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Can we start a support thread for those that have lost their horses (or other pets)?

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  • Can we start a support thread for those that have lost their horses (or other pets)?

    I really need some hugs today and have no issues with shamelessly asking for virtual ones.

    I had to put my horse down two weeks ago today. He was thirteen and in a word perfect, except the huge mass of squamous cell carcinoma. He went in to NC State vet school to have the mass removed but a CT was recommended while under anesthesia just before the operation. The vet called just before and then after the CT as planned. What was not planned was the news that the tumor had spread through his jaw, cranial cavity and lymph nodes. I had her wake him up so I could say goodbye and let him go in peace.

    One option I was given for postmortem was an autopsy and cadaver donation, which I chose as his case was pretty rare. Along with that choice I was also allowed to receive all findings from the autopsy. Today I received the necropsy report and it was far worse than the initial findings. The cancer had compromised his cerebrum, cerebellum, obliterated a lymph node and compromised a good chunk of his jaw. The craziest part of the whole thing was how he acted totally normal right up until we left the day before his surgery. I knew the lesion that I could see and medicate on his eye bothered him but otherwise he was full of life. He did also have some vision loss due to the size of the tumor but other than that he was completely normal. Our last ride all he wanted to do was canter out on the trail (his favorite thing).

    I only had him for 5 years but in those 5 years he spoke to my heart and soul. He came to me through one of my best friends via her dad (a farrier) from an abusive home. They got him to work with him as he was very green at eight but still a sweet horse. I saw one picture of him and knew he had to be mine. He was my first horse and taught me more than anything ever will about so many things. Our first year was rough and he was totally shut down, uninterested in anything. He was never mean or aggressive a single time in our five short years together. He quickly settled down and began to trust me with regular work and I truly feel he loved me.

    He had such a joker personality and really loved his forehead scratches. He was a giant puppy and would come when called or follow me all around the barn with his lead line over his shoulder. Everyone at the barn loved him and always said what a good horse he was. None of this however could defeat cancer.

    The one comfort I do have is he was in perfect condition, happy and full of life to the day he crossed that bridge. He will never know the pains of old age. His body will never degrade from arthritis or other old horse ailments. He will never know a day when he goes down and struggles to get back up or cease to be able to run full speed through the pasture, for this I am happy. He went out the strong and brave horse he is and that is all he will ever be to me. Still losing him sucks and today hurts. I don't for a second think I made the wrong decision in sending him over that bridge and would do it all over again a thousand times if I had to. I just wish I didn't have to.

    Thank you all for reading that, it feels good to get it off my chest. I know others have had to say goodbye to their loves recently or ever and it hurts. Feel free to share your stories so we can all hugs it out and cry together or whatever is needed to make you feel a little better.
    Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

  • #2
    Thank you for that sad but beautiful story Bugs's Mom. So very sorry for the loss of your precious horse . He does sound just like you describe him .. perfect! And a character!

    He surely had the best last five years with you that he could have wished for - what a gift.

    A support thread is a great idea. It seems so many on here now are going through this. HUGS
    Last edited by ohmyheck; Oct. 9, 2019, 05:08 PM.
    One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
    William Shakespeare

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    • #3
      I'm so sorry for your loss! And I really do commend you for donating his body - hopefully it will help further the research and maybe lead to a cure at some point. You absolutely did the right thing to let him go when you did.

      I've lost five this year (BTW, 2019, I am DONE). My 11-year old Lab mix Doofus had several issues, including megaesophagus, and then a stroke rendered him completely unable to recognize me or his home. My 31-year old Arab mare Deuce lost her battle with colic. The one that ripped me apart was losing my ginger kitty Minion to FIV, just days away from an appointment to have his teeth removed and hopefully get him over the mouth sores that kept him from eating - he simply gave up, and I think the abscesses were far worse than we knew. One of Minion's brothers disappeared three weeks ago, and just last week I lost my kitty Angel, who I'd raised since she was about 3 weeks old, to a heart tumor of all things.

      2019, I AM DONE. You cannot have any more of my animals.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by ohmyheck View Post
        Thank you for that beautiful story Bugs's Mom. So very sorry for the loss of your precious horse . He does sound just like you describe him .. perfect! And a character!

        He surely had the best last five years with you that he could have wished for - what a gift.

        A support thread is a great idea. It seems so many on here now are going through this. HUGS
        He was a total goof but seriously the sweetest boy. Thank you!
        Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Alex and Bodie's Mom View Post
          I'm so sorry for your loss! And I really do commend you for donating his body - hopefully it will help further the research and maybe lead to a cure at some point. You absolutely did the right thing to let him go when you did.

          I've lost five this year (BTW, 2019, I am DONE). My 11-year old Lab mix Doofus had several issues, including megaesophagus, and then a stroke rendered him completely unable to recognize me or his home. My 31-year old Arab mare Deuce lost her battle with colic. The one that ripped me apart was losing my ginger kitty Minion to FIV, just days away from an appointment to have his teeth removed and hopefully get him over the mouth sores that kept him from eating - he simply gave up, and I think the abscesses were far worse than we knew. One of Minion's brothers disappeared three weeks ago, and just last week I lost my kitty Angel, who I'd raised since she was about 3 weeks old, to a heart tumor of all things.

          2019, I AM DONE. You cannot have any more of my animals.
          I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot begin to imagine what it must feel like to lose so much so quickly.

          2019 needs to depart and ASAP so 2020 be so much better.

          HUGS
          Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm so sorry for your loss Bug's Mom. Very sad. You definitely did the right thing, though a most difficult thing to go through.

            Alex and Bodie's Mom, I am so sorry for you, too! Gosh I hate when they all leave close together. My last year was bad, too. In 12 months time I lost my beloved cat, Gracie. She was the sweetest cat. She would come running from the barn whenever I called her name, so she could come sit on my lap in the house. She was adorable. Then I lost my beloved Ridgeback, Leo, to kidney issues. That was hard. He, too, was my 100+ pound lap dog! And then shortly after that, I lost the one I thought would be with me a long time, my not-yet-five-year-old cat Spy. He died of bobcat fever. That was so hard. They all were so hard.

            Can you all post pictures of your "loved ones"?




            Comment


            • #7
              Animals sure force us to be both kind and tough all at the same moment. Kind to let them go with mercy, tough to survive thru the loss.

              My big poodle is on borrowed time. I just take his presence day by day and try to be grateful.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ParadoxFarm View Post
                I'm so sorry for your loss Bug's Mom. Very sad. You definitely did the right thing, though a most difficult thing to go through.

                Alex and Bodie's Mom, I am so sorry for you, too! Gosh I hate when they all leave close together. My last year was bad, too. In 12 months time I lost my beloved cat, Gracie. She was the sweetest cat. She would come running from the barn whenever I called her name, so she could come sit on my lap in the house. She was adorable. Then I lost my beloved Ridgeback, Leo, to kidney issues. That was hard. He, too, was my 100+ pound lap dog! And then shortly after that, I lost the one I thought would be with me a long time, my not-yet-five-year-old cat Spy. He died of bobcat fever. That was so hard. They all were so hard.

                Can you all post pictures of your "loved ones"?



                I'm so sorry for you - it IS hard when you hit a run where they are leaving right and left. I lost a cat to that bobcat fever several years ago - devastating. It's so hard when they have something that you can't do anything about. Somehow, that makes it harder - for me, at least. Hugs!

                Comment


                • #9
                  <<Hugs>>. So sorry for your loss.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thank you for sharing the memory of your equine friend. Sounds like the two of you had a great time together even though it was shorter than you expected. It is amazing how well he accommodated the cancer. One tough horse I guess.
                    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks everyone for your replies and stories! It is never easy losing them but my hope is we can all continue to come together in support and help each other feel a little better.
                      Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by CHT View Post
                        Thank you for sharing the memory of your equine friend. Sounds like the two of you had a great time together even though it was shorter than you expected. It is amazing how well he accommodated the cancer. One tough horse I guess.
                        He was a tough horse! He was extremely stoic and masked pain very well. He was always kind and loving through the very end.
                        Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Bugs enjoying a beautiful fall day (~1 year ago, before cancer). Don't let the picture fool you, he was 16-16.1h and ~1400lbs. He was not a small horse but he did not seem to realize his full size.
                          Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Bugs was stunning and blessed to have those years that you shared together. He was well loved.

                            My Bernese Mountain Dog Oreo is a little over ten and has been on borrowed time for the last two years. Lately I'm really starting to see the age creep up on her. She wont be my first to go and far from the last. Each one takes a piece of my heart with them when it's time to make the best decision for them and the worst for me.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm so sorry for your loss of your beautiful Bug, Bug's Mom. Your post had me in tears. You loved him and gave him a wonderful life, and a safe and loving leavetaking.
                              Sometimes that is the only consolation to help with the heartbreak.

                              I lost the horse I loved more than any other three years ago. Like you, his name is my user name, and I am still grieving for him.
                              We were together from his first breath to his last, 25 yrs later. And until this spring, no horse has stepped into his pasture.
                              The next year we lost our precious GSD and there is still a large dog-shaped hole in our hearts.
                              This spring I had another terrible loss, which has left me stunned and in despair.
                              We keep going, trying our best, doing our best, but the heartbreak seems never-ending. Sending cyber hugs to us all.
                              A Fine Romance. April 1991 - June 2016. Loved forever.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                This thread is a great idea. Not just for support in the immediate aftermath, but also to celebrate our departed ones!

                                My family had to put down our old man, Duke, in August at age 27, so can I post his "epitaph" a little late? This is what I wrote about him on my fb post and our pic from when we went to VA State 4-H show in his prime.

                                Last month, our family said goodbye to the best little horse that ever was. Zip Bonnet, aka Duke, you were what the American Quarter Horse is meant to be. You were Gill's western pleasure horse, my last 4H horse, Mom's trail horse, her best friend, her heart horse, and even Dad's buddy. You jumped jumps for me you probably never should have and yet I watched you step across logs as tall as your chest with Mom. You wore sleigh bells at Christmas, babysat tiny children each holiday and taught numerous new trail horses, including Oliver. You were everything we ever asked you to be for 21 years. Everyone tells me we gave you so much, but you gave us everything. Thank you. Life won't be the same without you.
                                Attached Files
                                "Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  We've lost two this year. Flash back to 2007, I was in a position to get my first dog. I grew up with dogs, but none were ever "mine". I wandered into the Aiken, SC SPCA on a whim and saw a little spotted dog, kind of a leggy Jack Russell type. The label said Lady, for a Cocker mix (definitely not this little guy). I went to the counter, and they said "oh, that's Jack". Once I got a permission signature from our landlady, Jack came home with me. We traveled up and down the SC/VA eventing scene a bit, then I ended up in Maryland for a while. The farm had tons of barn and semi-feral cats. One day, one teeny calico came up to the main barn with a kitten. My coworker caught him, and we followed her back to her nest and found a second. Poor mom was barely more than a kitten herself and more than happy to pass these two off. So entered Neville into my life.

                                  My menagerie followed me around northern Virginia, Mister the TB, Jack, and Neville. I met a guy, we moved in, got married. We added a little human to the collection in 2016. Mister, Jack, and Neville weathered it all. I lost Mister in August 2017, shortly before DD turned one, to a neurological issue. At 23, we'd had 12 wonderful years together, conquering jump courses I had never imagined before him, and he owed me
                                  nothing.

                                  September of 2018, Neville was diagnosed with dilation cardiomyopathy at only 11. He hung on for a few months, having good and less-good days, tolerating a slew of meds to keep him comfortable. He was my lesson in hanging on too long, I think. We let him go in February, when it just became too much for him.

                                  In the meantime, Jack went in to have his teeth cleaned in November 2018. As due course, he had bloodwork pulled before anesthesia. Lo and behold, his kidney values were elevated. Nothing too alarming, but it was the first sentence of the writing on the wall. We adjusted his diet, and he was doing well for several months. He continued being the best possible dog for our toddler, and adapted to a new young wild cat in his life (Fawkes). After about six months, I took him in for a follow up to see how he was doing. His kidney values had actually improved to high normal, but just. He was diagnosed with ehrlichia (damn ticks), and went on a course of antibiotics. He'd wrapped up the meds and was doing great when we went out of town for a week in July; we had a great team of pet sitter, family, and friends come and check and love on them. Then our sitter texted that Jack wasn't finishing his meals. I suggested mixing some canned food with his kibble, and he picked up until we got home. One thing led to another, while one vet said he just needed to eat more (duh!) until the practice's second vet looked at him and pulled blood. His numbers were back up, so she started us with sub-q fluids and some other food suggestions. He lost four pounds over the course of things, but stabilized and got his appetite back. Until he crashed last week. No appetite, lethargic. I knew kidney disease was a one-way street, but I wasn't ready for the end to come so abruptly. I took him in Saturday, and his numbers were off the chart. Of course, at the vet's, his little nub was wagging away and he was perky. I chose to take him home for one last weekend with family.

                                  Until we got home. He was exhausted, miserable, and obviously uncomfortable. I called my vet back, swung by my friend and wonderful pet sitter's house for goodbye (she loved him very much), then my husband's workplace so he could say bye one last time. LO was already with grandma as I was going to clip horses that afternoon.

                                  It felt fitting that it was just me and Jack, as it had been the two of us for a while. He was my barn and show buddy for many years, and the perfect first dog in every way. We had twelve and a half amazing years together. He was at least 15, having been a young adult when I adopted him. The vet very kindly stayed a little late to meet us. I got to cuddle him as the sedative kicked in, and stayed with him to the end. It was a relief to go and clip and get some horse time, just quiet and focused to keep my mind off things.

                                  It's been hard. Jack was my last link to my "horsey" life, before family life has taken me down a different road. There's been little things that bring me to tears: a can of no-salt green beans, having to pick up my own dropped food. I'll be ready sometime, and my husband is already showing me puppies. But I'm not ready, and don't know when I will be. For a little ditch dog, Jack has left an outsized hole in my heart and spirit. Our daughter has been wonderfully sweet, dancing around and being silly to make me happy when the tears start (she's only 3). I know she misses him too. Even Fawkes has looked around for him, and has been extra snuggly this last week. Tomorrow will be one week. I was crushed to lose Mister and sad when Neville passed. But I am every bit as devastated as I thought I'd be losing Jack. It will get better sometime, and I'll put one foot in front of the other until it does.
                                  Leap, and the net will appear

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Bug's mom, I'm sorry you were robbed of precious time with your horse. 5 years is simply not enough time, and makes the grieving so much worse (at least it has for me). I look forward to hearing news of you getting another horse, and that horse will be so lucky!

                                    I've lost many pets over the years, but only lost my first horse exactly one month ago today to hermangiosarcoma (cancer of the blood vessel walls). My arab was 31yo and I had him for over 17 years. He was stunning horse with an impressive pedigree, solid and well-built. But more importantly, he was patient, kind and gentle to an adult beginner (me). He taught me how to listen. He taught me patience. He taught me how to ride. He's the only horse I've ever trusted enough to full-out gallop with no reins.

                                    But what I miss the most is watching him out my window in our pasture with his buddies, and hearing his nicker to me when I walked out to feed. It's hard to believe it has been a month already. I still find myself looking out window and looking for 5 horses, and then it hits me Red is gone, like it just happened.

                                    Fortunately, I have other horses, including my baby who shares my heart with my arab, and he is great comfort to me. And I still get to hear nickering at feeding time, even though I do not hear Red's distinct nicker anymore.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      WNT, your post made me cry, at work I am so sorry for your loss. Jack was beyond a doubt loved to the fullest. He knew this, make no mistake he knew. I hope in time you are able to bring a new fur baby into your life and love them as you loved Jack. This story hits way to close to home as my first rescue dog came to me in a similar way and for a while it was just us. He has some hip problems from an injury sustained prior to me getting him, I know this will be his ending. For now I love him like that day will never come. HUGS for you and your very recent painful loss.

                                      Janet, thank you for your very sweet words. I will come back and share when I have found the right one, I am just not quite ready yet. 5 years was not enough, as we all do I had so many plans for him. I know he would have been the horse I could plop my future children on and pony them down the trail. Knowing that will never happen breaks my heart, he deserved to be doted on my a child. Bugs like your Red, taught me how to ride and everything I now know about horses. He was beyond patient and kind with me. He loved to ride and would give me this look (I can't explain it other than disappointment) on the days I came out and simply fed and left. He would often stand at the gate and watch until I got in the car, more than once I cried down the driveway (why does life have to get in the way of riding?). I know I will find another one in time and will love them so much but there will never be another Bugs.
                                      Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Bugs's Mom No, there will never be another Bugs
                                        But that is alright, as he gave you memories no other horse could.

                                        Every name in my signature has done the same for me.
                                        And the cats, dog lost aren't in the sig, but live in my heart.

                                        For me, a thread like this is better than Rainbow Bridge. That runs a bit saccharine for my taste.
                                        Tributes here seem more honestly heartfelt.

                                        {HUGS} to all here.
                                        Time does help, but sometimes typing it out is as healing.

                                        As Stanley Harrison wrote:
                                        By the love that guides my pen,
                                        I know great horses live again
                                        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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