Goodbye to Lester
Passed away September 2, 2017
Yesterday, darling Lester died. This was not unexpected. In his 30s, and a wreck from arrival 6 years ago, and suffering from the loss of his dear friend Diamond a month ago, Lester was ready.
This was a gentle passing. He looked right at me, calm and peaceful. He told me he was done. Like the good guy he was, he made a decent effort to get up, when I asked. But he laid back, and clearly let me know - Mom, I tried for you, but you can see I can’t do it, right? Help me out here. And so I did.
When Lester arrived here years ago, with Jasper and Diamond from the Kern County shelter, we’d been told he was 12. My vet snorted when he looked in Lester’s mouth - more like 24 or even more. I think maybe Lester was an Anglo-Arab. He had the heart, and the endurance, and he really had great interest in the world around him, people and horses alike. He had DSLD, and seemed to have something going on in his hips, but otherwise, with his baby face and sweet innocence, I guess you can see how shelter employees thought he was younger.
He was tall and thin when he came here. And immediately took Diamond under his wing. Their friendship was practical, and heart felt on both sides. Diamond was half Lester’s age, but physically a worse wreck, and had had much harder treatment at the hands of humans. I believe that Lester was once very much loved - that kind of trust couldn’t have flourished otherwise. Lester liked people, and expected good things from us. How he ever ended up in that shelter, I’ll never know. But he never held a grudge about it - he was just happy to be here, with his friend.
He was a little bit timid, and Diamond despite physical disabilities was kind of a bodyguard for him. And he? I think he was kind of like a loving Dad to Diamond. Maybe not always effective, but loving, and caring and willing to do anything to be with him. A couple of months ago Lester was badly cast amongst the rocks. My neighbor and I worked hard and got him over and around rocks and positioned so he could get up. He was COVERED with bloody scrapes, both sides, head to toe. But the second he was on his feet, he was calling for Diamond, and waddling off as hard as he could go, not stopping or quiet until he was in his stall, looking over the fence at Diamond. Being with his friend was everything to him. And despite a tough guy exterior, I saw Diamond loved him too. An odd couple, bonded by accident of fate, for life.
When these horses come from shelters, I never know much about their lives. Even if the shelter knows, they won’t relay that information. Another rescue would spend some time working with shelter horses, to see what their training might be, which could shed some light on the matter. But horses come here because they’re injured or aged out of work. I don’t ask too much of them, except to behave for the farrier and vet, which Lester always did impeccably.
So Lester’s history, a lifetime of experiences, is a mystery. Those marks on his nose suggest a too tight halter, for sure. But somehow he came thru with kindness and gentleness and a willingness to help others. Every picture I have of him, he's looking right at me, interested, wanting contact. He was a curiously pure soul, shining a light on his friend, and lighting my heart as well. I believe that the Carrot fulfilled it’s mission with him - reminding him that he was absolutely worthy of love and that the shelter was an aberration not related to him or his value, and giving him some final years of happiness being a horse. I only regret that his last month was lonely, and I did do the best I could to spend time with him each day. He just had a nice bath a few days ago; and he’s been getting his favorite senior and A&M dinners. But in his last moments, although he politely took the softened senior feed, and carrot bits I offered, he didn’t bother to chew them. He just waited patiently for me to fulfill my last obligation to him, certain in his heart that I would. The wind was blowing gustily as he left, calling him, and I imagined him running strong, tail flagged and eyes bright, looking for Diamond, and their next adventure.
I knew in my heart that dear Lester would never make it to Arizona with us, and that hurt. But he chose his time, and went quickly and calmly. He was tired, I think. And I understand that. But o my how much I will miss him.