Thursday, July 17, 2008

You say it best when you say nothing at all!

An elderly horse at the barn where one of my friends boards became suddenly ill and showed severe neurological symptoms the other day. The horse was basically lurching around the stall and repeatedly falling. The vet came out and quickly determined it was time for the old horse to say goodbye. Unfortunately it took several hours to convince the horse's owner of this fact, while the horse struggled and suffered.

But what I want to share is my friend's account of what transpired with the rest of the boarders while this was happening. You know how I keep saying Americans are all psychotically death-phobic? And that is why so many horses go to slaughter - because we are a nation of spineless ninnies who cannot watch while the vet puts a horse to sleep and therefore we (not us, you know what I mean) prefer to simply send it to the auction where it will - lalala, sunshine and butterflies! - find a "good home?" Well, here you go. My friend's comments are in blue.

Here are some of the asinine statements I heard…I kept my mouth shut, but this is how I felt.

"Wait for the blood work to come back before you make any decisions” Okay dumbass…’s 8:30 at night, the lab has already picked up today’s samples. If we’re lucky we MAY get results two days from now.

“She looks tired, maybe she just needs a nap” The horse is in complete neurological failure….she can’t stand….look, I tap her eyes, no reflex…the Vet whacked her hard in the middle of her forehead and she never flinched. She’s not tired….trust me….

“She stretched out funny, I think she’s colicking” She’s stretched out because she can’t stand, if I wasn’t holding her head in her halter with the lead rope stretched over a solid object, she would fall down.

“I think she should go to the horse hospital” Okay, where were you the rocket scientist three hours ago, she can’t stand in her stall, what makes you think she can stand for the hour if there is absolutely no traffic in a trailer to get to the horse hospital?

“I think if you just hand walk her, she’ll get her balance back” Uh okay, does anyone want to volunteer??? I sure as hell want this horse to get better, but I certainly don’t want to pick up a large horse off your sorry ass.

“I think she’s just dehydrated, she must have had heat stroke, I think her halter is on too tight” The vet and I just stared at each other…..speechless…….

“Huh, you can’t save her, do you have to put her to sleep? Won’t she just go on her own?” The vet and I just stared at each other…..speechless…….

“Can’t you give her into the morning to see if she snaps out of it.?” This is where the Vet drew the line in the sand. She said that she needed round the clock care ALL night. Just one person couldn’t do it alone that everyone there would need to be there, the horse was too dangerous to herself and everyone around her. That person quickly disappeared about 9:00 pm.

And the winner……….After the horse had been deceased for about an hour, we were waiting for the “pick up” and someone walked up and asked what was wrong with the horse in the front stall. It wasn’t moving…was it sick? (She had a blanket covering her face, she was lying on the floor half out of her stall half in the breezeway, and there was blood on the ground)

FHOTD in: OMG! It is not a reality show! If another boarder's horse is sick or dying, and you are going to do anything other than merely offer comfort to the grieving owner, JUST GO HOME! The vet is not a meanie for thinking that a completely unresponsive horse that can't stand on its feet should go to the big pasture in the sky.