Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Getting Ready to Say Goodbye



Darby is going to go over the Rainbow Bridge on Tuesday.

It sounds abrupt. In a way, it is abrupt. She has been doing so well this winter, so much better than I had anticipated. I thought she might pull through the whole thing. I marveled at how well she was getting around.



Really tragically, something happened while I was on vacation that tilted the scale in the opposite direction. Future Hubs was here with the horses while I was away in California for a few days - I had set out enough hay to last the horses through the entirety of the vacation, but he was under instruction to keep an eye on everyone and to fill water troughs. He is not a horse person and hardly knows anything about them, but he does recognize when things are wrong and can identify what to do. And I will preface this story with the fact that I am in no way angry or upset with him for what happened. It really was an accident and I am not mad. 
On Saturday the hoses outside froze in the morning, so he couldn't fill troughs. The horses had water but the water did need filling, so he fretted about it all day long and when he arrived home after work (in the dark, at night), he went to fill them right away. He noticed one of the horses (which actually was Darby) was lying down and not getting up. He fretted some more, then decided to go into their pasture to check on her. He promptly wiped out about 10 times in the mud near the gate, but Darby did get up and was fine. When he left, he didn't full latch the gate. It really was a truthful accident.

Well, naturally all of the horses got out overnight. I don't know how he didn't hear Dylan trumpeting and freaking out all night (because surely he was), but the amount of poo and damage to our yard was proof that they were out there for quite a long time, probably all night. Our front gate is closed and locked at night, so nobody got off the property or anything, but they did gorge themselves on our fresh green lawn grass all night long. Poor Future Hubs came outside at 5am to find the mares all over the place. He managed to get all of them back into their field by some miracle - he chased the mules in, and led everybody else with a rope around their necks, including the baby... good baby! - and then went off to work.

I got home from California at 2am and gave everyone more hay, then inspected the damage. The yard is largely destroyed, poo everywhere, Dylan is covered in bite marks on his neck from where he probably was enticing the mares over the fence and getting strongly rebuked, Zuul's panels were all askew, Darby's blanket was completely off and stomped into the mud. And Darby was absolutely crippled.


A whole night of fresh green grass after living in what is essentially a total drylot for a chronic founder case is not a good thing. In fact, it's the worst thing.



I really am not mad at Future Hubs. It was really and truly an accident and could have happened to anyone. All he was trying to do was check on the horses because he was worried about them, and he made a mistake which totally backfired. How can I be angry at him for that?




So, I decided this was it. I had already said I wasn't going to go through heroics to try and salvage this poor old creature who has already suffered so much throughout her whole life if anything else happened to her. Especially with her, I don't want her to suffer unduly. I don't want to make her go through anything else, because she's already had more than a lifetime's worth of suffering and she didn't deserve any of it. What she does deserve it to be let go with her dignity. 

Everyone deals with these things differently. Everyone approaches these situations differently. Somebody else might do a whole bunch of heroics to try and get her through this and give her more time. Others wouldn't have even given her the time that I did. I don't think either of them are wrong, and I don't think I am wrong either. I promised her when I brought her home that I wasn't going to put her through anything more. And I stand by that promise today.



On Tuesday, she'll be put in the yard to eat as much grass as she likes. She'll get cookies, and snacks, and any food she wants. She'll be brushed and scratched, the way she likes. And then she'll be put to rest here at our farm, and then taken to be buried next to Gogo. Because after a lifetime of suffering, and pain, and starvation, and hardships, she deserves it. She deserves every bit of it. 


The hardest part for me was finally making the decision. So many times over the past eight months that she has been mine, I have fretted and worried and tried to decide if it was time. Over and over, it seemed like it might be time soon, but it wasn't. I feel strongly now that this really is it, and in that I have peace.




I dearly love my old mare. She just called to me from the moment I first laid eyes on her, and she worked her way right into my heart. To have suffered so much, and still be so kind and gentle and easy and sweet - it just says so much about her. Everyone always wants to know, why did I bring home a crippled old creature? Why did I want to spend time and money on this useless old nag? I can't tell you why I did it logically, because there is no logic in it. I did it because she called to me, and I knew in my heart I could not let this old horse starve and die alone and forgotten. I did it because I wanted her to know, at least for a little while, what it felt like to be loved. And I would do it all over again.





26 comments:

  1. Oh sweet Darby <3

    You are such a wonderful person Andrea.

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  2. Huge hugs Andrea. Give Darby a kiss for me. You are an exceptional horsewoman and human being and I wish there were more like you in the world. <3

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  3. Well, dang... So sorry this had to happen to poor old Darby. Hugs to Darby, to you and your poor Future Hubs, who must be feeling like the absolute worst human on the face of the planet.

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  4. Hugs to all three of you. It wasn't his fault.

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  5. These things aren't anybody's fault and you both gave Darby some amazing time being loved and pampered and comfortable.

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  6. Give her a carrot for me. Big hugs to you.

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  7. Everyone makes the decision knowing the situation better. I wouldn't dream of second guessing you. thank you for taking her in and loving her and giving her a kind death. it is the least we can do for these creatures.

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  8. Sending so many hugs ♥ Thank you for loving her as you have! It takes real love and selflessness to make these decisions.

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  9. Bless you for taking her in and giving her the love and care she deserved. May she rest in peace <3

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    1. My response to a tee as well. Hugs to you & Darby.

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  10. Reading at this work was a poor choice. Now I'm sniffling and pretending that I'm not all teary-eyed.It sounds like you were as lucky as she was when you found each other.

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  11. Hugs. Always such a hard decision to make. She looks amazing and I know she's been so loved with you. :)

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  12. Keeping you and yours in my thoughts today.

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  13. I think it's everyone's worst nightmare to be the one that forgets to latch a gate, or makes a simple mistake like this. We're all capable of doing the same thing and it's very gracious of you to say as much about future hubs. I think what you've done for Darby is really admirable and for anyone that has been reading your blog for long enough knows, ANY horse in your care thrives and blossoms. Darby represents so many horses that fall by the wayside and truly deserves a soft landing, if only for a short time. Thank you for giving her that and an honorable and peaceful way out of this tough world.

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    1. This is what I was going to say, but better put than I could have done. You have done amazing things for her.

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  14. Thinking of you all this morning, and so glad Darby got so many months of food and love :)

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  15. Big hugs, Andrea. You are making the right decision, and Darby has had a fabulous time with you.

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  16. A lucky mare to have found you at the end of her life. At least she knew love and compassion in the end, even though her life was not easy before you came along.

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  17. Poor old girl. She's lucky to have you.

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  18. very sorry :( you've given Darby the best possible gift tho - may she rest in peace

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  19. I made the same promise to Estes with her colic; I understand how hard it is, but I know you're doing right by her.

    I'm sorry for your loss and she was very lucky to have you.

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  20. This totally sucks. But I'm so glad she had you. And I really hope future hubs gives himself some grace soon. Lots of grace and forgiveness. I feel bad for Darby but I feel really bad for FH.

    Thanks for all you do Andrea. Darby was so incredibly luck to have you.

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  21. So sorry to read this, and I hope you and Future Hubs especially are doing okay, of course it was a mistake and an easy one to make in all the chaos. Huge hugs to you both.

    Darby was so lucky and you have done for her what I'd love to do for an old, forgotten rescue horse, giving her the love and home she deserved yet missed out on for so long. She had a good ending and died with dignity, surrounded by her family and in bloody incredible condition given her age and ailments.

    Despite the situation abruptly forcing your hand, you were at least able to spend a last few days with her, and I feel this is still better than her gradually fading away with no clear indication of when to call it a day. I can't imagine a better final day for a horse than that which you gave Darby. xxx

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  22. I'm so sorry. That had to be so hard to go through. I hope future hubs isn't beating himself up for a simple accident. I would never blame him and I'm glad you don't either. I was insulted and called every name in the book when my horses got into some feed that I didn't even know was in the pen where I let them graze and that was so uncalled for when I was terrified my mistake was going to result in me losing my horse, so I really appreciate you being smart and mature about it for his sake. Hugs to you both. Thank you for giving her a great ending to her life. You did right by her.

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