The end

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..

Last day on Earth – having a party.

26 thoughts on “The end

    1. Yes, empty barn apart from the hedgehog I’ve encountered several evenings, who appears to be making ready to hibernate under a pallet of straw, which is a bit inconvenient and in the way. I’ve arranged a box with straw and some cat food in it and a tunnel entrance leading under a pallet, I hope maybe “she” will try it out! So cute…

  1. It’s always such a sad and painful time, but you gave them a wonderful life and you will have many happy memories to treasure for ever. So sorry for your loss.

  2. Oh Pia….this sucks. It’s part of being an animal’s caretaker, but it’s not a nice part. They’ve had long lives, being together, being cared for and loved. And if they’d been in the wild, they would probably have died quite some time ago – so you gave them more time. Not that it helps… *hugs*

    1. One of my vets said that if I had second thoughts I was welcome to call her for a chat and she’d remind me of what you just said. 😉

  3. Æv for en sørgelig, men nødvendig beslutning. Det er fint, at de ikke fik lov til at savne hinanden.
    Jeg tror ikke, dine græsgange forbliver tomme. Har du nogen sinde læst “Huset ved verdens ende?” Det står noget i stil med at heste kan mærke et hesteformet tomrum og kommer til det. (ikke med de ord, men meningen er der).

  4. Thoughts are with you, Pia. Oh, the dread of having to make those final decisions for the critters we love and share our lives with. But pain in old age, long relentless days of pain, when the quality of life diminishes, then we are a doing a noble thing to relieve that discomfort and agony. However, this comes with such heartache and wild thoughts of confusion….haven’t we all been there! Peace to you and your beloved ponies, Pia.

    1. Thank you. I am missing them greatly today!

      Wild thoughts of confusion pretty much sums up the entire process…

  5. We take on awesome responsibilities when we love animals . . . and this is the hardest part of the responsibility by far. The pain you’ve gone through is the price we pay, I guess, for loving them. I am so sorry for what you’re going through . . .

    1. Thank you for the thoughts. I have to admit I have yet to reach the stage they call relief, although the last 6 months or so have been gruelling.

  6. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. It’s so so difficult. Animals in their innocence cannot make those decisions and we are left with the hard part. I am so sorry you had to do that. You write well about the “enduring.” I watched it in our 17 year old dog, and after all was said and done, I wish we’d let him go a few months earlier. I felt guilty and selfish on top of sad once the decision was made for us. I TRULY admire your strength, and I hope someday I can mimic that when it is necessary. Again, so so sorry for your loss.

    1. Thank you. I too have learned from bitter experience, I doubt I’ll ever be comfortable with the decision nevertheless. The “what if”s keep popping up to cloud your judgement.

  7. So sorry to hear about this, Pia. It’s a tough decision to make, especially about two creatures that you have clearly loved. I’m sure they’ll be thinking of you in horse heaven and glad that they have each other to console themselves in missing you.

    1. Thank you. Still not quite back to normal, old habits die hard! “I forgot to feed the horses this morning – oh wait, no I didn’t…” 🙁

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