Friday, September 5, 2008

A Tribute to Topper


My posts are usually lighthearted, but this one is hard to write. On Wednesday my beloved Topper colicked badly and had to be put down. Since then I’ve been going about my day to day activities and occasionally tears start falling of their own accord.

Topper was an amazing horse, sweet and kind and I swear he had a wonderful sense of humor. At sixteen one hands he was large enough for me at five ten and always took great care of me. I have boxes of ribbons from hunter and equitation classes, but those aren’t the remembrances that keep running through my mind.

Instead, I keep remembering his soft nose pressing against me and the way he would lip at my hair while I was bent over cleaning out his hooves. I wasn’t the bravest rider, and I’m sure there were many times he was thinking ‘For heaven’s sake, Mom, put the rail up,’ but he jumped my little courses in perfect form with the grace of the champion he was.

One time he had a fever from what we thought was Lyme disease, although the blood test said no. I spent that day stroking him, cooling him with water, or just sitting on the floor of his stall with him. I remember the way he looked at me like a trusting child saying ‘Mommy, I don’t feel good. Can you fix it?’ Fortunately, we were able to fix the problem then, but not this week.

The saddest part for me is that I wasn’t with him. We retired him on my in-laws’ farm about 10 hours drive time from me and I didn’t hear what happened until a few hours after he was gone. His face as he looked that day with his fever is blazoned in my mind and I keep thinking he must have been wondering where I was while he was hurting. I wish I had known while it was happening so someone could have put a phone to his ear and he could at least have heard my voice. Does that sound silly? I suppose it does, but at this moment my heart is breaking from wanting to have had the opportunity to talk to him one last time.

I will always miss my beautiful Topper. He was one of the best friends I ever had.

I loved him very much.



Leslie said...

Mary, your heartfelt tribute to Topper touched me. We recently lost our beloved German Shepherd who we'd had with our family for over twelve years.

All loss of dear "friends" is painful and we can't help but ask ourselves "did I do enough?" or as in your case "should I have been with him?". It's natural to have those questions.

What a beautiful guy Topper was! You will always remember his beauty, his grace, his great humor and the wonderful way he made you feel. Sounds like you were both lucky to have had each other!

Laura Crum said...

Mary, I feel for you. Having lost four beloved horses in the last five years, I know all about the grief. I totally understand wanting to have been with him, but at least you know that you did retire him and made sure he had a good life as he got older. That is the most important thing, and I'm sure that at some deep level, both you and Topper knew that. I feel the horses I've lost stay with me as protective guides, and all have brought me something new and good with their passing. It is true that every loss opens up a door. I will think of you and Topper, your great friend. May his spirit always be with you.

Mrs. Mom said...

I am so sorry to hear of TOpper's loos Mary. Like Laura said- keep him with you in your heart, and know that he appreciated all the time and care you spent with him.

Our prayers are with you both.

Promise said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

I'm watching one of my dogs, knowing that her time is soon. She just hasn't said she wants to go yet.


Mary Paine said...

Dear ljs82,

I'm so sorry about the loss of your German Shepherd after twelve years. I can tell from your comments that he had a very loving family and a wonderful life with you.

Thank you for your lovely comments about Topper. They made me feel much better!


Mary Paine said...

Hi Laura,

Thanks for your understanding. Reading your post made me imagine Topper thinking about me and knowing I loved him. I can't imagine losing four horses in five years.

It's wonderful to feel your horses still with you. My best wishes always to you and your lovely protective guides.

Mary Paine said...

To Mrs. Mom,

Thank you for your warm and caring reply. I'm still crying off and on, but now it's with good remembrances.

All the best,

Mary Paine said...

Dear Brianna,

My thoughts will be with you as you care for your dog through his twilight. I know you'll help him to have comfort, warmth, and love in the time he still has to be with you. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.


Jami Davenport said...

Oh, Mary, I am so sorry. Your post truly made me cry. I have not had to deal with losing a horse yet, but I can imagine how it would wrench out my heart if something happened to Gailey.

I wish you well, my friend. It sounds like he had a great retirement and was fortunate to have a wonderful life with you.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Please be kind to yourself and cherish all the good memories. To paraphrase Erich Segal, "Love means always wondering what else you could have done." That feeling just comes with the territory.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Sorry to hear about the loss of Topper. Its hard to lose animals we love and so much more when we aren't there. One of my greyhounds passed away once when I was on vacation in Costa Rica. I think if you say what you wanted to say that Topper can still hear you.


Mary Paine said...

To Jami, Rhonda, and Jen,

Thank you all so much for your kind words. They mean a great deal. Tonight when I close my eyes I'm going to tell Topper what I wanted to tell him. You're right, Jen. He'll still hear how much I love him.