I love hearing reader stories. It amazes me how alike we all are, especially when it comes to love for our horses. One particular story touched me deeply, and I want to share it.
In late September, we received a note from Erin, a reader, who said, ?My 38-year-old Appaloosa gelding, Flurry, is hardly eating. I feed him a mash twice a day, and He's eating a quarter of the meal. This has been going on for several days.?
She said nothing had changed in his routine, but he was reluctant to move and slow coming up from the field. She noticed her other horse started waiting for Flurry before going out to the pasture.
?I'm worried it might be time,? she said. ?But, he can't go long on such a reduced diet. What can I do'?
Although it did sound like Flurry was close to crossing the Rainbow Bridge, I told her I'd consult one of our veterinarians, Dr. Deb Eldredge. A few weeks later, Erin said Flurry was doing better and thanked us for our help.
I don't know what it is, but sometimes a human or animal closing in on the end seems to get a momentary second breath of life before leaving us. Apparently, that was the case for Flurry. In November, Erin sent this note:
?Sweet Flurry passed away yesterday at the ripe ancient age of 38. A week ago, he let me know that he was ready to go. It would have been easy to put off this decision until he lost all his spark and was in such bad shape that I wouldn?t have any choice but to put him down. He trusted me, though, and I wanted to respect that.
?He was always a dignified horse, an ?old-school? gentleman. However, behind that placid, even hang-dog, expression beat the heart of an imp. He wasn?t above an occasional escape, even when I was nearby. He knew exactly where his treats were (Tums on the left, prunes on the right) and was quick to point his head at whichever he felt like having. Back when I was riding him, we'd take short plinks around the field, but he?d become a charging steed when going back to the barn. I was terrified he would have a heart attack, but there was no stopping him. Soon I stopped worrying about him and just worried about staying on, thinking how incredibly embarrassing it would be to come off a horse over 30 years old.
?On the day he died, I walked down to the barn to spend more time with him, and I found him standing just the other side of the fence from the grave hole. I fed him copious amounts of treats. When they were gone, he continued to stand there, so I sat on the ground, and we waited together until the vet came half an hour later. That was one of the most poignant moments I've ever experienced. Flurry was sweet, kind and had a great sense of humor. He made me laugh for 10 years. I will miss him terribly.?
So will we, Erin.