News and commentary by Fred Owens in LaConner, a small town in the Skagit Valley. The story behind the name: There was once a grocery store in a quonset hut, run by Mr. Grobschmidt. Clyde, an old drunk who lived out on the river, thought that Mr. Grobschmidt looked like a frog, so he took to calling the store the "Frog Hospital." Now the quonset hut, Mr. Grobschmidt, and Clyde are all gone -- only this blog survives to carry on the Frog Hospital tradition.
BeauDee was a 20-year-old quarter horse gelding. He stood in his corral all day at the old farm where I worked and he was depressed and bored. The trouble is that he never got to out for a ride with his owners -- just standing all day in the corral with nothing to do and hanging his head, thinking about whatever horses think about when they are depressed.
The owners have had BeauDee the whole twenty years of his life. They showed him and rode him and trailered him and the life was very good, but the owners got old, past seventy, and they couldn't ride him anymore and they made fewer trips to the corral to brush him out or just take him for a walk.
I used to feed BeauDee every day and clean up his corral. He liked me well enough, but he didn't care for me to handle him or brush him out or take him for a walk. He just pined for his owners and he just stood there all day with his head hanging down.
I would talk to him, "BeauDee, lighten up. The sun is shining. Life is good. Be a proud all horse. It's not over. Wait and see -- things will get better."
But my words did not heal him. He developed arthritis from lack of movement. It was sad because he was such a beautiful horse.
Then one day last spring the owners came and took him away -- to greener pastures up by Lompoc, to live in a 20-acre field with six other horses, where he could roam around and get some exercise. The owners told me that BeauDee was a lot happier up there and his arthritis went away -- holding his head up high like I told him it would be.
I miss taking care of BeauDee, I used to give him a carrot every morning. Now he's gone to greener pastures.
I moved off the farm myself two months ago and I wonder where my greener pastures will be.