Old Age is Not for the Faint Hearted

It all started with the most innocent of texts…

My son and I were trying to squeeze in a barn visit, before he leaves on a business trip. Every time he goes away, there’s that heightened apprehension that disaster will befall me like it did so many years ago, when I came to the barn in the morning to find my beloved gelding cast in his stall and unable to rise. When the vet, and the many helping hands arrived, I found myself faced with news that no owner wants to hear - my gelding had broken his hip - and there was no saving him.

Even though I told myself that being a veterinary assistant in my former life, would prepare me for this moment, nothing prepares you for the time it happens to you

I had attended many euthanasias, and I always felt so powerless. Either to fix the situation for the owner or the patient. I loved my own animals fiercely, and knew in theory what the clients were gong through. The horses were always the hardest, because even though in some cases we couldn’t put them down fast enough to ease their suffering, I always felt sadness at the passing of this majestic animal from the earth. Death brings an indignity to these animals that can’t be helped, due to their size, that, I think compounds the sadness of it all.

After a day that included any euthanasia, dog, cat, horse, or any beloved pet, I would be sure to hug my horses and my cat extra tight and revel in the joy that that they so naturally gave to me.

Which brings me to today, a beautiful sunny summer day, that you would imagine would be filled with the ease of summer. Picnics, swimming and enjoying the beauty that only belongs to July in New England. Instead I got this innocent text from my son, in between firming up a date for the barn, a casual mention that my horse had trouble rising in the paddock. He explained that the staff had no trouble getting him up and he seems otherwise fine. To give him ultimate credit, he knows what a worry wart I can be, and so he tends to downplay things, so as not to work me up, and he tends to be very zen himself (don’t worry unless there’s reason. I pre worry about everything!)

So here I am, with this news in my lap and trying not to worry too much. Which for me is hard, not to go off in gales of hysteria. I guess that comes from knowing how these things can go from nothing to sideways in a heartbeat. My son is tied up with appointments, but will check on him on the way home, so we wait

I’m very grateful to the staff that keeps an eye on him in my stead. For now all I can do is hope that we are not starting down the road that ends in a place where no owner wants to go.