Today we sent the two brown ponies on their way together. They’ve been special friends nearly half their lives and deserved as much.
After much deliberation, despite all the things I’ve already done for them this summer, I woke up one morning after a consultation with vet #2 and decided there was no longer enough quality of life to go on from an ethical perspective. Every bad day makes me not only anxious but feeling physically ill, knowing they are in pain, issues just kept stacking up, all fixes temporary or useless. So there’s a good day and I have hope, after that 5 bad ones, tired eyes, hesitant steps, an injured farrier thrown into the mix (literally). No grass, just boring, dusty, low calorie hay. No happiness, just endurance.
This is not a hasty decision, I’ve been aware of the possible end for a while which is the usual pattern for me. Sometimes it’s only a subconscious notion, at other times I’ve held on just a little too long perhaps for sentimental reasons. Because I loathe being the judge of life and death. With cats and dogs you can buy them a bit of extra time with daily painkillers, but we don’t do that with horses. And the point is, once I KNOW and acknowledge, there is no logical reason – horses don’t speculate whether they reach their 25th birthday or only make it to 24.8.
We could have kept going for a teeny little while certainly. More x-rays and bloodsamples, iron shoes and more expensive medication, none of which we believed would help. And certainly wouldn’t give them years. I could also have ended up injured trimming those hind hooves myself again, or found one or the other outside one day unable to get up. Of course that would leave no doubt, but I would feel guilty as hell. (you’ll never catch me putting wheels on a crippled goat or making my cat go through chemotherapy treatments either)
Very sad, very odd, very empty feeling now. I guess I’ll even have to shorten my subtitle..