October 2007, almost 11 yeas ago, a dark brown Dutch Warmblood came to stay at Square Peg. He was handsome, he had a very good impression of himself, he had some moves. For a time, he was king of the pasture and we called him “the Benevolent Dictator” because he ruled quietly, but carried a big stick. He loved to lick people and did it with his eyes half closed, his thick and long eyelashes fluttering in pleasure.
He could carry you through exuberant lead changes and then pack a scared rider with care. He always knew.
He was steadfast on the trail – brave and clever.
He and his best friend Panzer – we referred to as “Grumpy Old Men” – they truly loved one another.
His favorite human, Carolyn cared for him daily with quiet walks and grooming. Their bond was special and we are so grateful to Carolyn’s family for their support of Bert in his senior years. They never wavered when he needed care.
He allowed pensive teen girls to scrub his white socks to a gleam and for wistful thinkers to braid flowers into his tail.
Dogs always wanted him to play with him and I never understood why they singled him out.
Last month, friends were visiting from the Netherlands. The two teenaged daughters took him for a walk and spoke lovingly to him in his native Dutch. I’m smiling just remembering their sweet words and how he looked like he was enjoying it so throughly.
As his health and vigor faded, he never complained and I kept my promise that I’d feed and clean and medicate him as long as he still wanted to eat.
Today, he refused even the cookies he loved so much. It was time.
Our steadfast veterinarian was with me to do what must be done. No matter what anyone tells you – it’s far from easy. But gentle Bert made it clear to us that he was ready to go.
I’m so grateful to him – for the years of service and friendship. For the joy he brought to so many.
Rest well my friend – and give my best to Cometa – another gallant soul who was part of the Square Peg Family that passed earlier this week.
This is the two of them together. I’d like to think they are sharing stories again.