TWO: A re-post of the SUPPLEMENTARY (again Dtd 02MAR2016), to the original, which I should have brought-across a while ago.
Happier times . . . [Sigh ].
My bedroom is almost directly above my horse Rubin’s stable. Other than the very few occasions (actually, only one two-week holiday, and two Regimental dinners ), last night was the first night in fourteen years, that throughout the night, I have not enjoyed hearing the comforting, reassuring, noise of him tearing at his hay-net, and shuffling about in his stable . . . . before in the morning kicking at the door below my window - wanting attention - regardless of daybreak, or such technicalities as alarm clocks (I think he took his cue from what road traffic he was aware of ).
At 13.2 hands he was really only a “pony” (though he never understood what that meant! ), Rubin was a handsome stallion, big of heart and a full of character.
Yesterday teatime, the vet had to put-down Rubin.
How we got to this situation, I am not certain. Since Christmas, two visits from a vet have been met with platitudes and irresponsible re-assurances. Three weeks ago I was so concerned by Rubin not eating, his serious loss of weight, and production of only “cow pats”, that I insisted a senior vet take possession of the problem.
Blood tests confirmed that his intestine/bowels were not correctly digesting what little we had been able to tempt him with . . . . probably caused by the over administration of a wormer - by the vet - just before Christmas !!
The blood tests, also showed liver failure, although we do not know why. The vet was insistent that the indicators did not indicate ragwort to be responsible.
There has been no answer to his loss of appetite.
Rather than shaking the medication powder/granules over Rubin’s food . . . which he was not eating . . . this has meant having to mix drugs with the herbal “Restore” liquid, and squirt it into his mouth with a syringe.
To counter that he was actually living off his own body mass, he has been on steroids to help build-up his body, with a consequent increase in appetite - except we could not find anything he would eat!
The vet left us a sample of “Meadow Mix”, and also “Alf Alfa - A”, both the samples of which Rubin ate. I immediately bought two sacks of each. They were ignored, as had been his ordinary horse huts, and haylage - a small bale (20kg) of which would once have been devoured over night. He even began refusing carrots, apples, and Hovis whole meal bread - sales of which had peaked since Christmas! In desperation I was buying Tesco “Specialty” bread, and Sugar Puffs. He wanted neither.
Last week I thought “Nursery food” is usually helpful for the sick, and bought a sack of “Stud Mix” - used for mares and their offspring - and which Rubin had enjoyed as a yearling, when we had found him living in some woods and eating the neighbouring farmer’s profits. As with all the “propriety” bought-in feed, he ignored the “Stud Mix” !!
On a similar theme, I decided to take him to the near-bye playing field were we had taken him as a yearling, to graze for at least a couple of hours every day . . . before we were able to organise our own “paddock” and fencing.
Walking him - by necessity slowly - round to the playing field, was a revelation. Grass !! The one bloody obvious thing I and no-one else had thought of, or suggested! For the last week, I have been deluding myself that I could see an improvement - although nothing could disguise the Friesian cow-like hipbones or backbone. The best description of Rubin’s tragic loss of weight, is that if Rubin had been anyone else’s horse, I would have been reporting them to the RSPCA.
This last week he has also had an equine “pro-biotics” mixed into a solution with the “Restore” liquid, which yesterday did result in something resembling what a horse should produce.
Unfortunately, there is/was nothing specifically to help with the failing liver. The herbal “Restore” had been more in hope than expectation. With toxins not been removed by the liver, I had been warned to expect the toxins would effect his brain, with physical and psychological effects.
On leap year’s Monday 29th, he was increasingly uncertain on his feet and stumbling. He found himself making a half-hearted attempt at aggression, though it was obvious, he did not really want to be - or have the energy. With a deep, deep, sense of foreboding and realisation, I asked the vet to call as soon as possible. He came yesterday teatime, by which time even grass no longer held the attraction it had. Rubin managed - but, only just - to stay upright on four legs. His eyes had dulled.
Whilst waiting for the vet, Rubin and I had been sharing a tube of Extra-Strong mints. I asked the vet’s assistant to ensure Rubin had some mints in his mouth when the trigger was pulled.
I confess, I did not want to - or have the courage - to see Rubin drop to the ground.
I know it is often ridiculed to anthropomorphise our four legged companions, but it is difficult not to, when you are able to know what they want; and, when they similarly seem to anticipate your thought and actions.
More so than with a dog, it is even more difficult not to indulge in anthropomorphism with a horse . . . . when you realise that their eyes are at the same height as ours, and they can stare you directly in the face !!
Rubin has been as honest, strong willed, wanting to please and affectionate as anyone could hope for with an actual son. The responsibility of looking after Rubin, the love we gave him and received in return, confirmed that he was “family”.
My wife had taught Rubin a “trick” of realising when asked for a “kiss” he would push his muzzle into your face, to be rewarded with praise . . . and, usually a carrot or apple. Rubin had extrapolated this “give me” gesture, to also include “thank you” . . . I have had a number of “kisses” after I have put-up his hay-net !!
It has been heart-breakingly obvious over these last few weeks, that a “kiss” has also been offered as a request for “help“ . . . . and I have been negligently and unforgivably unable to respond.
Of no particular help to anyone here, I will save these for “friends and family” on fb.
Never ask a bloke how/if he prioritises those who receive his affections !!
Happier times . . . [Sigh ].