Jimmy Buffett tells us in one of his songs to, “Breathe in, breathe out, move on,” but today I find myself holding my breath and wanting to go back in time. I catch myself holding the inhale just a wee bit too long and then I must remind myself to breathe out. It is not my equines causing this lack of oxygen exchange, but the loss of our beloved canine Tim. We said our final goodbyes yesterday, but it still doesn’t seem real. I keep hoping his scruffy face will pop around the corner to see me. I would love to hold him just one last time to tell him how lucky we were to have him as part of our lives.
He was 14 and the gentlest soul. I think I can honestly say that everyone who met him liked if not loved him. He was a great ambassador for dogs. He did a stint as a therapy dog and enjoyed letting children read to him. He was an attentive listener and they always thought he was reading right long with them. Little did they know that I hid treats in the books at home so that Tim would stare at the pages…hoping for more treats to fall into his mouth. If ever there was a dog that needed to be cloned, he was an ideal candidate. His final days were peaceful and I feel certain that all our family dogs that went before him and my husband’s Dad (Mepaw) were there to greet him with wagging tails and open arms on the other side of the bridge.
But, maybe, just maybe, Jimmy Buffett was right about the “move on” part. But though I grieve, time marches forward and I must look ahead to our first show this weekend. Thankfully it is a small schooling show and we are doing two First Level tests that we feel comfortable performing. No pressure. Just a fun outing to distract my thoughts for a few hours.
Maybe that is what Ike was trying to do by wallowing like a pig in the mud hole he has created in his paddock. There was mud in most every orifice, in his forelock, his tail, and covering at least 95% of his hulking body. Grooming today was a strength and aerobic workout rolled into one. I curried, and brushed, and wiped away clump after clump. I used my fingers to detangle his mane and tail. After an hour, he was presentable. But for that hour, I did not cry. I just talked to Ike as he munched his hay. Perhaps it was his way of getting my mind off the sadness of Tim’s loss.
Ms.C did her best to keep my mind distracted for the next hour as she gave us one final lesson before the show. I did my best to keep my mind on the tasks at hand. It really is how I should ride each and every time I throw my leg over Ike’s back. Be present during my ride just as I expect from Ike. From there, we are two minds working as one. We really did have some great leg yields and canter work today. Fingers crossed that we can replicate the lesson on Sunday.
Breathing will eventually return to normal, but life will be a little different without Tim around. But though he is no longer by my side, he will always be in my heart. I will ride with that joy in my heart each time I head down centerline.