Dollar was his name because that is what Tex paid for him, a dollar.
Dollar was truly old. His back swayed, he walked and trotted stiff-legged, never ran, and his hair was falling out in patches. But he loved our kids and they could climb all over and under him anytime they wanted or needed. One morning, several weeks after his arrival, I realized Dollar had not eaten his breakfast. I called Tex who told me from 20 miles away that Dollar was sick. I told him that was impossible since there were no signs of it. When I turned around, Dollar was lying on the ground.
Hours of heroic efforts did not change the course of this horse’s life. We were assured by the vet’s tests that Dollar would not live to midnight and the last hours would be excruciating pain. We did what we believed to be the right thing.
It was sad on every level. Dollar was such a cool horse. He loved our children. He got along with everyone. He was a gentleman. And Tex loved him. He rescued him from a cruel man who had many horses and loved none of them. Our kids got to hang out with a truly good horse. And Dollar got to die with people who loved him deeply. He won all our hearts within this short time.
I sobbed. I cried for him. For the pony of my youth. For my dogs. For my parents. I sobbed. It was good, cathartic. We all cried.
A few days after we put him to sleep, I went to check on the horses after dark as was my custom. I always went alone and sometimes just hung out after checking the water levels in the troughs. This night, Ginaid walked up. Her feet had been trimmed, the swelling in her legs reduced, eating good food, and definitely settling into her position as Alpha Mare.
She was still aloof and still did not care much for me. But here she was, approaching me for the first time. I had been crying so hard I did not hear her coming. I sat as still as I could while she came close to get a drink of water.
At that exact moment, I had just been thinking: This passing was very upsetting. The children were still crying off and on. I was upset. Tex was sad. Why did Dollar have to die here?
I heard: “You want to know why he died here?”
I was dumbfounded.
I heard: “Because if he would have died at his old place... nobody would have cried.”
She finished drinking and walked away.