In fact I don’t even plan to share it to facebook. This is me getting the crazy grief out.
Yesterday I put my beautiful sweet boy down.
I am heartbroken.
He was 20 something years old and I had him for more than 18 of them. Though he was technically an old horse I fully expected to have another 5 or 10 years with him. He was very healthy and robust and very much the best horse I could have wished for. Even in the end, when he knew something really bad was about to happen, he didn’t bite or strike. He just rolled his eye to me asking “Why?”
He stopped wanting to walk around 3 weeks ago. The vets ruled out anything like navicular or founder. Arthritis was their best guess early on, HYPP was explored and there was talk of tumors. All of these things can’t be fixed, though pain management seemed possible. In the end it seems doubtful it was arthritis or Hypp. Both had vague symptom similarities but just didn’t quite fit. Tumor? maybe. Whatever it was it progressed rapidly.
He was on maximum Bute for longer than he should have been but at the end it didn’t touch the pain. His last day he got up twice to only lay back down in minutes. I brought him water and treats which he ate. Hay he ignored. He had a bit of a bloody nose though this could have been a side affect of the bute and just lay sprawled out in the snow groaning softly.
I called the vet and he couldn’t get out for a couple of hours, so I sat with him with his head in my lap and stroked his face, telling him how much I loved him and what a good horse he was while we waited.
Chicory has always been terrified by vets. One whiff of vet stink and he’d bolt. The only thing I can think was when he was a baby he ran into a barbed wire fence and totally tore up his shoulder. This was before me but I imagine it was traumatic enough for him to hang onto.
So when the vet touched him he popped up like a jack in the box. He struggled to stay up but did. In fact he never went down until the very end. He was given more than 5x the normal amount of the drug that was supposed to put him to sleep so the second injection could stop his heart peacefully.
It didn’t work. What should have been a 15 minute procedure took almost 2 hours and in the end we had to give him the heart stopper without him being asleep.
It was so horrible … I have no words.
You’d think that since I have been crying for weeks because I knew this was where we’d wind up that I’d be all done. But no. The pain washes over me randomly. My horse pen is close to the house so it shouldn’t surprise me how much I look out the window to see him. Yet … it does.
Chicory always whinnied loudly when he’d see me first thing in the morning, which alerted the barn cats they’d soon be fed and they’d explode out of the barn in a mad dash. Even on his last day he managed a weak nicker. This morning … no nicker. Oh how I miss it.
He is being cremated and they couldn’t come out until this morning. I tried to set it up so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. I left directions with them the night before and a check in the car.
But at 9am there was a knock at the door. I pondered not answering but what if he was having a problem, so me in my jammies, no bra, crazy hair and my eyes swollen from crying all night I answered. the door. He looked at me sweetly and just wanted to let me know they were taking him.
So there you have it. All my pain out for everyone to see. I’m not sure that I feel any better … at all. But I think it will help at some point.
The photo above is from many winters back and one of my favorites because you can see he was happy and just being goofy. He loved me as much as I him. Even when he got out of the pasture he always came galloping back when I called. Always whinnied and nuzzled and hugged.
I’m one of those touchy feely types who believes animals have souls, so I hope and pray he forgives me for that last betrayal … ending his life before he was ready … and that he is running pain free somewhere in heaven.