Saturday, September 6, 2008


When I was eighteen years old, I worked for the Fresno Bee Newspaper driving a van, taking the papers to the carriers. I would report to work at 2AM and work until about 8AM. It was a great job. Gave me my days free and paid very well. I worked for the Bee for about a dozen years in total. Back in those days, I didn't look much past the next weekend. I had it all. I lived at home still, as did just about every one of my friends. I had my own car. I came and went pretty much as I pleased. I also worked part time at Burger King for a while, working the lunch shift, Monday thru Friday. I bet you didn't know that I was the very first male order taker that BK had in California! I even squeezed in a couple of college classes to boot. I had a great life!

Then I grew up. Why did I do that?

The day I grew up was the day Debbie was diagnosed with leukemia. I had no choice. Up until that day, it was pretty much still do what I want when I want. Yes I had a wife and kids now, but I was still renting, still jumping from job to job because a competitor offered me a dollar an hour more, still saying "we're moving back to the beach!" That one phone call, changed my whole life.

Fast forward eleven years. I have six kids, a new wife, two house payments, mounting debt, and major decisions. Some of this is my doing, some is not.

Today I face a decision that is extremely difficult for me. Today I have to decide if I will donate my horse, Suzie-Slow-Poke, to a organization that uses horses as therapy for children that are burn victims. What better cause could there be? Yvette has decided to donate her horse, Dolly.

The reason for this goes back to the root of all evil, money. Paying $360 a month to board them is just not possible at this point in time anymore. Gas and food prices, six kids in school, you know the story. Then add in the vet bills, the farrier bills, and the Good Lord help me if one of them should even have a health emergency! But Suzie is my horse! She and I have a very strong bond! We have worked on our trust of each other. She knows I will never put her in harms way and I know she will always do what I ask her. She is such a great horse for the parades and cowboy shows we do. Always standing still as kids run up behind her and under her, pull her tail or main. She would even lower her head to receive hugs from kids. We worked on a code word, "camera" where she would stand still and "pose" for a picture. (if you go to youtube and search for Suzie and the camera, you can see her) She is good for me, takes me away for a while when it's just her and I. She is my friend, my horse.

I know all things come to an end, and I know you might be thinking "it's a horse" but to me, she's a part of me. I know she would be loved and I know she would feel that love from the children she would help. She would return that love a million times over to them, as she has done to me so many times. I know it's a good thing to do, to donate her, but do I have the strength to give away such a big part of me? Am I selfish and wrong if I don't? I have my memories of our rides together, our quiet times and our fun times. It's funny, I don't think I've ever had a bad time with her! Maybe now it's time to let others discover this "wonder horse" and be able to feel like the Lone Ranger, or Roy Rogers or even Dale Evens, as the mount this trusty steed and ride off to catch the bad guy or save the town.

But where ever she goes, she will always be my horse, and I love Suzie-Slow-Poke!

Update: Suzie was taken to her new home today. I'm sure she will be happy with all those kids.


Jarre said...

Suzie and Dolly will leave hoof prints in all of our hearts that will last a life time.

Mike said...


I know you know how I feel about animals. They are family to me. Suzie and I got to spend a little time together and I know how much she means to you. She was very kind to me and my "uncowboy like riding" :-)

Its so hard to be unselfish, that is why its so rare to do unselfish things. These are rough times and $$$ like it or not does come into play. I feel bad that you have to make such a choice, but you do have the comfort of knowing that she is sharing that special gift with others and creating memories, like mine of a wonderful horse.

Take care. I need to dry my eyes.

Mike. aka helmet boy.

Lori said...

Oh wow...what a selfless thing to do. I'm not sure I could have done the same, but God bless you for being such a kind man. The money issues are difficult everywhere and I think we're all feeling the sting.