Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Saying Goodbye

I haven't posted in a while. Last Friday I took my old mare, Maggie to the vet to be euthanized. She was eight days older than Christ, blind in one eye, limited sight in the other due to untreated Uveitis, she had a knee the size of Texas, and sometimes had trouble getting up due to her arthritis. Maggie also had bald areas on her face from her eyes watering so much. With our recent bout of subzero temps, she was suffering from frostbite.

I knew Maggie over 18 years ago. I worked for a local trail riding facility and she was one of my favorite horses to guide on. I wanted to buy her but she was too expensive at the time. I had to chose something else. I ended up guiding on her for a couple of years, always trying to hide her in the back row of dude horses, hoping she'd get overlooked so I could use her. She was a fun, fast little mare. We had some good times.

Fast forward to this past October. I have friends who run a local horse rescue. They pick up horses from local auctions and feedlots, take them home, rehab them and adopt them out. As I was surfing their site, I immediately recognized Maggie. There she was, a few hundred pounds underweight and displaying all of the ailments listed above.... right there on the website. I immediately called and arranged to bring her home.

Turns out they had bought her from an auction for $20. I picked her up the day after my birthday and started the rehab process. She gained weight quickly and soon looked like a horse again. She had open sores on her face from a poorly fitting halter, and those, along with the scabs from the eye drainage started to disappear. Her coat shined again and she seemed happy. Aside from her actual blind eye, which had turned white, she didn't look like an extra for the movie Pet Cemetery anymore. I had noticed she was arthritic and sometimes had difficulty getting up. She'd struggle, fall, struggle again, then hoist herself up with a grunt. Her knee continued to gradually increase in size and although it seemed not to cause her any discomfort, I had put her on joint supplements and MSM just in case. She also appeared to begin to lose sight in her good eye. It was hard to tell just how much she could see, but once in a while she'd plow right into the side of the barn or into the fence post. She would also tend to get spooky while in a stall. I'm assuming since it was darker, it probably had something to do with seeing shadows.

So I made the decision to have her humanely euthanized. It would take place in a nice warm facility, with Scotty's vet. I would not be there for the actual euthanasia. I couldn't bear to see it, but I knew she was in good hands. It was better alternative than finding her in the pasture unable to get up. I could just imagine how frightening that would have been for her. I trailered Scotty with her so he could help take my mind off of it. He needed to get weighed in anyway. I also didn't want to drag an empty trailer home. That would have been difficult for me.

The picture posted above was taken at the clinic as we said our goodbyes. I will miss her

On a positive note, Scotty weighed in at 937lbs. A whopping 134 lbs since Dec 9!


TBDancer said...

You have done the most compassionate thing an animal owner and lover can do, provide a warm, safe and humane passage across The Bridge. I believe that because our animals don't stay with us for very long, we show what goodness is in our hearts by letting them go.

Speaking as one who has said goodbye to more animals than I care to count, I know how difficult this last step is. But you did the right thing.

Hugs to you. May the pain of her passing be replaced by warm memories of the good times you shared.

Annie said...

Thank you so much for the kind words. It was a tough decision, as she may have been just fine for a while longer. It is not a good feeling, playing God and deciding when the right time is.

TBDancer said...

I don't think deciding to send a beloved pet on its way is playing God. I am not a religious person in the strictest sense of the word--I do not attend church regularly or anything--but I am very devout. I am convinced that when we are faced with the decision to euthanize our pets, it is a test. God is testing us to see how compassionate we are. We do the selfless thing--what is best for our animals--even though it breaks our hearts.

I also believe that we will see our pets again. They are waiting for us across the Bridge.

If I didn't believe that, I could not handle the broken heart.

We simply do the best we can.

mrscravitz said...

I am so sorry!!! My heart just crys whenever there is a sad story, But... I know you did the right thing. The right thing is not always the easiest! I am so glad that you found her and her last while on earth was good.