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Showing posts with label aging animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aging animals. Show all posts

Monday, October 4, 2010

To Everything There Is A Season

...and this has been a season of goodbyes.  I resisted writing this post, but I knew I couldn't write about anything else until I got this out.  

You all know how much I love Maggie Mae, and how much concern I have over her age-related issues.  (Newbies:  She's a 30+ yr old thoroughbred.)  Lately, I've worried about her eye sight.   Her cataracts are growing and I don't know how she will react to near blindness.  Friends have assured me that I have things in place to help her feel secure even without the sense of sight.  I hope so.  I've battled her weight issue... it's been hard keep her at a healthy weight.  She can't chew well, so I make her a mash.  I finally started mixing my own recipe that seemed to get over a hurdle with her metabolism.  She has finally started to regain muscle mass.  Even though her physical condition is better than it was a year ago , I still planned in my mind the things I would do when it was 'her time'.

I vowed to never again part with Maggie Mae.  She will be here until the end.  That means that I needed a plan in place to take care of the inevitable.  I already had someone volunteer to dig the hole and help take care of the burial.  I'm not gloomy... just practical.  I had no idea that I would make that call so soon.  I was especially taken aback by the fact that it wasn't Maggie...

September 11.  That date has significance to most of us.  Now it has more to me... 

Everything was fine that day.  We were in a drought, so the horses were really enjoying all the daily pasture time.  I called them in for 'brunch' (my horses are on 2nd shift) and the three of them eagerly came.  Buddy and Nekoda ate in the stalls, while Maggie stood in the aisle for her mash.  Maggie is slow to finish her meal.  I was busy inside the house when Mr J asked me if I wanted him to let the horses out...

Returning, Mr J said, "You need to look at Buddy.  He's really sick."  

I don't want to rehash all the details here... the wound is still too fresh.  I will share that we had two vets come out and misdiagnose him.  When I finally took him to an equine hospital on Tuesday afternoon, it was too late.  They tried their best, but it was one of the worst cases of choke he'd ever seen.  He told me to take Buddy home and pray.  The doctor assured me he wasn't in any pain, but by the next day he would start to suffer.  If I didn't get a miracle that night, Buddy had an 'appointment' the next noon.

That evening I watched the sunset from Buddy's favorite pasture.  I sat in the grass beside him and prayed for a miracle that didn't come.  We buried him at noon on Wednesday.  

Rest in peace, Buddy, dear friend.

No matter how much
our hearts were broken,
no one grieved as much as Nekoda.
She looked for him for days.

To be continued...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Day on the Farm

I've posted lots of egg pictures recently, but I couldn't resist posting a couple more...

Remember the really HUGE egg?  Well, here is its opposite:

I've seen eggs smaller than this in a robin's nest, but from a chicken?  I'll have to take a picture of it frying to show you later...

Maggie has been doing something strange lately, so I called the vet and arranged a farm call.  Yes, some doctors do still make house calls! 

This is Dr. Brett, Mr J and one very dirty Maggie Mae.  Luckily Dr. Brett had good news for me.  She has a skin fungus (a very simple remedy) and she has old-timer's...   Yes, she's just old and having a few problems that just come with the age.  (eightyish in people years)

Maggie has lost a few teeth, and it is more difficult for her to chew her food.  The strange habit she has developed is just a symptom of her food not being chewed well enough, and getting stuck in her throat.  It is time to make a major change to her diet.  She'll no longer be tossed flakes of hay while corralled with the other horses.  I'll chop grass hay for her.  She will also get soaked alfalfa cubes and more senior feed, perhaps in a mash.  Plus it's time to up the calories to add fat for winter.

Horses, just like people, have different nutritional needs as they age.  It's a bit more work, but it means better health, and perhaps a longer life.  Maggie is definitely worth it!