Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Long Goodbye Begins...

I've been wondering what to write, and how to write it, since Friday morning but I guess there's no easy way.

Joy will be put down at the end of August.

She has put on weight. If that was the only thing wrong with this sweet girl, my job would be done and it would have been easy. But she has so many things going wrong all at once.

She has allergies - to just about EVERYTHING. Orchard grass, apples, every weed known to man (so it seems) name's on the list.

She is has a suppressed immune system. She just can't fight fungus, bacteria, or other infections. She won't be able to fight infections this winter.

She is in pain. While I don't think it's extreme, it is continual. Her front left ankle is fused, with very little movement. Her left right ankle is also fused, hugely swollen, and painful.

She has lost most of her sight. When working with her and around her, I always talk to her so she knows where I am. A moment of silence and she will jump in my lap when I start talking or if I touch her, because she doesn't see me.

At the end of last week, Cathy decided that it was time to let her go. If weight was the only issue, we'd go forward with this, but with everything going on with this mare, the kindest thing is to say goodbye. Until then, I will do everything to make her as comfortable as possible.

I will be with her when she slips free of her pain and crosses the Rainbow Bridge to the lush pastures that God has set aside for these beautiful animals we call Horse.


fuglyhorseoftheday said...

I really wish, as you said, there had been one or two things to fix with this mare. We'd have done it, no problem. But it seems like for every issue we fix, three others appear. She had a hard racing career and obviously years of just sitting in a field with minimal care after that. I think of 20 as a young horse still, but it's not when their life has been this rough. I know she is enjoying her summer with you and all of the pampering you have given her, just as Sunline is doing the same here at my house. Sometimes, that is all we can give them.

ORSunshine said...


I read this last night but didn't have any words. I am sorry for the upcoming loss of Joy. Give her love from me and may she experience all the joys of life in her final weeks.

Karen V said...

orsunshine - I know what you mean. I was dreading writing that post. Even when I re-read it, it sounds dry and flat. I tried writing more, but couldn't see through the tears. They leave a mark on your heart, don't they?

I'm doing everything I can to make Joy comfortable, some days are worse than others. It's like she gets to feeling good and does something as simple as trotting back to the barn, then she's so sore she can hardly move.

She gets a brush-scratching every night and is eating carrot like they're going out of style. Since she's allergic to apples yet LOVES them, I'm saving those for the last day.

It's just heartbreaking...she's fatter, but not better. Some days she looks really miserable. It's not fair to Joy to keep trying other things hoping to "fix" her, when it either doesn't work, or it's just temporary.

She loves baths so when it's hot (like it is today), she'll get a spray down.

Yeah....the words....they don't come out right and don't do a very good job of expressing the feelings. It's crazy how attached you get....

ORSunshine said...

Well, give Joy a banana or two for me. My horse Charlie loves them. And I read somewhere that horses like bananas better than apples.

I watch my aging dog day by day, knowing that her time is creeping up on us now that she's in her winter years. She has had arthritis and food allergies since I adopted her at 18 months. While she's only 6, she is a giant dog and her arthritis is starting to get worse. I try to steal myself that her time will come. It will always come sooner than I'd like. Yet, it's so hard and painful to imagine that I tear up just writing this.

I commend you for being strong enough to stay with Joy through the end. Not many people have the strength of character to see a beloved pet cross the Rainbow Bridge. I believe that every animal deserves to be held and loved during those crucial moments. They need to go with love and know they are loved. I, myself have stayed with more than my fair share of pets. I've stayed with pets of friends, of clients and of an ex. Why? Because the animal deserves the very best I can give, even if their "person" can't or won't.

Thank you, Karen, for just being a wonderful person.

hope4more said...

I am so sorry to hear about Joy. I just got caught up on the blog. I am sure this is terribly difficult for you. It is so hard to come to that decision and you are doing what is best for her. You have given her such a nice summer and done everything you can for her and if she had arms she would give you a big hug :)and Cathy too for all the love you have given her after a hard life. Give her a hug from me and give one to yourself since I am so far away :(