My horse literally “broke his leg” in turn out – I saw it happen, was mortified, and knew he had to be put down immediately and made the emergency call.
The vet (whom I trusted) said I would probably not want to watch. I trusted him. I said my goodbyes and went and waited back in my horse’s stall as it happened. I heard a sickening creak of the fence (as he hit it has he was going down), and knew it was him hitting the ground. I am glad I didn’t watch, I have no regrets that I did not get to see that. Last memory of him is with his head buried in a bucket of grain, not falling lifeless to the ground.
On the flip side, I recently put down my elderly cat, whom I stroked and talked to through the whole processes. It was incredibly peaceful, and I am glad I could be there for her while it happened. But, this cat was also very ready to pass on (failed kidneys) and I had come to terms with it before the (in house) appointment.
I haven't read this entire thread, but I have seen a euthanasia performed and expect to see more given that I have 18 horses. It wasn't particularly awful or dramatic. It also was fast.
I agree with other posters who suggest not being present if you are giing to be upset, crying, etc. Horses pick up on emotion, so why stress them or yourself. The horse will be fine without you.
My one suggestion is that have the hole dug and the backhoe ready to go. You want to get the carcass into the ground asap. It also beats seeing the body laying there for hours and/or having to keep the vultures away.
I think it depends on you. Your horse likely isn't going to care one way or another. If you can keep it together enough to not upset the horse and you want to be there, be there. Otherwise, ask a friend to hold the horse. I've been there for all of my animals, but that's me. I don't fault anyone for not wanting to see it. In fact, I'd say most people wind up doing the animal a disservice by being there from my time working at the vets office. You freaking out will cause the animal to get anxious.
I had to have a beloved mare of mine put down in April. She developed severe laminitis and it was the humane thing to do. She is the first of my own horses I have lost, but I have attended quite a few other euthanasias, including two horses with broken legs. All of them were sad. I chose not to stay with my mare. My husband was there and our vet knew her well, and when the moment came, I knew that I didn't want my last memory of her be watching her fall. I don't regret that decision.
Not a decision that anyone else can make for you and do not let anyone tell you that you are wrong in what you decide. Only you know what is best for you and your horse. There is nothing shameful/wrong about not wanting to be there.
I had the same question when I put down my App mare and you'll know the right answer on that day. For me, I was VERY glad Freebird was there for me that day. I was able to lead her to "the spot" and once Dr. Rose explained how it would go, I kissed Star's nose, hugged her neck and, at that moment KNEW I couldn't stay. I handed the lead rope to Kat as I ran across the field. I didn't want my last memory of Star being her go down.
Oh and Freebird made Star's day by bringing a carrot cake just for her
(( hugs my dear friend ))
It was my pleasure! Chocomare's right - you won't know until the day. Have a friend with you, and just go with your heart - there is no right or wrong answer. For me, being able to be with Star until her last moments, and seeing how peaceful it was (It was not my first time holding the end of the leadrope as they are PTS) and how that mare literally grinned as she took her last breath....well, it gave me closure, that I had not felt since I was not able to be there when my heart horse broke his leg and had to be PTS.
I myself have been present for "the end", as I feel it is my duty and my honor to ease them into the next world.
But I am "good in crisis", and I always want to know that details were handled.
If you are not "good in crisis", or don't know what can happen when horses are euthanized, than follow your vet's advice.
I agree w/ all of this. I've always been there for my animals (horses and dogs) when it was their time - there was no way I would not be there. I'm also the kind of person that can remain calm/quiet/focused in times like these - you need to be that way otherwise you can upset your animal and that's not going to help. Everyone is different and it's all a personal preference. I had to put my 31-year old TB down two months ago - thankfully I am good friends w/ my vets so that made it easier and I totally trust them. It was a very quiet, peaceful passing thanks to them. I did lose it later but only after I left the hospital where I had him put down and after I had taken care of my other TB - had to make sure she was okay now that her best friend of 9+ years was gone.
You just have to do what feels right to you. Euthansia takes away their pain and makes it ours. Sorry you have to go through this .
"Today I'll say goodbye, as you peacefully go adrift... with one last moment I'll whisper with love my friend, a Final Gift"
I think it is entirely up to you, the fact that you are asking if you should be makes me think you might want to be there. Me, I have been there with my horse I felt I owed it to him, and me, to be there. He was only 6 and broke his leg. I'd heard stories about how awful it his wasn't, and I think I would've regretted not being there & holding him. For me, I would always try to be there if I could, as you only have one chance to say goodbye. I don't know that I would be so sentimental with an older retired horse that I never saw much. There really isn't a right or wrong answer, you have to do what you feel is best -it might be going out & giving him a nice long goodbye. For me, the worst was the emply stall -that's when I bawled.
I'm sorry you are facing this. I have always been there for my animals (horses, cats, whatever) because i personally feel that it's the right thing to do for me. I want to be there. That doesn't mean I am there to watch the backhoe dig the hole etc. for my beloved horses.
But I think that for everyone it's different, and for you there is no "wrong" way to do this.
Whatever decision you make, there isn't a wrong answer. I chose not to be there for my boys, and I'm glad I made that choice. It was less stressful for them and for my vet (as I was quite outwardly emotional), and my last memories of them are of then alive and happy.
Thank you everyone for your stories and support. Yesterday was a very hard day. I left work early and hand grazed Trooper in the yard where the sweetest grass is until the vet arrived. I intended to go in the house but found I could not let go of the lead rope. Trooper and I quietly walked to the spot where he was peacefully put down. I held the lead rope and spoke to him until he was gone. I am so glad I stayed with him and helped him over the bridge. It was a very peaceful and humbling experience.
Aw spot, so so sorry but so glad it went peacefully and that it worked out you were there. Sounds like Trooper had a lovely crossing. A hug to you, hope you have lot of friends and support, a hard but sacred experience!