Friday, December 9, 2011

Goodbye Argus, Goodbye Ridge












I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portions of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

~Emily Dickinson

It is with great sadness that I announce that Argus' journey on Earth ended on a mild winter day on Tuesday, November 22, 2011. He was accompanied by his best friend, Ridge, who also died the same day.

Five days earlier, Argus sustained a sudden and severe shoulder injury. I had spent time with him earlier that day, checking him thoroughly and making plans to have the vet out to look at him. He had been having a lot of trouble with his knees and was dropping weight rapidly. Little did I know that that day would be his last happy time in pasture.

Around 2pm, I looked out at Argus in the field, grazing with Odie, Ridge, Dallas and Indy. I remember thinking about how content he seemed. I watched him as he lowered himself down to roll in his favorite spot in the pasture, then went to take a shower. Only a few minutes later, I saw him in pasture, his left front leg extended awkwardly. He was unable to bear weight on it, and his shoulder was rapidly swelling. A large lump that had not been there previously was also apparent.

A vet was summoned immediately. He felt that Argus had sustained some sort of severe muscle or nerve damage but did not suspect a fracture. "Only time will tell," he said tentatively. We loaded Argus up on bute and banamine, and made him as comfortable as possible. With the passage of five days, Argus did not improve, but rather worsened, and with his severely arthritic right knee bearing all his weight, he was in tremendous pain. A trailer ride to a large animal hospital for more in-depth diagnosis was not possible, but I had a second vet out for a second opinion. He sadly concluded that Argus' injury was grave, with no hope for improvement. With a heavy heart, I made the decision to end Argus' pain. Sadly, Dr. Miller was unable to attend to Argus that day.

While waiting for the vet to arrive, Ridge, Argus' best friend and constant companion, began to colic.

Argus' last hours were filled with love and care. He was brushed and loved. I talked to him about all the hope and joy he had brought me and so many others. He ate buckets of treats. He crunched carrots and apples. Yet his eyes were distant. His pain palpable. I ached at the thought of letting him go, and yet ached at seeing him suffer so much.

The end was quiet and peaceful. Argus stood in the pasture, surrounded by all his friends. Odie the mule stood stoically at his side, comforting him. Ridge was cared for by the vet's assistant. The vet administered the first of two syringes that would end Argus' life, and I stroked him and told him how much I loved him. I stepped back, Argus' eyes fixed on me, and told him, over and over, "I love you. It's okay to let go now." He seemed so tired, yet he stood for a long time, and when the drugs finally overtook him, he gracefully crumpled to the ground. I held his head in my lap; he died in my arms.

Unable to really grieve or process the loss of Argus, I immediately turned to the colicking Ridge, who received veterinary care that made him more comfortable. Throughout the day, I nursed Ridge and kept in frequent contact with the vet. By early evening, it was apparent to me that this was not a minor colic. Numb and in shock, I called the vet out again. By this time, Ridge's pain was becoming unmanageable, his gut sounds had diminished, and he began refluxing stomach fluid out through his nose.

So on this terrible day, less than seven hours after Argus left us, I found myself saying those words yet again: "I love you. It's okay to let go now," to Ridge as we released him from his pain. It was dark outside. The only lights reaching Ridge were the headlights of the vet's truck. And once again, Odie stood nearby as Ridge crumpled gracefully to the ground. I held his head in my lap as he took a few last breaths, which seemed almost ghostly as the warm air from his lungs met with the cold air outside, illuminated by the lights. And then Ridge was gone.

My two boys, the best friends we called "the bookends" and "the twins" because of how similar they looked, and how closely they always stood together, had gone to the Rainbow Bridge together. Argus could never stand being alone, and even in death, he was accompanied by his buddy Ridge.

It was a shocking and exquisitely painful day, and yet, when I think about it, there was something amazing in this turn of events that comforted me, knowing that some unseen force, be it God or the universe, had kept them together.

Argus and Ridge, our bookends, passed away together on a day with incredible symmetry: 11-22-11

Of all of the days of Argus' 18 years, and Ridge's 25 years, they went together, and they went on a date that looked itself like bookends. I hope you enjoy these photos of the two of them, taking during the nearly four years that Argus was part of my family. I miss them both more than words can express.















My deepest thanks go to Dr. Grant Miller of the Sonoma CHANGE Program for working so long and hard to give Argus the second chance he deserved, and for providing veterinary care that kept him comfortable for four years neither of ever expected he'd have. This from Dr. Miller: "His life was both tragic and beautiful, and his time with you was a blessing that restores my hope for humankind. Argus was an incredible fighter and I will always think of him as a living representation of perseverance and pride."

Thanks also go to my mother, Carol, who financially supported her "Argie boy" over the last four years. Your support and kindness was always heartfelt, Mom!

Thanks also goes to my family: My daughters, Demi and Shelby, who cared for Argus daily through thick and thin, and also put up with his shenanigans; my sons Drew and Ethan, who are always patient with their mother and her "horse stuff." And to my husband, Ken, who has set many a fence post without complaint. I love you all.

Several people have requested information about making a donation in memory of Argus and to support Dr. Miller's continued work with abused horses. Donations to the Sonoma CHANGE Program's "Special Needs Fund" are earmarked for providing program horses with extraordinary comfort measures such as the twice-yearly knee injections Argus received gratis via Dr. Miller and CHANGE. Donations to CHANGE's "Humane Education Fund" go directly to pay for equine education for Animal Control officers and at-risk horse owners. Please join me in supporting this worthy endeavor.

Thank you to all of you who have shared Argus' journey with me.
This will be my last blog post.
Until we meet again, rest in peace my beloved Argus and Ridge.

~Katie












Postscript: Argus' body was taken to the University of California at Davis for study and a necropsy. The preliminary necropsy report stated that Argus was riddled with melanomas. They appeared alongside every major organ, and several large melanomas that had formed along his left scapula had caused the muscle to detach. We could not have saved him --- this time.

98 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm so sorry for your terrible loss. You gave Argus a wonderful four years of love and caring. It's incredible that Ridge and he went over the bridge on the same day. Twins-bookends til the end. They will forever be in your heart and you in theirs. If this had to happen at least they are grazing in a huge meadow and drinking from a clear stream and running together as if they were young again.

Lexie said...

You did so much for him, until the very end. I'm glad he has his "brother" with him, though I'm sad it increased your pain. You've done a lot to restore my faith in humans.
Good luck with your future endeavors,
Lexie

Lisa said...

Oh, you beautiful woman. You are an angel for horses, a pure heart.

I'm not sad for Argus and Ridge. They are happy, safe, pain free and most importantly (tragically, poetically) together. But for you, my heart breaks. It just seems right that they left this world together, but it is not fair on you...

Your grief in this post is palpable. I could almost hear the hitch of your breath in the words. I'm so sorry. I hope you find peace and solace in your memories of your beautiful boys.

jess said...

I agree with the above comment -- Argus and Ridge are the lucky ones, both to have had you in their lives, and now to be together still, and free from pain. What a terrible blow it must have been (and must continue to be) for you; I can hardly imagine. *Hugs* from the internet. I have followed Argus's story for years, and I cannot say how wonderful I think you are for swooping in and saving that horse's life. They were each lucky to live as a part of your herd. Hang in there, and know that we're out here thinking about you and 'the bookends.' xoxo.

Dangerbunny said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss.

Catherine Knutsson said...

I am so very sorry to read of your loss. I've been a (silent) reader of your blog for some time now, and am so grateful that your horses had such a loving, caring home--especially Argus, after all he had been through.

Take good care during this difficult time.

Now That's A Trot! said...

It seems like so long ago that I first heard of Argus's amazing story... I'm so sorry for his sudden loss, but know he and Ridge were very lucky to have you.

Farewell, handsome gray boys. Run happily and pain-free on the other side of the bridge.

Laura Crum said...

I have never read your blog before and found the story of Argus deeply moving. What a wonderful thing you did, and I am so sorry for the pain of your loss. I can't help but tell you, on Nov 22nd I euthanised two old horses I had cared for for more than ten years. ET was 31, a horse I rescued many years ago to save him from the kill pen, and Rebby was 27. Reb was a horse I trained for a friend who crippled up with EPM when he was 9. We had taken care of both these horses as pasture pets for a very long time, and both were just failing from various maladies of old age. With winter coming on, we made the choice to put them down. It was a very sad day for me, but now I picture them meeting Argus and Ridge on the rainbow bridge. ET and Reb are very sweet horses. Perhaps they are all grazing happily together. I hope so. Good wishes to you.

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your beautiful boys, but so thankful you gave them the love and care they deserved. Godspeed, grey boys, Argus and Ridge.

One Red Horse said...

When I saw the title for this post my first response was "oh no, oh no". Yet Argus was given the gift of a dignified and safe end, just as he was given the gift of a dignified and safe life once he came into your custody. Blessings for your family. My prayers are with you. Thank you for over the years telling the story of Argus and his dear friend Ridge.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for your loss of Argus and Ridge. Thank you for sharing their story with us anonymous strangers. I have followed Argus's journey with you from the beginning and have been awed and humbled at your courage and kindness.
Letting our horses go on that final journey is the hardest decision we have to make...but it is only hard for us humans. Thank you for being a good steward to your animals and knowing when it is time to let them go. I had to make that same decision a few months ago when my mare suffered a bad pasture accident. We never get over missing them, but our lives will forever be changed for the better because we had them!
Wishing you peace and comfort in the months to come!
Maria

Lisa Preston said...

Oh, Argus. Oh, Ridge. You good, lucky boys.

yatima said...

Oh, Katie. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you did for Argus and Ridge. I am so sorry for your loss.

Tammy said...

I am so sorry for your double loss but crying tears of joy that they crossed together. God Speed Argus, God Speed, Ridge. They were loved.

Jess said...

I am so sorry. What a tragic loss.

BluelineGoddess said...

Godspeed, Argus and Ridge.

Jennifer said...

(((((HUGS)))))

I'm so sorry, but I'm so glad they are together. What sweet boys. Bless you for all you do and have done for these fellas.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry that you had to lose your "boys" so close together like that, even if it was for the better. You gave Argus and Ridge so much love. I am happy that they departed the world close together. I don't think it's a coincidence that they did - they were meant to find each other and stay together until they end.

Thank you for writing such an amazingly inspiring, emotional, beautiful blog all these years. Argus was such a wonderful creature and he touched a lot of lives, including mine. He is very missed.

cdncowgirl said...

My deepest condolences. I cannot imagine how painful that day must have been, it was hard enough for me to go through a planned euthanasia of my old girl this fall. To have 2 unexpected, and hours apart... that had to be incredibly difficult.

I understand that you will no longer post, but I hope you keep the blog open so others can discover Argus and his amazing story.
ps - is there still a chance of an Argie book?

Heli said...

My deepest sympathy. Words fall short of expressing my sorrow for your loss. It was great chance to follow your journey.
Thank you for your mission and all the best in further!

Barbara said...

You did a great thing giving Argus the happy last years of his life. And while losing them both like that I know was overwhelmingly sad, I'm sure they are glad that one of them was not left behind.

Kelly said...

So sorry for your loss. Be comforted knowing those two lovely boys are galloping forever together in green pastures.

The horse lawyer said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Argus' story with all of us.

mareangel said...

I was just thinking of Argus the other day...I am so sorry for your loss, Katie. The last four years, you have opened your heart to us readers and allowed us on this journey with you, your human family, and your equine family. Thank you. When the time is right, I really urge you to write a book as a lasting tribute to Argus. If you haven't read Horsepower: A Memoir by Annette Israel, you should. From the second I read the book's description, I thought of you and Argus. The story of Argus, needs to be told.

While I will pray for you in your time of grieve, I pray that I will have your strength in letting my old mare go.

Kris H. said...

I came across this blog by accident but then spent all evening reading Argus' story. I sat and sobbed, my heart breaking for your loss, as I read your final post. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for making such a huge difference in this horses' life. Thank you for giving him 4 years of love and the chance to be a real horse. There is a special place in heaven for people like you. Argus and Ridge are now running with my big TB at the Rainbow Bridge.

KarenTX said...

Oh my.....I am so sorry for the loss of Argus and Ridge. You gave them both a quality of life that they would have not had. Bless you and your family, the vet staff and all the people who cared for them. Hugs.....

TankDiveGirl said...

Katie and everyone at Watermark Farm,

I read every single Argus post, and I've laughed and cried and been through the emotional roller coaster with you.

So i am sobbing now as I write this.

Thank you. Thank you for everything you did for Argus and Ridge. Thank you for doing what you do, and loving ALL horses the way you do. Thank you for sharing Argus with us, and for helping get justice for him and for others.

Thank you also for letting him go when it was time. He was an amazing horse and you are an amazing person. I hope to meet you in person one day so i can give you a hug and thank you in person.

*Hugs*
Jamie

Anonymous said...

Part of my every morning ritual has been to click on your blog. Of course, I loved all of your updates on Argus. But even when there were no updates, I was always glad to see his picture knowing that he was so loved and well cared for. It made for a happy beginning to each day. You are truely a remarkable lady to have saved him and shown him such kindness...and to let him go when it was time. I am just so terribly sorry that you lost both Argus and Ridge at the same time, but it is so fitting that the two boys went together. I thank you for sharing Argus's life with us and he will always be in my heart. Jo Ann

Alice Payne said...

I stayed up late last night, reading part of your blog, and finished it today, knowing that it was leading up to the story of their deaths. I am sure that there is a wonderful green field somewhere across the Rainbow Bridge, with your beautiful gray geldings, and my beloved palomino gelding, and my daughter's pinto, and my sister's gray mare. I really do believe we will see them all again. You are an amazing person, and if anyone deserves to go to what my mother called Horse Heaven, it is you.

Katie, Argus' & Ridge's mom said...

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words. They mean a great deal!

Stacey said...

I have been checking back for updates recently and am so, so saddened to see that you lost Argus and Ridge. Thanks to you and your family for stepping up and giving Argus the life that he deserved. It is beautifully tragic that Argus and Ridge passed on the same day. The world works in mysterious ways. Thank you for sharing Argus' story with us.

Diana said...

God Bless you & your family. All of our fur friends that leave us all too soon wait for us to join them someday. We remember them and they will always remember us. I don't know the story of Argus, but I will...believe me. I am so sorry for your loss but very happy that you gave your horses such care and they left with dignity. You are surely earning your wings.

Cheryl Ann said...

Katie, I am so sorry to read about Argus and Ridge. However, remember the good times they had with you. Those memories are precious.

Mel Baker said...

So sorry to read this :( At least for the last four years Argus got to be a real horse & he knew what it was liked to be loved & pampered as he deserved. Thank you for sharing this wonderful journey. Hugs

Anonymous said...

There is such beauty in the way you express yourself and the life around you. That had to be the most painful experience letting go of two loved ones in such a short span of time.

I too, find comfort in the symmetry, knowing Ridge and Argus will always travel together side-by-side. The news brought tears, but the date, the events, and your observations brought goosebumps.

You, your family and community are a blessing to us all. Thank you for loving Argus as he deserved and sharing his good days on this blog.

My thoughts are with you.

Snowhawk Przhevalsky said...

It's taken me a little while to think about what to say...

You did save him! You gave him the best years of his life, and I am sure he loved you for it. And even in letting him go as you did, you saved him.

And now neither has to grieve for the loss of the other.

I wish I could find better words...

You've shown yourself to be an amazing woman, and as other have said, people like you do a lot to restore my faith in humanity.

FlyingHorse2 said...

Some of them thank us all their lives; some of them thank us for only a moment but all of them thank us for not burdening them with our grief. To be selfless and let go, is the best gift we can give back to them. Blessings to you. Argus and Ridge have their wings now.

Mikey said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. You gave them both a wonderful loving home in their final years and there is nothing better than that. God Bless all of you and the hard work you do. May God take care of Argus and Riley now.

foxtrotter said...

I'm so sad for you to loose them both within hours of each other, yet happy they could go together. You gave them wonderful lives.

Anonymous said...

I read Argus' story for many years. I was always happy to see updates of him whuffling around in the fields, being with his friends, and enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

What you did for him was an amazing thing. I think he may have already thought himself in Heaven.

Mindy said...

I am so sorry for your losses. I have been following Argus's story from the beginning. You gave Argus joy and A LIFE and a partner in Ridge. Take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your tremendous loss all on the same day.You must be heartbroken. I cannot help but think that these two were so incredibly close that they always wanted to be together. I thank you for the love and kindness you showed Argus in his final years. You are a blessing.
Sue

Anonymous said...

That last photo you posted of them on this blog of both of them walking away together is priceless and so touching and sums this story up beautifully. Bless them both for loving each other and bless you for loving them the way they deserved.

excaliber813 said...

Katie,

Thank you for sharing your incredible journey with all of us. I have followed each and every post. My heart and soul have forever been changed by Argus and his life.

I believe horses live in the moment and thoses moments Argus lived with you, and his best friend Ridge were the best moments he ever had. He was happy and loved until the very end. What more could he, or any of us ask for? I'm am so sorry for your loss.

I'm thankful Argus could find the best of humanity before gaining his wings. Argus no longer remembered cruelty and despair, but sunshine, love, respect and warm embraces, a family, and a herd to call his own, that is what he took with him.

I remember when you wrote this about Argies and Ridge~ "These two are almost never apart, and move in unison in a way that I have not seen before in pasture mates, like an unmounted, unbridled pas de deux. They are so beautiful together."

10/10/08



Sweet Argus has earned his wings,as has Ridge, but not before making quite an impact in such a short time, on all of us who read your words.. Thank you Katie for sharing Argus with us and making his last years on earth the best humanly possible. The price you pay is high opening your hearts & home to those who truly need it, investing your emotions and love on those who are beyond deserving. My thoughts and prayers are with you, and all @ Watermark Farm.

All the best wishes for you,
Doe

Vee said...

I have so very much enjoyed reading your blog over the past few years. The happy times, the sad times, the stories of your everyday goings on at the farm. When your posts started to get fewer, I knew there would be a day that I clicked on the link and read a post like this eventually, but I was hoping it would be a long time from now.

I am so sincerely sorry for your loss, I can't even imagine the sadness of losing two such special horses so close together. It does seem meant to be in some way, that Argus' truest and closest companion was there to accompany him on his final journey, and as a previous commenter said, I feel no sadness for those wonderful boys, pain free and happy together, but my heart goes out to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I have followed Argus' journey. I am so deeply sorry for your loss of both Argus and Ridge. But, I do find comfort in the fact that they went to the Bridge together.

Prayers for your broken heart to mend with fond memories of two lovely "twins".

Anonymous said...

Katie and Family:

As Argus' veterinarian, I can say with certainty that working with you to help Argus has done more to save me than it did him. Life speeds by us and winds us up as one day stumbles into another, and sometimes I find myself mechanically rushing through each day just to get to the next, like a race in which the milestones are marked by paychecks, birthdays, and calendar pages.

Argus, and all of the horses that you and I have saved with our incredible group in the CHANGE Program, serve as reminders that the joy of giving and helping an animal in need provide a greater sense of accomplishment than anything else we can earn. At least for me, the feeling that I get through our volunteer work has been the biggest paycheck I have ever earned.

Argus helped me to catch my breath and remember who I want to be. He gave me the means to be that person.

I am so deeply thankful for the lessons that this horse taught me about what it means to persevere. When I finally come to the time in my life when I want to stop and look back, instead of ahead, I will count my experience with him as one of the most beneficial and potent experiences that I had in defining myself as a doctor, as a man, and as a human being.

GraceCali said...

I understand your pain. I had to put my 28 year old horse down on 12/1/11. Such a sad time. The only comfort (to me) is that they are not in pain anymore.

Nadia Lane said...

Thank you for sharing your amazing story of two best friends in this life and the hereafter. The last picture you posted of the boys running out into pasture is an absolutely perfect depiction of how they left this earth and are living in their forever pasture. Blessings~ Nadia Lane

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all you did to save Argus. His last years were his best. That his best friend went on the journey with him is sad and sweet.

Goodbye dear Argus.

Mom said...

My heart goes out to you for the loss of Argus and Ridge. With you, Argus came to know love, kindness and great care. He came from hell to heaven with your guidance. You are an eloquent writer and told his story so beautifully. Argus and Ridge are now in the best place - there is a poem I like that expresses it best:

Somewhere in time's own space

There must be some sweet pastured place

Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow

Some paradise where horses go,

For by the love that guides my pen

I know great horses live again.

~Stanley Harrison~

Anonymous said...

I am so saddened to read this final entry and I know you must be in great pain. But...what you did for Argus and all the other horses you have helped is immeasureable. I hope in time your pain eases and you can think of Argus and Ridge with a smile and know how much good you have done on this earth.

Kay said...

You wonderful lady, you gave those two love, love and more love and a dignified crossing. God Bless You and Godspeed to Argus and Ridge.

kbryan said...

Katie, it is impossible not to cry after reading about the passing of Argus and Ridge. I've been an Argus follower from the beginning. Thank you and Dr. Miller for giving him a new and wonderful life. The greater gift was your coming to love him, and eventually giving him part of your heart. Bless you for all you have done, and continue to do for these magnificient animals. You and Dr. Miller an inspiration to us all. Thank you.

Synandria said...

I am so, so sorry.

I have read this blog from its very start. I celebrated through your posts as Argus learned what it was to be a horse again, I delighted in the pictures you posted of him with his friends, and as the posts became less frequent, I contented myself with the idea that his life had become as normal as could be.

I began checking here less frequently, and in fact, I began to forget entirely to do so. Today, for no reason in particular, I remembered the story of Argus and decided to check here. I could not believe it when I saw the title of this newest post. I hoped it did not mean what I thought it meant - maybe hard times forced you to find them new homes?

But alas, it was as I had feared. I feel privileged to have been given the chance to follow Argus' progress from hopeless prisoner to just another horse with a sad past, and I am happy to have been able to have experienced his progress vicariously through you.

I cannot imagine the pain you must feel to have lost two of your boys in one fell swoop. I would like to believe it is more than mere coincidence that they should both pass on the same day, that they were somehow fated to live and die together. Those with faith might suggest divine influence. I do not know what I would call it, but it seems somehow fitting that they should go together.

I know it is no real comfort, but I cannot help but think how merciful it was for them both to pass on together: neither would have to live a day without their 'brother,' neither would need to mourn the loss of their other half.

It's a story fit for a novel.


Thank you again for allowing ALL of us the opportunity to meet Argus and his friends at Watermark Farm, and you have my sincerest condolences.

topcterv said...

there are no words… you have so eloquently told this story and made each of us feel part of it, and my grief can only be a fraction of what you are feeling and tears are streaming as i read .i feel so blessed to have been able to share in this journey in such a small way.. and it cannot be coincidence that that went together, i am sure that was part of the plan, just like argus finding his way to you..… the story will live on...

Alysse said...

Isn't it incredible that they would pass on the same day, from unrelated causes? How kind of Ridge to let Argus go first, knowing he couldn't stand to be alone. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. Argus' journey was an incredible one, and I'm so glad he found you and was able to experience the happy life he so deserved. Rest in peace, Argus and Ridge. So long as you are loved, you will never be truly gone.

goodbyeargusandridge said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Just as they were a blessing to you, so were you to them. Argus and Ridge wait for you on the other side. They know your kind, loving heart. They will know it during your separation and they will know it when you reunite.

I am thinking of you and praying that you find solace in the memory of them, healthy and pain-free. Thank you for what you did for Argus and Ridge.

Karen said...

Thank you so much for helping Argus and Ridge. I have read this blog for 3 years now, and am so grateful for people like you. I hope you and your family will find peace knowing the boys are together in a better place. Maybe you can post now and then and tell us how you are doing. Thank you again

rkb111@bellsouth.net said...

"He loveth best who loveth all creatures great and small." Bless you, and thank you for sharing Argus with us.

Amanda M said...

I always think of the line from Henry V - "It is so strange, My eyes will scarcely see it" when I hear of things like this.


Argus was always living +1 days, buying into a new life where each day was simply a gift. For him, his only limitation his body which was closing the door on him.

For you to have lost boys - that they did indeed go together, perhaps must be some small comfort, otherwise there is nothing to say to say that people all around the world feel some part of your loss and wish you and your family comfort in the darkness.

With much love,

Amanda in Australia
Caleb's one-time sponsor.

PaintedPonyGrrl said...

I'm so sorry about your losses. Poor Argus, poor Ridge. But bless you for giving Argus such a good life, out of isolation, with food and attention, and friends. He got to know kindness and happiness in his life at last.

I'm crying as I try to write, for poor Argus and Ridge, and because years ago I also lost two of my best old boys on the same day, one to cancer, and the other to a severe stroke.

All your trials and tribulation, and great expense, I'm sure, for Argus' sake are to be admired. Thank you for giving the guy a chance, and a good life. I'm sure he's in heaven now, enjoying a good long run on legs that never hurt or tire.

Anonymous said...

Argus and Ridge
Across the Rainbow Bridge
Where the pastures are green
Manes blowin' a breeze
And never a worry appears

They'll be waiting there
For a dear friend
Whose heart shines clear
With beauty and here
We remember them still

Forever they'll be together,
And we will never forget them!

Thank you for sharing this story. Please consider publishing sometime later, when the pain is not so fresh... proceeds could go to help other horses in need.

You can self-publish at lulu(dot)com... funny, I just clicked on their site and there is an image of a horse on the "Publish" page.

rosedel said...

Oh Katie, I am so sorry. Your posts about Argus have made me cry and laugh and cringe.Oh those Pigeon Fever pustules and you wearing HazMat gear to give those awful shots and blanket "training" and the morning you realized that many many people loved Argus and wanted to help you help him. Thank you so much for sharing Argus and your family with us. Argus' story is a treasure and I hope that, when time has passed and it's not as painful, you will write it down for many more people to hear and learn from.

FullCircleEquine said...

Oh Kate I am so sorry so very sorry for the loss of the boys. My heart breaks for you. But both Argus and Ridge were so blessed to have you in their lives. They could not have asked for a better and more caring person. No matter what. Always know that they are with you.And you them.

phaedra96 said...

Good-bye, Argus. Good-bye, Ridge. Rest in peace.

Jessica said...

Oh, Kate. I am so sorry for your loss and so sorry I missed it until now. You and Argus have been a true inspiration to me and he was so very lucky you found him.

Peace to you and yours from me and mine.

pchoofinit said...

It is with a heavy heart that on this Christmas morning, I read of Argies passing.
How fitting that Ridge passed along side him. You have such an empty hole in your soul and Watermark Farm.
May the angels continue to cover you with their wings, dearest Katie. And give you strength to save more innocent creatures.
Thank you, Thank you Thank you from the bottom of my soul for your gift of words and for sharing your time with Argies.
Sending light and love to you, your farm and to Dr. Miller.
Namaste

Anonymous said...

Words cannot begin to express how sorry I am for your loss and your pain. Argus and Ridge had become so special to so many of us out here.

I too have followed Argus' story since the beginning. Thank you so much for sharing his story with all of us and allowing us the opportunity to watch his amazing progress through the years. All horses are an incredible labor of love but this was such a special story.

I can't help but think that perhaps Argus and Ridge moved on because there is another horse out there waiting for you to find him (or her).

Peace to all of you at Watermark Farm.

Lee said...

I hadn't been here to 'check up' on Argus in a long while and am sad to see he is gone, along with Ridge, but after reading the circumstances, I know you over the years you did the best possible for these sweet animals. It's hard making that decision to put them to rest, even when you know there is no option other than continued pain for the animal. I'm facing that with a much loved cat right now and it's not a decision I want to bear. God bless you for caring so well for those who are at the mercy of human caretakers that for whatever reasons, can't or won't provide adequate and appropriate care.

Michelle said...

So sorry to hear about Argus. I followed your story from the beginning and so loved seeing him enjoying life - after all those years of neglect. You did a wonderful job rehabilitating him.

twhgait said...

I'm at a loss for words. How can anyone deny the presence of a higher power after reading this? How can this be coincidence? Sorry, not preaching, just amazed how the story ended :(

I'm so sorry for your loss. I haven't been here for awhile...had just noticed Argus' death being mentioned on another website and immediately came to see what had happened. I didn't know about Ridge too. I'm glad Argus had you!

Kales said...

I'm so sorry you lost them. They were lucky to have had you.

Linda said...

I have followed this blog from the beginning and can only say that i feel like i know you and your family and all your animals. I too find the loss of your two bookends extremely painful. Thank you for everything you did for Argus. i often mention his story in conversation. Thinking of you and sending love and hugs from south Africa

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I'm so sorry! Losing two at once is triple hard. I think they wanted to make the journey together.

PaintedPromise said...

i have not been checking as often because there hasn't been much written regularly... a friend just told me today about the loss of Argus. so yet again i will shed tears for him, both happy and sad, and for you Katie... God bless you and your family for all you did for Argus, at least he knew love before the end, so many horses are not that lucky...

i do not think it was a coincidence that Ridge went with Argus. as was said above, twins/bookends to the end... AND BEYOND! they will always be together, and may that thought bring you comfort as you deal with your double loss!!!

Argus has been an inspiration to me since i "met" him on blogger.com, and the cause of much rejoicing over the years as he made good progress... and many prayers when things were not so good.

Argus will live forever in the hearts of all of us who have loved him, from near or far.

lytha said...

Oh no, I'm so sorry for your loss of your bookends. I have enjoyed this blog so much and what a blessing that they went together, however much more painful that is for your family and you, I cannot imagine. Goodbye Argus and Ridge.

RiderWriter said...

Oh... oh, no, oh, no.

I haven't visited in a while and to open the blog and find this news is absolutely heartrending. I, too, hoped the headline meant something else - how could they possibly BOTH be gone? SURELY not. But to learn that not only yes, Argus and Ridge had both crossed the bridge, but on the very same day... this just defies belief.

Like others have said far better than I, there is absolutely a cosmic hand in this. I cannot imagine your suffering, Katie. But to know they are together, as always - that does bring comfort. It just still feels impossible that they went this way!

God bless you, your family and of course Dr. Miller (whom I thank for allowing us to read his lovely and thoughtful comment here) for your salvation of this horse, this one special being who seemed put on this earth to remind all of us what good opening your heart to an animal will do. They are bound to leave us far too soon, but every moment we spend with them is worth the eventual pain. I will remember Argus forever.

Sonya said...

Thank you for all you did for Argus and Ridge. I feel like I know Argus from reading your blog and cried when I realized he finally knew he was a horse! Thank you for sharing his story with us.

purejuice said...

xxx
amor manet.
love remains.

Hydrant girl said...

Beautiful post in memory of 2 amazing horses. Thank-you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

How deeply saddened I am to know of the passing of Argus and his friend Ridge. How wonderful that they knew love and warmth and full bellies and everlasting friendship. How wonderful that they knew you.

An Argus fan from Australia.

BAD DOG said...

I just read this and am crying with you. Thank you for caring for Argus, giving him some happy years after all he had to endure. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful bookend boys...I hope they are running and bucking and rolling somewhere together pain free and young forever.
:'(

Anonymous said...

Run wild, sweet grays. How lucky you were to have been loved so deeply...

Thank you for being there for them both.
My tears flow with deep gratitude, not at their deaths, but at their gentle, loving passing away from pain. You gave them what every animal deserves.

You did everything right. Thank you.
Godspeed, Argus & Ridge.
May horses someday be protected from those that so carelessly harm them.

Anonymous said...

I just started reading this and had to comment.

First off, sorry for the losses, even months after.

Secondly, I've had so many take in horses that resembled yours, it makes me sick.

Third, I have had an ottb that I could not in my heart keep because I could not put weight on him. It broke my heart every day to see ribs. He landed himself in a home that used him as a competitive trail horse. I took him on his first trail ride and it was a moment I will never forget. He was also a grey thoroughbred. He loves his job and has found help outside of the area that I didn't have access to. And I've taken a horse from being stalled for an entire year and seeing the life she's capable of and how she thinks her goal in life is to pack around kids. I'm also facing 2 horse lives that may never be able to do much but walk around the pasture getting hugs and treats. We have so much heart and compassion in common.

Lastly, this whole story has made me realize that what I do is not in strife.

Please for the horse voices unheard, get this story out there so they will soon be heard.

Jill said...

I usually check your blog every few months, but hadn't for a while, until I saw the news on the family blog.

I'm going to be the 86th person to comment about these beautiful horse 'brothers', which I think is a tribute in itself.

Thank you for sharing the story with everyone, even this last, most painful chapter. I have enjoyed reading about every step of Argus's life with you, and although it was inevitable, I am so sorry it had to end, for Argus and Ridge.

Best wishes to you and your family, human and animal! and Dr. Miller.

You are all wonderful people.

Krisly7 said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss.
My heart goes out to you.
I lost my old man "Comanchero" on December 20, 2011
Thank you for sharing Argus and Ridge and Odin and the others with us. They all are very lucky to have had you in their life.

DON'T CRY FOR THE HORSES
Unknown Author

Don't cry for the horses that life has set free,
A million white horses forever to be.
Don't cry for the horses, now in God's hand,
As they dance and they prance in a heavenly band.

They were ours as a gift, but never to keep,
As they close their eyes forever to sleep.
Their spirits unbound, on silver wings they fly,
A million white horses against a blue sky.

Look up into Heaven, you'll see them above,
The horses we lost, the horses we loved.
Manes and tails flowing, they gallop through time,
They were never yours, they were never mine.

Don't cry for the horses, they'll be back someday,
When our time is gone, they will show us the way.
Do you hear that soft nicker, close to your ear?
Don't cry for the horses, Love the ones who are here.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I was a reader of this blog for some time int he beginning, but something happened and I had forgotten, until I heard the terrible news on a different blog. What a beautiful thing you did for Argus; I cried reading the blog before, about Argus meeting horses for the first time, grazing for the first time, and I'm crying again. I cannot fathom the pain of losing two beloved horses in one day. I hope the time has helped heal some wounds...


-Kristen

Vero said...

This is one of those situations where it's so difficult to find the right words. I can't express what an effect Argus' story has had on my life. My heart broke for Argus when I began reading this blog, but I can't express the joy that I've found from watching him get the life that he deserved after so much suffering. Katie, you have given me such hope that there are really good people out there, when it's easy to focus on the negative. Thank you so much for sharing Argus' story, I just wish that it hadn't ended so soon.

Anonymous said...

How empty your pasture must look as you gaze at it each morning.

Somewhere two horse spirits are galloping together.

My very very best to you.

Mandie said...

I've just finished reading about Argus' story. It is so touching, and gives me hope that there are still caring and loving people out there like you. I've cried and was overjoyed at times reading this blog. Such a beautiful story! You have made all the difference in the world to all the beautiful horses that you rescue.

You have a wonderful, pure, and kind heart and I wish there were more people like you!!

So very sorry for your loss, and all of the ones before those two wonderful bookends. They are all so lucky to have found you. I hope you help many more find happiness and light after the dark. Good luck, and peace be with you and your family.

Unknown said...

Some years ago I began to read your blog about Argus. I am re-reading it now and am sorry that your time with him was brief. Even if you no longer read this I wanted to say something.

I just re-read the 2008 blog where you finally decided that Argus was going to stay with you. I remember being surprised by your dismay over having had no offers to take him. From the very first words of your blog, it was clear, that Argus was already home. Perhaps we all knew that before you did :)

Thank you for saving Argus.

Sarah said...

Dearest Katie,

I just now read your last blog; cried tears of shock and grief for you and the two beautiful, sweet boys. The tears, the story, the pictures, will stay with me for some time. Having followed Argus' re-birth since the beginning, it is a grief that is personal in more ways than I can explain. Your two angels join my grey Thoroughbred, Dot, in the cloud pastures. He left us, almost three years ago, in his 27th year. A fractured tibia was the injury that could not be repaired. I rode him that morning. He was in the pasture, bathed, glossy, happy, when it happened. I was cleaning his stall. My life went from joy to nightmare over a mere 40 minutes. He and I were together for 21 years. Argus' story was, in a way, a means of keeping Dot with me. I hope that Dot welcomed Argus and Ridge at the Bridge.

It has been four months since Argus and Ridge have crossed over. I hope that time has brought you, your family and the remaining herd some healing. As hard as we try to rationalize it, the loss of a beloved soul takes a piece of us with them. But it also leaves a little bit of them with us.

They run with the herd in the sky, now. I know that they will come to the fence and watch over you.

Blessings, healing and love to you. You restore my faith.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry....
Like many others, I have read your blog for several years - from when Argus came into your life. When I read your goodbye post today, I was just so sad for you and your family. Letting your two boys go was best for them, but what a hard day to go through. They are together though, and without pain, and that must be a comfort. You gave them both a wonderful life. I'm sure the last years of Argus' life with you more than made up for the first part he had to endure.
Thank you for saving him, and for sharing so much with us.
Robin P.

Anonymous said...

Here I am at work, crying about Argus.

I have not checked your blog for some months, and was surprised and saddened to read about Argus and Ridge. I have shed many a tear reading your vivid and lovely blog over the years, but I don't begrudge them. Not at all.

Thank you so much for saving Argus, and for sharing your moving and beautifully written blog. You made his awakening come vividly to life, and I almost feel that I witnessed it myself, personally. I loved reading about what you noticed, how Argus blossomed, and how his gentle spirit was revealed, bit by bit.

God bless you for giving Argus happiness and peace. You are my hero.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog on Facebook yesterday and was instantly hooked on it wanting and needing to see how Argus has become a real horse with you and your familes love and affection. It brought tears to my eyes reading tonight, never did I think it would end like this.... not sure what I expected.... Rest in Peace the gentle grey brothers will, watching over you and your family from above just as you watched over them.... Thank you for all you have done and given of yourself....

kbryan said...

Hello Katie, I hope you and your family and animals are all well. I was reminded of Argus this week when Lytha posted to Baasha's passing. Hope you'll give us an update on how you are doing. Have a lovely holiday season. Kay

Sarina M. said...

Well written. As a new horse owner I found this article to be riveting, like reading a chapter in a novel.