Being there at the end is the hardest thing any animal owner can do.
For one such owner, it was indeed too much despite nearly three decades with a horse named Skip.
Instead, Skip wound up being shuffled around auction houses destined for a slaughterhouse, though no slaughterhouse would even take him.
Then, Julie Hersey came along.
“Last night our paths crossed,” she wrote on Facebook, where her post has been shared more than 15,000 times.
Hersey, who is the owner of Greenwood Stables in Derry, New Hampshire, scooped up Skip for just $30 this week for the sole purpose of giving him a dignified and loving end. She posted an emotional and scathing letter to Skip’s former owner.
Skip’s lesson is one of compassion. It’s the difference between cruelty and kindness.
“He worked in your lesson program from the time he was saddle broke at 3 years old, nonstop for the next 26 years,” Hersey wrote. “You bragged that he ‘taught thousands of kids how to ride’ at your summer camp program. And, ‘he was so perfect that no one ever fell off of him.'”
But when he became too old and ill, Skip’s previous owner couldn’t, or rather, wouldn’t be there for the old work horse to be put down.
“‘Saying goodbye to a great friend is hard,’ you told me. So instead, you put him on a trailer, brought him to an auction and he gave you his final gesture in the form of a check for a whopping $50,” Hersey wrote.
That’s when Hersey stepped in. She took him home, had him assessed by a veterinarian, gave him one last good meal, lots of love and was there at the end.
“I euthanized your horse today,” she wrote. “You should have been the there, holding his head and giving him his last kiss.”
Read the full post here. If you don’t have them handy already, get tissues.
Photos Julie Hersey/Facebook