Goodbye to Dominic

Passed away 8/18/22


I’ve struggled for almost two weeks to write this. It’s the classic final nail in the coffin. If I just don’t write, maybe he’ll still be here, somewhere. Dear darling little boy Dominic died – he came in for dinner as usual one night. Ate one carrot. And apparently went down. No signs of struggle. I found him laid out in his stall the next morning, still and cold.  A sweet goofy boy, always alert, always interested and involved, always willing.  He was over 20 when he died, but still seemed like a baby.

That nose.

Dominic came into TGC about 10 years ago. And although I always thought of him as our baby, he was actually about 10 years old at the time. He had the puppy quality all of his years here. He played with anyone who would play.

Carson routinely schooled the younger horses, but it always seemed more like play with his buddy Dominic.

 Dom played with anyone, even a huge spaz like Jedi

He got studdish with Daisy, and adored her for his whole stay here. He approached every person like that guy in Friends – “How’re YOU doing?” And how many pictures did I have of him with his head on sideways, nose first, showing you just where to insert a treat? He was a favorite with his two sponsors, Susie W and Beth W, and Irene J, and any visitors I had, and yes, despite his pesky behavior, mee too….

 It wasn't just the nose, look at those silly google eyes!

Best friends Dominic and Laddie. 

Dominic was one of the four Thugs – his love Daisy, Star, and Laddie made up the gang. Those three were sound, but Dom had a wry right hind foot (Dr. Z believed he was kicked and broke something between the fetlock and hoof). It never slowed him down, just needed some remedial trimming. He wasn’t a leader, and certainly was never low in the herd hierarchy, just a regular guy with a social personality.

Dom and his lovely lady Daisy


With people it was a little different. He’d supposedly had a ‘training accident’ at his previous home, having been found hanging from a halter somehow. I never saw any sign of it, to be honest, physically. But he would now and then ‘react’ to being held still – he would pull back and keep going strong. If you took a few steps with him, he’d stop on his own, and when you asked, walk right back where he had been, no problem. (At one point I sent him for training to ride with someone who turned out to be a complete idiot- referred to herself in the third person when she advised me ‘we don’t believe in ground driving horses’, and after conning me out of 60 days training and board fees, sent him back with the unbelievable statement that “if you had unlimited funds, Dominic could be a good riding horse”, and returned him completely untrained but now afraid of anyone approaching with a loose lead line. Took me 6 months to get him over that….) So the reality of Dominic is that if I’d had a good trainer (as I do now) he could probably have found a home years ago. Once back from the so-called training, he injured himself, and tho it didn’t seem to affect his ability to move at all, it would have affected him as a riding horse, so he stayed here. I can’t deny that I was glad.

He liked to mess with me. Each evening, usually he and the Thugs were last to go into their stalls. And he would be ABSOLUTELY last – hanging outside Daisy’s stall and dashing off into the brush when I tried to drive him into his own. He would wait till Laddie was in, and then pretend that “I’d GO into my stall Casey, but Laddie will bite me when I pass!!” And dang it, Laddie WOULD. Never actually connected as Dom would swerve away, but he’d threaten…. And you wouldn’t be surprised to hear I was scolding him the whole time – dang it Dom, just go in when I tell you to, when Laddie’s not near the window! I swear he threw a grin at me over his shoulder as he skimmed past…

Thinking about Dom these last two weeks, I thought about how horses here at TGC are often what I term “bad luck horses”. Somehow, someone couldn’t train this personable and responsive horse, not once but twice? Somehow, with all of his physical abilities, he hurt himself enough that no one would ever want him, and he really probably couldn’t do a ‘job’ for humans? And then, something took him suddenly, in the apparent pink of health? The training thing was definitely bad luck. The injury – well, it didn’t bother him, just made him ‘useless’ to humans – and that was kind of good luck for him, right, since he was here? And honestly, a sudden and painless death – it’s what we all want? Even if far too early. There are definitely worse ways to go. So I’m hoping that overall, Dom felt like a ‘good luck horse’ – I’m so sure he enjoyed his life here, and he was so loved. And bless his heart, he went out on his own terms, and spared me making 'the decision'.  How much  I loved him.

And in that regard the sad and subdued manner of the Thugs is remarkable. I honestly feel they don’t want to show it – they are top dogs here after all – but they come in each night with almost no shenanigans as had been their habit. And they look at each other, and his stall. They spent that last night with him, as his body cooled. They know he is gone. And to my eye, they miss him. It’s not the same ‘gang’ without him.