Tuesday, September 4, 2007

When do you give up?

Eating with a friend.

I had been hopeful that when I said Good bye to Dex, it would be temporary, until I saw him for his next trim. His owner came to see him yesterday. The pain medicine he’d been on, bute, had been what was keeping him going and understandably she didn’t want to see him live out his life this way, nor did I.

What appeared to me to be an abscess that had broken out at his heel was becoming infected and there is a chance it could be the beginning of hoof slough. He seemed happy enough in his soft dirt field and we’d gotten the loafing cleaned and cushioned for him, but I was expecting too much from him. A lifetime of chronic laminitis cannot be cured in weeks, or months and maybe not at all. From the day he was born as a halter show horse, Dexter’s life was a recipe for founder. Like many horses before and after him, they don't see the results of what they're doing to pump up these babies into the Amazon yearlings to win the ribbons.

I called a company that hauls carcasses to the rendering plant. He also euthanizes animals in the most humane way possible, in my opinion. A single bullet.

Last night Dexter got to see a beautiful lightening storm and he felt his last warm summer shower. I fed him a dinner of sweet feed, oats and alfalfa. This morning his breakfast was the same, and he’s been grazing for hours. Sweet feed, oats and carrots for lunch. Now we are just waiting for the man to arrive to take his life and take away his body.

Because he is later than expected, I’ve had to reschedule a couple trimming appointments I had today to wait with Dexter. This isn't a fun way to spend the day before a trip to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, to spend the weekend at the Parelli Conference. I should be really excited about that, and I am, but I’m also very sad. I wish I could have done more for Dex. But in the words of a man who has seen lots of death, “if you are going to have animals, you are eventually going to have dead animals, and that’s just how it goes.”

Good bye Buddy. It was sure wonderful getting to know you. You’re an amazing horse.
Taking a load off.
New place to get out of the weather.
Grazing on his last day.
Go and be happy in horse heaven.

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