Final Ride

☆ June 14, 2011

houdini's last ride

Houdini died yesterday.

He was Mike’s horse.  These men and their horses…. it’s something to behold.
The relationship is so intimate.

Mike raised Houdini from birth; I can only imagine how many thousands of miles those two traveled together over the course of three decades, breaking trails through true wilderness, through youth and love and birth and death and new wildernesses, new challenges, new loves, more death.

Words don’t solve the pain of loss, but the words I heard myself saying to Mike – words I didn’t know until I heard myself speaking them – were words I knew I would need to remember:

It would be worse if they lived longer than we did.  If they did, we would never know – and never be able to control – how they were treated when we were gone.  That would be harder to bear.


147 Responses to “Final Ride”

  1. Sarah
    June 14th, 2011 @ 7:44 am

    May that gorgeous boy rest in peace. He had a wonderful life!

  2. Melissa
    June 14th, 2011 @ 7:45 am

    Heartbreaking. Give him a hug for us. :(

  3. Carol
    June 14th, 2011 @ 7:46 am

    Ahh. The best of memories to Mike. One last shoulder pat, one whiff of that horsie smell, one last time wandering through sagebrush after a rain. Isn’t that what we all want when our horses leave us?

  4. Janet in Cambridge
    June 14th, 2011 @ 7:51 am

    A horse couldn’t have asked for a finer life or companion on the range. Houdini was the lucky one to fill the place. RIP, sweet beautiful boy.

    Mike, Houdini will always be in your heart and in all your memories. My deepest condolences on your loss.

  5. Joy
    June 14th, 2011 @ 7:51 am

    Though I know neither of these partners, I am saddened that Mike and Houdini have had to part ways in their of ‘the circle of life’.

  6. Steph in Oregon
    June 14th, 2011 @ 7:52 am

    I’m so sorry Mike and Shreve.

  7. Kathleen
    June 14th, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    I have thought those words numerous times, and felt them right to the bone. So sorry for your loss.

  8. regina
    June 14th, 2011 @ 7:55 am

    Beautiful sentiment, and one I will try to remember as well. My condolences to Mike, and to all of you.

  9. Angie
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    I am so sorry, it is hard to lose a friend. Your words are very good and true, I will remember them always. Prayers go with you all.

  10. Micaela Morris
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:01 am

    How lucky Mike was to have Houdini for so long a time. Our horses and dogs are always close to our hearts and I know he won’t forget him. My sympathies are with both of you.

  11. Marianne
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:03 am

    What a wonderful life he had!

    Rest in peace, Houdini.

  12. Mac
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:05 am

    I’m so sorry for Mike’s loss. Losing a working companion is always particularly hard.

    I’ve always felt the same, that I’m grateful I will outlive my companions; it’s the price I pay for the gift of being with them.

  13. Catherine Chandler
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:06 am

    My condolences to you and Mike. What a blessing to have been able to spend so much time together, and have so many adventures!

  14. Elly
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:07 am

    Oh goodness, this is heartbreaking. :(

  15. Amber
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:18 am

    Grief is one of the worst feelings, it’s so… bumpy and rough. My sympathies to you and Mike.

  16. Dogmom
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:28 am

    Oh, gosh, I am so sorry. Those were poignant words, Shreve, and so true. I have been dealing with the same “it’s the biggest tragedy that they don’t live as long as we do…” in relationship to my dear heart Belle, my doggie companion, who is nearing the end of her road with me, and anguishing so much over it, and your words were a true comfort to me. My thoughts go out to Mike in his loss and grief and to you for yours too. Thank you and blessed be.

  17. Suzy
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    wow, this made me cry!
    My Sympathy to you and Mike.

  18. Leisa
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:34 am

    Those are very wise words, Shreve, and I think I shall write them down and tuck them away as I know I will need them someday. Hoping Mike finds comfort in his wonderful memories with Houdini, and thinking of all of you.

  19. Kim
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:36 am

    So very sorry for your loss…… we love them all so very much. May he live forever in your hearts.

  20. Sara
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:38 am

    So sorry for your loss.

  21. Beverly Murphy
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:43 am

    heartbreaking. my thoughts and prayers Shreve to you and Mike at this sad time; the blessing is they had this long and wonderful journey together. peace

  22. girl
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:47 am

    this is what’s so hard with captive parrots and macaws who often do outlive their human companions!

    houdini had the best life. RIP!

  23. Patty
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    There is something after this life, and I believe all we have loved will be there to greet us, two footed or four.

  24. Kamaile
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    Sounds like Mike gave Houdini a wonderful full life….may he find peace in this difficult time.

  25. sybil ann
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:55 am

    So sorry.

    While we suffer the loss it honors their lives.

  26. Louise
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    My deepest condolences on the loss of Houdini. May he rest in peace.

  27. Sandy
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:00 am

    I am so sorry, makes me cry.Your words were very poignant Shreve and I need to remember them. Kirk and I had a close call with one of our horses a couple of weeks ago. Last summer when I lost 2 of my Newfies within 5wks a friend of mine told me—-they did not let go they let be and they are very close, tucked right under your chin in your heart where they will live forever. Again I am so very sorry!

  28. SEMcc
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    My condolences to Mike and to you on the passing of Houdini. I am so sorry for your loss.

  29. MJo
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    Thank you for sharing those wise words.

  30. wright1
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:27 am

    Lovely if sad words, Shreve. My sympathies to Mike.

    @Carol: eloquent and wise. Tolkien said, “Memory is not what the heart desires,”, but far better to have a good memory than nothing…

  31. Janet in NYC
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:28 am

    It’s always heartbreaking to let them go, the animals we grow so near to. Your words helped Mike, I am sure.

  32. katblue
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    Oh gosh, I lost my horse and it is incredibly painful. My condolences to you and Mike. Your words were spot on Shreve, so very very true.

  33. rottrover
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    I’m so sorry for this loss to Mike and to you. Sending strength and wisdom…

  34. Marnie
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:44 am

    If we did not love so deeply, we would not hurt so badly. That is the trade off. It’s painful but I say choose love every time.

  35. Kristan
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    I can’t even imagine… Lots of love to Mike and the whole farmily.

  36. Kalen
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:50 am

    Mike and Shreve ~ thank you for sharing so much of your beautiful lives with us, that we can feel sorrow for the death of a beloved horse we’ve never met. Animals are the purest form of love on this earth and when they die, it leaves such a gaping hole behind. I wish you comfort at this time.

  37. Margi
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:11 am

    I think you’re right, Shreve. It would be harder to bear not knowing how or where they would be after we were gone. My love and condolences to Mike, you, and the rest of the Farmily.

  38. Stephanie
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    My condolences to Mike – so sorry – I have been there, its so hard to loose them, but you’re right it would be worse if they out lived us…

    At least he had a long life and was well taken care of and loved…

  39. Bruce
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    How wonderful that yesterday you shared a rainbow, and now Houdini waits for Mike at the Rainbow Bridge.

  40. Julie
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:16 am

    We will see them again. I just know it.

  41. Laurie G
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    Please give my condolences to Mike. I hope the beautiful photo and your poignant words give him some comfort.

  42. Colleen G
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:35 am

    Your words are so profoundly true and very well spoken. It doesn’t take away the pain, but hopefully Mike takes comfort in knowing he gave that horse the best life possible. Hugs to you & Mike.

  43. Nanci
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:49 am

    The rainbow you posted was perfect. Thats where Houdini is…waiting patiently with all the rest of our loved pets.

  44. Lisa
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:50 am

    And did you get what
    you wanted from this life, even so?
    I did.
    And what did you want?
    To call myself beloved, to feel myself
    beloved on the earth.

    – Raymond Carver

  45. LeFiffre
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:55 am

    I sense the beauty and dignity of their bond, and honor the character of a man who finds kinship in his horse.

  46. bonnie
    June 14th, 2011 @ 11:02 am

    thank you so much for your words.
    my 19 year old cat died a day ago.

  47. Mariana
    June 14th, 2011 @ 11:11 am

    I’m sorry for yours and Mike’s loss. You guys have a lot of thoughts and prayers with you, from all over the world :)

  48. Janine
    June 14th, 2011 @ 11:25 am

    Pure heartbreak. Love your words, they really honored their relationship. So sorry for yours and Mike’s loss.

  49. Joan
    June 14th, 2011 @ 11:30 am

    Perfect words. I wish I had thought of those myself when my horse died 2 years ago.

  50. hello haha narf
    June 14th, 2011 @ 11:31 am

    i’ve obviously never met houdini or mike (or even you!), yet i find myself here in tears at mike’s loss of a friend. such a difficult time. i know such pain and hate that we must endure it, yet knowing their love and companionship for so long somehow makes it worth while.

    and your words are so true. still painful for us, but so true.

    love to you all.

    rest in peace, dear houdini. you will be missed.

  51. Nathalie
    June 14th, 2011 @ 11:59 am

    Losing a cat is so hard for me, I can’t imagine the loss of a horse for the reasons you described. My deepest sympathies for Mike’s loss. Sometimes, in a few cases, animals are harder to lose than people.

  52. ruth
    June 14th, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

    When we out live our animal friends and family it does indeed give us the chance to assure that their passing will be with dignity, no fear, no pain, and we will remember them for the rest of our lives.

  53. Miranda
    June 14th, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    I’ve lost my fur friends (cats) at 15, 18, and 19 years old and have a couple more heading for the rainbow bridge. It’s never easy saying goodbye. Please give my heartfelt sympathies to Mike and tell him my heart hurts for his loss. What he can remember is that he was there full circle for Houdini and cherish the memories of all they gave each other in between. I’m thinking his horse lived a very loved life.

  54. Bethany
    June 14th, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    So so sorry. Rest in piece Houdini.

  55. mlaiuppa
    June 14th, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

    That is so true. Thirty years is a rich life for a horse. And I’m sure Houdini lived a wonderful life.

    Dogs only live about ten years. I’ve often wished that my dog could live as long as I did. But you’re right. If they lived longer life, we could not control what happened to them after we were gone.

    As much as it hurts, I think that we can bear the grief of losing them better than they can bear the grief of losing us.

    Peace to Houdini. He had it in life and has it now.

  56. Sheila
    June 14th, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

    This made me cry. It’s so hard to lose our animal companions. Here is a poem that helped when we lost our dog Murphy:


    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

    Author unknown…

  57. Terrry
    June 14th, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

    I am so sorry.
    Your words were good ones.
    I will try to remember them.
    Thank you.

  58. MJ
    June 14th, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

    I just finished reading the above entry on Rainbow Bridge. It expresses so beautifully what I really believe about our faithful and loving animal companions. I think sometimes it is harder to lose them than losing a human friend. There is something so pure and honest in the relationships we share with animals, that just isn’t duplicated in human relationships. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this sad time. Remember the good times and relive those memories…much better than reliving the last moments.

  59. Snickelfritz
    June 14th, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

    I’m so so sorry for your loss Mike. May Houdini rest in peace, and be galloping in beautiful meadows with lots of mares, waiting for your whistle or calling for him when you get there.

  60. Barbara R
    June 14th, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

    Deeply sorry. Sending healing thoughts to you both as he journeys through this awful grief.

  61. taffy
    June 14th, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

    I know this might not mean much right now…but he was so fortunate!!! i have had three ponies die of old age after having them for their entire lives. They never had to suffer with new owners who did not understand them…and likewise he had a whole loong life with the same person, the one who raised him! That is SO special! He had the BEST any horse could ever dream of, he was as cherished as a child is, safe and cared for by a loyal lifelong companion. No wonder he lived so long! Wish they could all be so lucky. But also because of that, the bond between Mike and Houdini is hard to lose. I think the words to the song “Happy Trails” fits here!…Happy Trails for Houdini and Mike!

  62. Theresa
    June 14th, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

    There is nothing to say that can ease the loss and pain…..may Mike, and you, be comforted knowing that many people care for you (even while we don’t know you personally) and are grieving along side you.

    Do you know what happened to Houdini? Had he been sick?

  63. Lila
    June 14th, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

    I’m very sad to hear that Houdini will no longer be part of Mike’s life. But how wonderful it must have been to have him close by for so many years! What a wonderful companion he must have been.


  64. Teaspoon
    June 14th, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    My condolences. Peace on Houdini’s journey, and on yours and Mike’s, as well.

  65. Pat D.
    June 14th, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    I’m sorry to read about this. My sympathies to you and Mike.

    How is poor Sunshine handling the loss of his brother? I know animals can grieve after a death, too.

  66. Mishka
    June 14th, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    What great words Shreve…it is comforting to read something like that when you are faced with the decision to end the suffering of an animal family member. It is a tough decision to make but knowing that we are doing the right and humane thing makes it easier.

  67. Patr
    June 14th, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    Shreve – those words are so true and touching.

    We a much kinder to our animals than we are to our elderly when it comes to the medical community and care.

    Please know that all of your Farmily are in my thoughts.

  68. CatScott
    June 14th, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

    Deepest sympathies for your loss, Mike & Shreve. They provide us with a love like no other. They share a love that is truly unconditional.

    Shreve, your words were beautiful and I will try to remember them. Thanks you.

  69. Sandy
    June 14th, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

    May the angels ride him now

  70. CeeJay
    June 14th, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

    “If there is a heaven, it’s certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them.”

    (Pam Brown)

  71. BethK
    June 14th, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

    So sorry for Mike’s and your loss.
    When I was 14 we moved to the city and I had to give up my childhood pony. When I was 24, I got to visit him again. We hadn’t seen each other in ten years, but he remembered me. As I walked away, I knew he would probably be gone in another couple of years, and it broke my heart to know he would be alone when he went.

  72. Sarah A
    June 14th, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

    There is not a horse on Earth that wouldn’t wish for the immutable life Houdini led. Loved and loving – what a lucky boy.

  73. Alice
    June 14th, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

    My sympathies to you and Mike on the loss of a friend. Very eloquent words that are so very true.

  74. Jenny C
    June 14th, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss, Mike. I hope the deep joy of memories of Houdini’s incredibly wonderful life sustain you as you deal with the awful pain of grief.

    I so appreciate it that you shared your wise words to Mike, Shreve. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  75. pam
    June 14th, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

    So very sad to hear of Houdini’s death. all choked up. I know what it is like to lose a very loved companion, your very best animal you ever had. I am sure that you gave Houdini the very best life a horse could have lived. You must only remember all the good times w/ him. and the sadness will ease up, but never really go away. & Shreve was correct…YOU decided his life for him with his best interests in mind. No one else had control of how he lived and how he died. We should all be as lucky to have our lives in the hands of a loving human being.

  76. Jenny C
    June 14th, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

    Bonnie (#46) – So sorry for the loss of your 19-yr-old cat.

    These posts are poignant, kind and profound, and I am grateful for the comfort they bring.

    Mike, my heart aches for you tonight; I wish I could take even an hour of your grief for you so you could simply catch your breath. Stunning how relentless grief is, isn’t it? It will get better, but ugh… the immediate agony is just so unbearable. We honor Houdini by grieving his loss, but we look forward to the day when we (you) honor him with those fabulous memories. God bless.

  77. Claire
    June 14th, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

    You said it beautifully. My sympathies to Mike. He has lots of great memories. As time marches on we live and make memories. Hugs to all.

  78. martha
    June 14th, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

    While I did not write this.. everytime I have lost a pet I think of this

    “It came to me that every time I lose a pet they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new pet who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be an animal, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.” aneesasmuse BYC 2008

    I know Houdini was loved. That is all we can do. Love them and keep them safe from those that would do them harm. He is now running with a huge herd of much loved equines. My own girls, Idaho and Misty will be there to welcome him.

  79. JC
    June 14th, 2011 @ 6:59 pm

    something urges me to think that something so beautiful as life cannot end- it’s too powerful- and so I think it goes on undetected to our senses in other dimensions

    nevertheless hearts here hurt feeling temporarily left behind

    sending my comfort thoughts to Mike and you

  80. Pamela
    June 14th, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

    So sad to hear of this loss and deepest condolences to you Shreve and especially Mike.

    So glad all the Farmily got to be a part of his life…he was truly a lucky and loved horse.

  81. TT in MD
    June 14th, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about Houdini – so tough but your words of comfort are so true. You and Mike give your animals such a wonderful life – it is great that they can spend all of their years with ya’ll.

  82. Susan
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

    I was so saddened to hear about Houdini. I shed tears into my morning coffee when I read your post.

    Please pass this along to Mike:

    Houdini hasn’t gone away.
    He rides beside you every day.
    A breeze becomes his gentle neigh,
    to guide you home along your way.

    Bonnie (#46) – Heartfelt condolences on the loss of your cat. 19 years is a good run, and I’m sure she/he knew how loved they were.

  83. Yvonne
    June 14th, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

    poignant words, beautiful sentiment! my condolences.

  84. Kaelie
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

    Rest in peace, Houdini. You were loved very, very much.

  85. Donna D.
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

    So sorry to hear about Houdini.

  86. Stacie
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

    I think the previous rainbow was a sign that there is a more beautiful place waiting for our animals– rainbow bridge!!!

  87. carmel
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

    if it’ll heip … count your blessings and feel lucky that you could spend the time with your beloved Houdini…when I was young,we had a beautiful chestnut color mare…we named her “the mare’ ….when she was seventeen years old, she left…and I never forgot her..

  88. CM Hooper
    June 14th, 2011 @ 9:50 pm

    There’s nothing better than the companionship of a good horse. Wasn’t he fortunate to have Houdini in his life? What great memories. I’m sure the world was a better place when he was astride Houdini.

  89. Liza Lundell
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

    Condolences to Mike and to you on your loss. They never stay long enough.

  90. Amanda
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

    My condolences to you both.

    I heard something in a show I was watching the other day that struck me as totally profound.

    “Pain is the payment we make for all things precious”. When we love something, it is going to hurt when they go. It would be worse to feel nothing, because then we wouldn’t have had the love in the first place.

    I hope it was a peaceful passing.

  91. Danielle
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

    I’m truly sorry to hear of Houdini’s passing. Horses are such wonderful, magnificent creatures, and we who are fortunate enough to have earned their trust are truly blessed. My heart breaks for your loss.

  92. Marlene
    June 14th, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

    I can feel Mike’s pain.. his long time friend will take time..a little part of us goes with them. I iwll remember your words very it is a confort at this time to rememeber though it hurts to be left on earth as they move is better then the other way around. Marlene in Cambria

  93. GD
    June 15th, 2011 @ 4:23 am

    I totally agree with your words to Mike. I think about it for myself. At what point do I not get another pet (which for me is a horrible thought) to insure that I do not leave one behind. I have seen so many pets end up at the pound because a relative does not want to take them in. That would just torture my soul.

    Condolences to Mike. May his pain be softened with the knowledge that he gave Houdini a wonderful life, friendship…and that he died knowing he was loved. Isn’t that what it is all about?

  94. GD
    June 15th, 2011 @ 4:30 am

    Natalie #51. I find animals always harder to lose than people. They love you unconditionally…and no one is happier to see you each day.

  95. Starsider
    June 15th, 2011 @ 6:02 am

    Having lost my own beloved mule earlier this year, my thoughts and condolences are with Mike.

    Equines are an odd mixture of pet, co-worker, dance partner, and extension of our souls, and it is so hard to lose them.

  96. LEISEL
    June 15th, 2011 @ 6:23 am

    Thank you for your words, Shreve – my heart is breaking for Mike. What a great loss – yet, Mike keeps in his heart all that Houdini gave him in his lifetime. The memories last forever. I know this is a very small thing, but Susie’s little parakeet passed away through the night. I am glad that since he became ill, we were able to care for him in the best way possible. It is a great privilege to care for animals . . . to their last breath, and know they were treated well. I wrapped him in rosemary sprigs and buried him under the desert fern. When she wakes, I must tell her. I pray she takes it okay.

  97. moondoggie
    June 15th, 2011 @ 7:33 am

    A very wise woman related this to my after the death of my dad, and I hope you agree with her: ‘the price of a great love is a profound sadness when that person is gone, but I find this to be a fair bargain in the realm of life.’

    Having just lost my favorite dog two weeks ago, I feel your sorrow, and know this will not be a quick or easy thing to let go of. Memories of the best of times always come to comfort me, and Houdini’s will surely come to help you.

    Also, are you aware of Divine Dog Directors? I am sure there are Divine Equine Directors also–ask if you don’t know what they are.

  98. leah
    June 15th, 2011 @ 8:05 am

    This part of life is always the ultimate trial of our love. The voids left behind never quite fill the same way ever again. But, I am sure you and the farmily do fill some of the void. Offer the comforts needed……A hand, hoof, or paw to share and hold. So sorry for your and Mike’s loss.

  99. kay
    June 15th, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    Life hurts so much sometimes, but I believe that the connections we have with loved ones continue on and that the spirits of those we love are interconnected with us always.
    So sorry for Mike’s and your loss. Take care.

  100. Holly Shepherd
    June 15th, 2011 @ 9:04 am

    So terribly sad for Mike..all animals, whether they live in a barn, stable, or your home, are all family…losing a buddy, is losing a family member..My heartfelt condolences to Mike and to you felt for Houdini as well..

  101. I Hermit
    June 15th, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    We all have companions from 0-8 legs. We do not choose the companions, we choose each other. We see through each others eyes and hear through each others ears, and both become a partner. When a partner dies we grieve, same on either side. Thing is they are still with us, we have taught each other so much neither ever looses the connection. My friends will be spirit guides, so will I.

    The companions are always there, mind and heart.

  102. Deanna
    June 15th, 2011 @ 9:38 am

    Shreve, if memory serves me (and it does not always) wasn’t Houdini the one who peed on you? I do remember that he was quite a character! I’m glad he had such great human friends.
    Love and Peace to you and Mike.

  103. Corrie
    June 15th, 2011 @ 9:41 am

    The loss of a beloved horse can be so profound and felt so deeply. They are such a presence in our lives. I wish for Mike and those who love him and Houdini a peaceful healing process as they all adjust to the loss of Houdini’s body. How wonderful that Mike and Houdini had so many years together, and how wonderful that Houdini is free of this mortal coil, free to run and graze in the “happy place.”
    God Bless.

  104. Alexandra
    June 15th, 2011 @ 10:10 am

    Three decades! What a long life he had, and I am sure it was a wonderful one.
    I’m so very sad for Mike’s loss. Houdini must have been like a part of him… I am sending him my condolences from London, England.

  105. Ingrid
    June 15th, 2011 @ 10:20 am

    I am so sorry about the loss of Houdini.
    Love keeps us connected beyond this earth,
    it is eternal.

  106. Kelly
    June 15th, 2011 @ 10:44 am

    I’m so sorry about the loss of Houdini. I completely understand how heartbreaking the loss is to everyone. I had a horse for 32 years named Smokey & they are such a big part of the family. Sending you & Mike lost of prayers

  107. Megan in Calgary
    June 15th, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

    Wow Shreve….the way you put that hit me right in the heart, it actually took my breath away. You absolutely right. What an amazing way to look at losing a pet.

  108. Shaelote
    June 15th, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

    Oh, Mike. I’m so, so sorry.

  109. Rosemary
    June 15th, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

    Tell Mike that I am sorry to learn of his loss. Remind him that he has many many memories of his time with Houdini. My prayers are that another horse will fill the void left by Houdini in due time.

  110. DodgerGirl
    June 15th, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

    There is no greater gift in this world than the loving relationship we create with animals in our care. The loss is so painful but a life without them would be unbearable.

  111. Jackie
    June 15th, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

    He seems to have lead a beautiful horses life…service to someone who honored him, pastures to roam in a beautiful setting. I would love to read about how he came to be named Houdini

  112. ArcticLight
    June 15th, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

    Very sorry for his loss!

    Well put words, I too believe that if we pass first, our animals could end up far worse off.

  113. Kimberly
    June 15th, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

    So sorry to hear of Houdini’s passing. The many years spent together will be beautiful memories for many years to come I’m sure.
    My sincerest condolences to you both. :(

  114. catherine
    June 15th, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    Houdini had such a great life, I am sorry he is gone , you will be talking about him for a long time, he will be alive in your thoughts forever. All of us here will remember him…What a beautiful horse.

  115. Penny in Co
    June 15th, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

    aww Shreve…major condolences to Mike and to you. God that is the biggest thing I cannot bear about animals/companions/friends. When they have to go.
    I’m so sorry for your and his loss. With fondness ans xx’s and ooo’s.

  116. Penny in Co
    June 15th, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

    PS… what a beautiful tribute in that photo.

  117. Janet H.
    June 15th, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

    I’m very sad for Mike’s loss. I know from your posts that he is as concerned for and caring about his farmily as you are of yours. Houdini was well-loved and I’m sure knew that he was. Your words are very true. We have lost several kitties over the years, and each one leaves their own ache in your heart when they go. But how much worse if they were left behind to cope with some less caring person.

  118. Justine
    June 15th, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

    thanks for posting this, and for your words. they are very comforting as I take care of my aging dog.

  119. TomT
    June 16th, 2011 @ 4:19 am

    I’ve never had a horse but lost my border collie of 11 years not long ago and it was extremely tough.

    I can only imagine the sadness Mike must feel after him being so close for so long to his beloved horse.

  120. Cat
    June 16th, 2011 @ 4:55 am

    Truer words were never spoken.

    I worried what would happen to my babies if something happened to me, – so much so that I added it to my will. Instructions and contact information for a rescue organization along with a large enough donation to insure they’d be accepted. Call me eccentric if you want – I sleep better because of it.

    My heart goes out to Mike and you. I’m deeply sorry for your loss.

  121. Eileen
    June 16th, 2011 @ 5:26 am

    So sorry…’s so very hard to lose beloved friends. Only time can help to heal.

  122. Elle
    June 16th, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

    Deepest condolences…

  123. Scotty
    June 17th, 2011 @ 3:02 am

    life is hard, by the yard.
    by the inch, it’s a cinch.

  124. Deborah
    June 17th, 2011 @ 5:05 am

    Rest in peace, Houdini.. And I’m glad Mike has you for support and understanding. Losing our unconditionally-loving companions is the hardest loss to bear. What a magnificent being and your photo really captures the connection between the two.

  125. Cait
    June 17th, 2011 @ 7:49 am

    Hugs to you and Mike…I find that it’s not the first few days or weeks even after the loss that are hardest…it’s the months after, and the moments when you don’t remember they’re gone and think of something you want to do with them, or tell them…and then you remember…

    But Houdini lived up to his name and pulled off one last amazing magic trick with his passing: he summoned love from around the world to encircle you and comfort you…

  126. Coral
    June 17th, 2011 @ 9:13 am

    Oh man, that is awful. I teared up reading your post. I feel for both of you. But I am grateful for the fact that Houdini had caring and responsible life partner.

  127. kale
    June 17th, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

    So sorry to read your post. Always difficult to lose a close companion. May there be smiles amidst the sadness, remembering special moments & knowing there was much love, trust & respect.

  128. Katie
    June 17th, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    Having loved and lost so many, I’ve found horses are the hardest to say goodbye to. Perhaps because they live longer than many other companions or because we trust them with our lives. So sorry for Mike’s loss.

    “We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan.”

    Irving Townsend

  129. Bobbie
    June 17th, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    I’m so sorry for your and Mike’s loss.

  130. Charley
    June 18th, 2011 @ 11:04 am


    Here is the finalk stanza of a poem I wrote about a favorite horse.
    Please share it with Mike.

    Some say that his horse is the cowboy’s best friend
    But as time goes on by that friendship must end
    So it’s good to sit back and remember those mounts
    It isn’t the loss, but the mem’ry that counts.

  131. EvaM
    June 18th, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

    Some time ago, we had a horse that was born and died here. She was my brother’s. I loved her as much, but she was aways his.

    I remember her little baby steps and the thrill of her standing. Her death reminded me of all the people whe were alive at her birth, but weren’t here now. She was 20, and a part of all of our lives; a gorgeous girl whom we all loved. It was a terrible day.

    It’s not just men; and you, of all, know that is not true. These creatures are our hearts: they feel our legs, crotch, hands, love, and our care. To see men care for an animal is to see who they are. Your call.

  132. Janni
    June 19th, 2011 @ 1:59 am

    30 years is longer than most marriages or even friendships last. I’m sorry for your loss… But in the same time I remember how important it was to me to be able to hold my dear dog when he was euthanized, then wrap him into his blanket and carry him to his grave. I couldn’t bear anyone else to do that. It was my duty and mine alone. He was held by a loving person until life left him and his body was respectfully taken care of afterwards. That’s more than most people can expect when their time comes.
    Houdini had a life and death most people aren’t fortunate enough to have.

  133. Sandy
    June 19th, 2011 @ 10:55 am

    Shreve, I have posted condolences above but was wondering if there is any chance you can share the photo by making copies? It is beautiful and would love to have it in our home along with countless other horse pics. The picture says it all. Thanks for even considering this.

  134. Katie
    June 19th, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

    Your words are true.

    My Uncle passed away three nights ago. He was a horseman since he and my dad were just children. Buying abused arabians at ten years old and nursing them back to health back in the 40’s.

    He left behind several horse when he died. I only hope they find a home with a portion of the love he had for them.

  135. JoDi
    June 19th, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

    My deepest condolences on the loss of such a dear companion.

    And you are so right, the pain of losing them is so much more bearable than not knowing for sure they would be loved and cared for if we go first.

  136. Liz
    June 20th, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    You always know just what to say. Please give Mike my best…Houdini’s free and galloping across some sapphire sky somewhere, I can feel it.

  137. Jackie/Montana
    June 20th, 2011 @ 9:30 am

    I can’t hardly see. made me cry. I am so sad.
    You said it perfect Shreve Hugs

  138. Theresa Szpila
    June 20th, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    Oh, Shreve, I’m sitting here in tears. What a profound loss. To share three decades of live, love and memories is a great gift, and is all the more precous when it is lost. My heart breaks for Mike and Housini both. I pray that your and Mike’s memories of Houdini will give you both the strength you need to go on now without him.

    I wish you both peace of heart and mind. Sending hugs and deepest sympathy,


  139. Theresa Szpila
    June 20th, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    Oh, boy, a ton of typos – a sure sign of how upset I am to hear about Houdini’s passing.


  140. Debbie
    June 21st, 2011 @ 7:47 am

    So sorry for your loss. Your sentiment is right on the money!

  141. Holt
    June 21st, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    I lost my horse last August. We were “partners” for 31yrs. Digger was 35yrs. I have so many wonderful memories.

  142. CathyA
    June 22nd, 2011 @ 3:39 am

    30 years.

    When my 20 yr old cat passed on to the beyond, I sat in wonderment contemplating the length of our shared lives. And the changes over time.

    Godspeed Houdini, long may your tail wave.

    My sincere condolences.

  143. Martha
    June 25th, 2011 @ 8:26 am

    Mary Oliver says it best:

    To live in this world
    you must be able
    to do three things:
    to love what is mortal;
    to hold it against your bones knowing
    your own life depends on it;
    and, when the time comes to let it go,
    to let it go.

    I send my condolences to you all…

  144. Carolyne
    June 27th, 2011 @ 1:40 pm


  145. Ann from Montana
    June 29th, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    First, while glad for the long time that Mike and Houdini had together and hopeful that in time the good memories come before the sadness of the loss…I am so sorry for the loss…I can only imagine…

    My 10 year old Karelian Bear Dog, Karl, died on April 18. Heartbreaking to me. I got him as a 7 week old puppy.

    On May 14, I picked up Bear, a 6 1/2 year old Karelian Bear Dog whose person had died suddenly at the young age of 48 – about the same time as Karl. Family and friends tried to keep Bear but no situation worked. I found Bear via Petfinders. Bear was in New Jersey. Now he is with me in Montana. Literally a “match made in heaven”.

    “[…] how they were treated when we were gone. […]”

    As a single person, that has always been a concern. I have provisions in my will and pre-arrangements made for my pets – who will take care of them and some money to help. None of us know…nothing is sure except for the current moment.

  146. Carole
    July 8th, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

    A friend sent me a link to this post and I read it with tears in my eyes. Your words are so perfect.

    We’ve lost a few too many animals over the past couple of years, and each time a little bit more of my heart disappears. We love them, they love us, we become comfortable with each other. They leave us way too soon.

    Sorry for the loss of such a wonderful animal friend. And sorry too for the pain that is still being felt.

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