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Saturday, April 02 2011

Scientists say we commit the sin of "anthropomorphism" when we say an animal grieves; we are, after all, giving "human characteristics to things not human." I argue however, that they feel emotions as we do. One cannot hear Montoya's cries echo through the night and not understand that he is lonely, that he grieves.

He still calls for Sultan. He calls. He listens. He waits for a response. He calls again. It breaks my heart. Tonight I pulled him out and played with him.  It was therapy for both of us.

I open the stall door and invite him into the aisle. Like a overgrown dog, he eagerly bows, backs, and sidepasses for cookies. I pull out his hot pink brushes and rub him down.  His world is getting back in balance. The grinding of his teeth lulls me to a state of Here & Now as he munches the hay and I comb his tail. Three calico cats drop from the rafters to land in the hay beside him.  He gives no notice, happy instead, for the company. From time to time he turns and gazes at me, a mouth full of hay, and I remember him as a weanling again.  I have spent so many hours combing his mane, combing out the tangles, combing away my problems.  This horse has always been therapy for me.  Tonight we were therapy for each other.

I groom him. We play. And as I leave the barn, his cries echo through the night again.  


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 10:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
This brought tears to my eyes.
Posted by Lynn on 04/03/2011 - 08:21 AM
I don't know that they feel grief the way WE understand it, but they DO feel something.....I've seen it. They act different. Ferrets will grieve themselves to death when they lose a cagemate. The protocol in the ferret world now is to let the remaining animals see the body, sniff it, and say their goodbyes in their own animal-y way. Yes, Montoya needs some extra lovin' right now. I suspect you both need each other. Hugs.
Posted by Diane I. on 04/03/2011 - 09:26 AM
oh, they grieve in their ways and we do in ours - and grief comes and goes - over time. be gentle with yourself, and do what comforts you - and Montoya - and let the great circle of life keep moving on.
Posted by clairesmum on 04/03/2011 - 11:11 AM
They certainly feel the loss of a close buddy. When my 14 yr old QH/Morgan was put down because he had contracted rabies Willi called on and off for almost 2 weeks, even when I went out with him and did what you did with the brushing and being together. It makes me cry every time I think of it, but it happens with animals, I wouldn't change the time I spent with him
Posted by Libby on 04/04/2011 - 12:39 AM
I had room cats that lived together for over 15 years when one passed away we almost lost the other one, even now he won't go in the room he was in with his friend, if you say his buddy's name he perks up but he gets sad at so we try not to do that. He is now 21 and his friend passed away almost 5 years ago. I think animals feel emotion like we do they express love, sadness, fear, anger, happiness and frustration not the way we do obviously but I think they have those emotions too.
Posted by Gin'.a on 04/04/2011 - 08:23 PM
My Percharon stood by Vida the buckskin all night as she lay under her blanket. The big white mare gently nickered and seemed to cry for her paddock mate. It was very sad and she joined Vida about 6 months later,,,,that was 4 in about 12 months it was so empty for a long time. But their trees are growing huge and each reminds me of the horse or pony it was planted for.
Posted by Liz (Vic Aust) on 04/04/2011 - 11:44 PM

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