Goodbye Isn't Easy, but It's Part of Life

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Kari, Bayside 4H Club
Kari, Bayside 4H Club

When showing a market animal, goodbye is inevitable. Recently I have seen a lot of those precious and difficult goodbye moments, that have been circulating around social media. My heart goes out to each and everyone one of those kids but don’t cry. As a stock show kid you make an animal's life the best it can be. You provide and care for them and it teaches you just how valuable life really is.

Colton Reeve, Concord FFA
Colton Reeve, Concord FFA

It is so hard to go out and spend your money on an animal that you know you won't get to keep for the rest of your life. It's even more difficult to raise an animal that is only going to get to be with you for about a year or so. Market animals are the difficult to raise, due to the fact we all know what happens to them at the end of show season. Don't let this discourage you from choosing that steer though.

Cass County Fair, Michigan
Cass County Fair, Michigan
Alexis Lewis, Tecumseh FFA
Alexis Lewis, Tecumseh FFA
Autumn Inglis, Santa Clara Valley Grange
Autumn Inglis, Santa Clara Valley Grange

As a market animal they have one purpose in life. That purpose is to provide food for people around the world. Instead of that market animal living its life out with a ton of other cows stuck in a corral all day, you gave that animal the opportunity to be a show animal. It got to travel, see amazing places, get tons of love and affection, and get the best treatment possible.

You gave that show animal the best life it could have had. Your animal got the best feed, best hay, and was never lonely. You were there, and whether you knew it or not, you made that animals time on Earth the greatest. It is a privilege for any stock show kid to show a market animal. Yeah at the end they have to go, but you have to look at it like this, it was an honor for you to take that animal in and help it have a better life than it could have had.

Sierra Osborne
Sierra Osborne
Caiden Mitchell, Purple Circle 4H Club
Caiden Mitchell, Purple Circle 4H Club

Life is short, and precious. When you show or deal with any animal you will learn that. For most animals you spend a short amount of your life with them, but they spend all of their lives with you. They look at you as a friend, cook, and caretaker. They teach you how to be selfless, and strong. Kids that show market animals are the strongest of them all.

Lindsey, Tri County 4H Club
Lindsey, Tri County 4H Club

It's hard to tie that steer up to a fence and say goodbye, or to load that barrow in the trailer  for the last time. Tears, hugs, and pictures will happen. Your emotions will get the best of you as you say goodbye to an animal you raised for a year, but just remember that

Allie Camberos, Crane Ridge 4H
Allie Camberos, Crane Ridge 4H

you changed that animal's life. That was a privilege for you and a gift to that market animal.

I know exactly all of those emotions you are going through. I grew up showing steers and it was the hardest thing in the world. I enjoyed all of those moments spent working with those steers and dreaded walking them to the tie out area and telling them goodbye. Life isn't easy or fair. Showing a market animal helped you learn that lesson at an early age.

Courtney, Sulley Country Pride 4H
Courtney, Sulley Country Pride 4H
Lindsay Gaetz
Lindsay Gaetz

It's not only hard to say goodbye to show animals, but also all of the barn animals. A good horse is hard to lose. They are great friends and helped us all feel free on the back of them. A good animal is something that we all hate to lose, and it happens on farms and ranches everywhere. You can't control every aspect of life.

Matthew Hamilton, Country Pride 4H
Matthew Hamilton, Country Pride 4H

Life is short and precious. Things will happen that we can't control. Death isn't something fun and it never will be. You can spend all of your time focusing on life ending or you can spend your time living life to the fullest.

Michael Baden
Michael Baden

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Thank you to all that submitted pictures.