A trying week

It has been a crushing week for all of us at OMRH. First Cheryl's cat, Clyde, passed away. He had been a devoted friend to John and Cheryl for 20 years. Even though many miles seperate our families, we grieve with her.

As our hearts went out to them, we lost a friend, too. My constant companion, Rookie, has left us as well. Several years ago, in preperation of their move from Paris, Bill and Kristi Jakeman (owners of Bonnie's Poker, dam of Silver Charm) gave me the most wonderful dog in the world. This big, black wonderful fellow, Rookie, has been guardian to the ladies, my dear friend and greeter to all visitors ever since.

Since his arrival, while I went about my work on the farm, he has been by my side. It never mattered if it was blowing snow, spitting rain, blazing hot or perfect weather, Rookie was always with me. He has followed me on trail rides, stayed with me all night during foal watch and hung his head as we buried several ladies. The only time Rookie's loyalty to me slipped was when we had children on the farm. Rooke always had a special fondness of little boys. As soon as he saw a child get out of a car, he glowed. In fact, small boys were the only way he would leave my side. I couldn't even get him to look at me if there was a three year old around. I always thought of Tripper, the Jakeman's son, when I saw this.

One of the best testiments to this beautiful dog's soul came on October 13, in 2004. Hope of Glory had just passed away and Rookie stood guard over her as the back-hoe dug her grave. Rookie seemed to have a special attachment to Hope and now we were seeing it manifest. We layed Hope in her grave and that dog jumped in with her yelping and crying. We pulled him out and had to keep a tight hold of him as they covered Hope's body. Rookie sat on that grave for days, refusing to move.

During the past year he aged dramatically. There have been several times where we had to help him to his feet. Our walks to the barn became slower and slower. We had been warned his time was growing very short. No one needed to tell us. Rookie told us every day.

The other night he disappeared from my side at the sound of thunder. I thought he had made a run for the house as he was terrified of storms. But he wasn't at the house. I looked everywhere. I drove the roads for miles as my husband searched the farm on foot. We couldn't find him. It stormed all night long.

The next morning we found him in the barn unable to rise. He was exhausted. I am not sure where he had gone but he found his way home. There wasn't a mark on him. He was dry, too, which makes me think he found shelter somewhere. We carried him to the house. We treated his exhaustion and spooned water into his mouth. Rookie did not recover. After 24 hours, it was obvious he wanted to be let go.

This morning, we took our last truck ride. Rookie did not even raise his head as we carried him to the truck. He did not move as I crawled into the back with him. The only response to my touch was a fluttering of the eyelids. As he opened those eyes that last time I could tell he was already gone mentally. I wondered if he would have died without the vet's help had we just waited another half hour.

He stopped breathing after the sedative but before his final shot. We buried Rookie in the place I had saved for him since October of 2004, next to Hope of Glory. A place of honor.

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