I remember, to this day, sitting in the parking lot thinking about the possible outcomes of this second colic surgery. I was alone sitting on a parking block rocking myself back and forth. It seemed like it was only 20 minutes later the Doctor came out and told me he had finished the surgery and Frog’s chances were about 30-40%. I was ecstatic. Although we weren’t out of the woods, I knew how stubborn Frog could be and I had high hopes. Frog was a miracle. I knew that he could whip this. He had done it before. This turned out to be the hardest test yet. He was kept at the clinic for a while. His blood tests weren’t right, his incision wasn’t healing properly, and his temperature was high- it was always something. It seemed as though just when he would get over one hill, another would appear. Finally, after 3 months of studying, eating, and often times, sleeping at the clinic, he, and I, were released. Frog was so happy to get out of that place. The vet techs and entire staff at the clinic knew him by name. Frog had complete access to the facility and so did I. Every morning he had a routine. The AM staff would turn him out of his stall to wander around the back part of the clinic. Usually I showed up about this time…he would wander as if he owned the joint. They had only a small part to turn him outside, but he loved it. When I took him home, his friend and travel partner, Cash greeted him. His incision was still healing very slowly. The scar tissue from the previous surgery had turned out to be a detriment. Now Frog had to wear a large “garter.” This belt was to help the incision heal while taking some of the pressure of his intestines off the site. Frog was a miracle.
We had begun rodeo practice for the spring season by now. I took Frog along to watch. I couldn’t leave him home, it just didn’t seem right. When riding at home, I would pony him, in hopes to strengthen his abdomen so it could heal faster. The upcoming spring season would be my first rodeo without Frog since starting high school rodeo. The Monday before the first rodeo, he had finally been cleared for me to ride bareback. Frog was a miracle. Of all the times we spent together, this would be the sweetest ride. I only briefly rode around the arena and then allowed him to back himself in the heading box- his favorite place to be. The first spring rodeo came and went with huge success. I won the all-around title and the goat tying average. When I called to check on him, I found out the vet had taken Frog’s stitches out over the weekend. This could only mean one thing, he was healing nicely-finally. Frog was a miracle.
Monday, April 14, 2003 Frog’s fourth and final bout of colic hit. Because of his strong battle with the last bout and simply because of the respect I held for him, I knew another surgery was out of the question. If you have ever had to make this decision for any animal you know that at a point their comfort and quality of life has to be a priority over the amount of heartache you will have to face with them gone. The hardest decision I have ever had to make was that evening. To this day I still feel the pain and the tears like I am right there, again. I see him clearly laying there telling me that it is ok, that I will be o.k. It is like he waited till he knew, and till I knew that I would be ok without him. I could be successful in rodeo without him.
While it is still very hard for me to deal with the fact that he is gone, I was successful in his passing. I qualified to the CNFR in the Goat Tying and ended up 3rd in the all-around in the Big Sky Region. Most of my success I owe to one horse. Frog gave me the confidence I needed clear back in high school…and again in college after my back surgery. Enough to earn a college scholarship and enough to be successful in and out of the arena. Frog was not just a horse..he was a best friend and part of my family. The life lessons that I learned from Frog cannot easily be explained in words. I learned responsibility, I learned determination, and I learned how to love. I know that there will never be another Frog, but I know that the stuff he taught me will be used throughout the rest of my life. Frog was a miracle.