck me so deep, His incredible love for you and the needs of your heart.
I love you Charissa. You are a beautiful girl.
This is my reach-out with a great big “hug-a-mug“
Written by Charissa on her instagram the day she said goodbye to Vennus: "The horse: friendship without envy, beauty without vanity, nobility without conceit. A willing partner yet no slave." Thanks Vennus for being my partner and allowing me to have some of the most beautiful memories with you. Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2 "For everything there is a season, and for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die..." I'm so glad I got to share this season with you. You will be forever missed.
Some day I'll share the story of how Charissa acquired Vennus, it's a beautiful story of faith and a God who loves her and knew the desires of her heart.