How a Woman and Her Horse Brought Life to a Man’s Last Months

A herd of their own

Courtesy Katrina Andrews

Andrews tried to put Copper with other horses, but he could tell it was distressing for him. He was depressed as a result of that. “It’s easy to tell when you’re a horse person.” Copper’s herd consisted of just himself, Andrews, and her dog. Until Copper crossed paths with Joe, that is.

Although Joe lived on the opposite bank of the river from Andrews, she could see his house from hers. Joe had also been a long-time friend of hers, but he was no longer the same Joe.

He’d developed Atypical Parkinsonism, which manifested itself in stiffening muscles and the inability to move his feet as he desired. Joe was a clog dancer, and an excellent one at that, according to Andrews. He made the decision to take action. “Joe had given me a promise that I would look after him.” she recalls. Andrews stopped by his house on her way to school every morning and again on her way home.

Andrews had a side-by-side buggy car, and she used to drive over to her house with Joe in the passenger seat so he could see Copper. He would poke his head into the buggy to greet Joe with some licks when she drove it straight into the field.

Andrews describes Copper as a 1200-pound horse. “He could easily have hurt Joe. But I didn’t have to be concerned or stand there restraining Copper.” Copper was always gentle with Joe and adored the attention he received from him. Andrews says that if he wasn’t getting enough, he would gently pull on Joe’s arm. “Joe was his human counterpart.Period.” Andrews gave Joe a brush one day so he could groom Copper, a pastime they both enjoyed. Joe, on the other hand, eventually became unable to move the bush.

Broken but beautiful

Andrews watched Joe’s condition deteriorate over time. He, on the other hand, was adamant about not going. I was determined that if I could take care of it, he wouldn’t have to.” Andrews earned his certification as an in-home carer with the help of a friend. Joe was looked after by her till he died. He died at home, as he had requested.

“Copper mourned when Joe died,” Andrews adds. Copper would come out to welcome Andrews every time he drove the buggy home. “Joe, of course, was not present,” Andrews adds.

You won’t be able to. Copper, on the other hand, appears to have grasped the situation now, several months later. The pain is still present, but he and Andrews are back to conducting their usual activities.

Katrina Andrews’ heart is broken, just like her geodes. But most importantly, it is lovely.

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