The Call of The Wild



In February of 2005, our old 26 year old Dutch warmblood mare Veronica keeled over dead in her pasture. Apparently she had been running freely, kicking up her heels, and just suddenly, like THAT, it was over.  My 20 year old daughter was home at the time.  She called me at work, quite hysterical.  I was 60 miles away.  She said, crying, “I think Veronica’s dead.”  I said, “What do you mean, you THINK?” She said, “She’s lying down and she’s not moving but her eyes are open and she’s warm.”


I called my equine veterinarian.  I told John Newcomb that he needed to go to my house immediately to “pronounce the horse.”  He was amazed but he did what I asked because he knew my daughter.


Thirty minutes later he called me back.  He said, “Yep, she’s dead alright.  She is indeed dead.”  No sign of a struggle—she just went down.  A fitting end to a beautiful life.


And if that wasn’t bad enough, I got home that evening and was greeted by Izzy, my then 3 year old male deerhound.  It was dark.  He jumped up to kiss me—big wet deerhound kisses.  I felt something warm and wet and slightly sticky on my lips and face. I tasted salt on my lips.   I went inside.  I looked in the mirror and screamed. To my horror, I was covered with blood.


The next morning in daylight, I went out to the pasture to discover the key to the mystery of the night before. Izzy had been chowing down on Veronica’s haunches.  Chomp, chomp, mmmmm, good.  Tasty horse meat fresh off the hoof, grass fed, untouched by chemicals.


I covered Veronica carefully with a tarp until the renderers could get there.  I never told my husband that my dog liked horsemeat. Or that our favorite dog ate his favorite horse.  Somehow I don’t think he would understand. But there’s a lesson to be learned here.  None of us, neither dog nor human, no matter how domesticated, are all that far from that distant call of the wild.  We’ll see if my husband is reading my blog now.