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Should I be there

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  • Should I be there

    Friday I will have one of my horses put down. I have struggled over this decsion for 2 years but it is now time. My vet was out yesterday and told me I was doing the right thing for my horse but he suggested that I am not there when it is time.

    What are your thoughts on this? He has offered to handle everything including allowing my horses to see him after he has passed.

  • #2
    It's really up to you - I wasn't there for any of my family's horses, and I don't regret that. I know that I wouldn't have been able to stay calm enough to not freak them out, and I didn't want to worry them even more in their final moments. My mom, though, has been there for every one and she can't imagine not being there.

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    • #3
      (also, I am so very sorry)

      Comment


      • #4
        Personally, I have never been there for any of my horses. I was torn because I felt that not being there meant that I wasn't there for them when they needed me most, but I just could.not.bear.seeing.them.like.that.

        I don't regret not being there. I want to remember my best friends alive and well, with a hug and a kiss goodbye, and I walked away, and never looked back. Literally, walked away as the vet was euthanizing. It took every ounce of my strength to not look back, but I absolutely did NOT want to remember them that way.

        Hugs. It is NEVER easy, no matter how many times you've done it. I've been through 5 of my best buddies. Jingles for you and your guy. May he have plenty of green grass once he crosses the rainbow bridge.
        "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by RolyPolyPony View Post
          It's really up to you - I wasn't there for any of my family's horses, and I don't regret that. I know that I wouldn't have been able to stay calm enough to not freak them out, and I didn't want to worry them even more in their final moments. My mom, though, has been there for every one and she can't imagine not being there.
          My mom was also the one who stayed for every one of mine. I told her that I didn't want to hear about it, I wanted to remember them for who they were, not what the euth was like. I'm thankful for my mom, I KNOW that I could not have held it together through the process.
          "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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          • #6
            I'm so sorry you have to go through this..

            What type of relationship do you have with your vet? Is it casual and brief when you see eachother, or does he/she know you well enough to give thoughtful, compassionate advice? What is your vet like? Do you trust THEM to be quiet and compassionate? Or to abruptly (and this might be painful to hear) stab and run?

            Much as I hated typing that, one I've known would get caught up in their schedule and be.. um.. well you know. Most clients knew this and would take that into consideration about certain procedures.

            How do YOU feel about seeing Trigger falling and passing in front of you? Are you very emotional? Are you going to sob hysterically before the needle is unsheathed? Is the horse going to know something's wrong by your behaviour? That's not doing anyone any favors.

            My gut tells me you should listen to your vet's advice, unless they're a bit of an insensitive type and may rush through, being insensitive to your old friend.

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            • #7
              I have always stayed. But, I can be strong til its done. I needed to do that for me.
              If you have a compassionate person that can be there, you should do what is best for yourself.
              HUGS. It is never easy.
              I\'m not crazy. I\'m just a little unwell.

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              • #8
                Personally, I couldn't NOT be there.

                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.

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                • #9
                  i've done both. On balance, and for me personally, not being there felt a little worse. Very hard to come home and he was just *gone* from my field....
                  So I have been there for the other 3 (I took in retired geriatric horses from a therapeutic riding center to my farm, so I've had more than my share of euth's I guess).
                  But it is really such a personal choice-- everyone handles the loss and interprets the euth process differently. For what it's worth, I do not think it matters to the horse that you're there-- it's no different to him than being led out of his stall by some other nice person, such as to be turned out. This decision is entirely about what you need.
                  There have been lots of threads on what to expect when it happens. My vet sedates the hell out of them prior. You will see your horse's body fall to the ground, and you will see his body struggle against the chemicals to an extent. You will see the moment life leaves his eyes. That is very hard and it's making me cry right now, remembering these things. But I do believe the horse is not suffering mentally. He's already gone. And a very kind vet, someone you don't mind blubbering in front of, helps too. That your vet prefers you not be there might be an indicator that s/he's not very good at that. That's ok too-- euth'ing the horse is just part of the business and he may not want to have to comfort the emotional owner. And the reality is that sometimes it doesn't go super smoothly. Hasn't happened to me, but it can.

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                  • #10
                    This is all too familiar territory for me, having just gone through this back on November 1 with a horse that was truly part of my family for almost 23 years. I HAD to be there, and my husband drove frantically to be there, too, calling me on his cell phone along the way, reporting his whereabouts, begging me not to let the vet "do it" before he got there. It was important to us both that we be the last ones she saw, and felt, and heard. It's a very personal decision. In my mind, there was no question. But if you don't feel comfortable, if you're having second thoughts, if you think the process itself is too overwhelming, let your conscience be your guide. If there's a good friend who can be there--that wants to be there--then perhaps that's a good compromise. In over twenty years of working with several vets, there's only one I wouldn't have trusted with this final moment--and I only used that vet once. Every other one has been compassionate to a fault, including the vet who was there for me on this difficult day; she cried with me. I'll be thinking of you.
                    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." - Churchill

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sansena View Post
                      What type of relationship do you have with your vet? Is it casual and brief when you see eachother, or does he/she know you well enough to give thoughtful, compassionate advice? What is your vet like? Do you trust THEM to be quiet and compassionate? Or to abruptly (and this might be painful to hear) stab and run?

                      Much as I hated typing that, one I've known would get caught up in their schedule and be.. um.. well you know. Most clients knew this and would take that into consideration about certain procedures.

                      How do YOU feel about seeing Trigger falling and passing in front of you? Are you very emotional? Are you going to sob hysterically before the needle is unsheathed? Is the horse going to know something's wrong by your behaviour? That's not doing anyone any favors.

                      My gut tells me you should listen to your vet's advice, unless they're a bit of an insensitive type and may rush through, being insensitive to your old friend.
                      I think that considering someone that can handle whatever situation in a pragmatic way "insensitive" is a stretch.
                      Maybe they are, maybe not, but no one really knows how others may feel, or should assume because they can do the hard things they don't care that much, are "insensitive".

                      I agree that, if your vet gave you the option to stay away and you rather do that, why not?

                      I have been there for all our horses, because I want to be sure that all went as it should and the horse was fine to the end and now at peace, as it should be.
                      I would be much more worried not knowing than, just because it is so hard a time, avoid it and leave it to others.

                      I would not worry about what the vet does, they are professionals and will have your horse's best interest in mind.
                      Could you have a friend there, if you later want to know more details and be reassured all was ok?

                      Each one of us has to make our own decisions, especially the hard ones.
                      No one else can do that for us.

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                      • #12
                        I had to be there but I could not see the body, I had to turn away as the injection went in. Yes I was upset but my horse was so severely sick it didn't matter at that point.

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                        • #13
                          There is no "should" as whatever makes you most comfortable is the right decision for you. I personally have been there for every one of mine except the one who broke down on the track. I get weirded out by bone deformities and didn't want to see that. His groom volunteered to go to him however so it was ok. To me the worst part is seeing them crumple to the ground so maybe you can compromise and have the vet tranq him and lay him down then you can come be with him for the last part?
                          McDowell Racing Stables

                          Home Away From Home

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                          • #14
                            As a kid I was once at the barn (it was dark) when one of the broodmares broke her leg in the field. She had to be put down right there, and I'll never ever forget hearing the shot (it was, given the circumstances, the most humane course of action) and then hearing all the horses thunder around her field after. It traumatized me for awhile after.

                            If it came down to it, I don't know if I could be there for one of my horses. Hopefully when/if the time comes, I'll know. People deal with grief in different ways. Be sure to see your Dr. for grief counseling help/referral if you need it - my mom is a Family Medicine Dr and she regularly talks to patients about loss of animals & refers them to relevant specialists if need be.
                            "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                            "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

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                            • #15
                              I've helped out friends on several occasions by being there for their horses. In one case the owner and his wife left town and I had full responsibility for meeting the vet and overseeing the burial. In another I was there with my friend for emotional support. So each of those friends made a different decision.

                              I've, so far, only needed to make the decision for one horse. In this case I left him at the vets and walked away. I think due to the fact that I hadn't had him long and that he was neurological, I was just too emotionally overwhelmed to be there. I'd like to think that I could be there for any horse I'd had for years and had developed a bond with, but I guess I won't know until the time comes.

                              I think that whatever works for you is what you need to do, and it's generous of your vet to offer to take care of your horse for you.

                              HUGS to you in this difficult time.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                It's entirely up to you whether to be there or not, and there simply is no right or wrong answer.

                                Just remember, this isn't about you, it's about letting your boy pass as peacefully as possible. If you don't think you can be there without making his last minutes stressful by being an hysterical mess, then stay away.

                                My condolences. It's hard to lose them, no matter the circumstances.
                                Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I agree with those who say it depends on your comfort level. I would have to be there, as with all my animals. Just for me, but there is something cleansing in the showing up, even for the last act, knowing they were passing surrounded by love. My husband is Blackfeet, so all our animals go with an offering of tobacco and a little bit of water offered, so they have something for the crossing (I bury each and every one of the mice either trapped or bagged by the cats with tobacco!!!) It is not a pretty process, there are other threads that do talk about how it happens, talk to your vet about it. I didn't catch if your horse was being buried on your property or not,but if so,have the hole dug ahead of time, and the backhoe guy scheduled. If not, I would take a piece of mane and tail (ahead of time) just for me. I am so sorry you are going through this, there is no easy way to part with old friends.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I'm a stayer. I feel like I owe it to them to be there for that last moment, so they aren't alone even when they are with the vet they've known their entire life. My deepest regret is that my heart horse died in pasture (peacefully) and I wasn't there for him, even though I know what a gift it was from him to go so peacefully and not make me make the call. I get a lot of my grief out sitting with them after they are gone and stroking their face and saying my goodbyes, and I also wait until they are gone to take their tail and/or mane for keepsakes. The hardest one yet was a little rescue yearling who had broken a leg and been allowed to walk on it and when we got her the other leg was being destroyed by growth. Because it was summer, the vet wanted to wait until Monday to euthanize, and this was Friday - so we had to leave her at the vet and couldn't be there. Cutting that mane and tail while she was still alive was so much harder than being there for her euth. It haunted me all weekend that she was alone at the vet and would be alone at the end, even though I logically know to her, she was just being cared for like any other day - probably better than most of her life - and her end was just another vet procedure.

                                    So basically - how do YOU feel about it? Which makes you feel worse - the thought of being there, or the thought of not being there? That's the question that will provide your answer.
                                    If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                                    ~ Maya Angelou

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      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 ))
                                      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        If you know you are going to be upset, crying and need consoling then don't be there. Euthanasia is a medical procedure and your vet needs to focus on the horse and not the people assembled. I don't mean to sound harsh, it's the reality.

                                        OTOH an option is to be there for the sedation, give that last good bye and leave before the vet gives the barbiturate that will drop your horse. You would have a couple minutes to say that good bye then get in the car and get off the property.

                                        I'm sorry your going through this but what a kind gift to assure your horse has a humane passing. You are doing right by your horse and there is no right or wrong way for an owner to participate. Owners should do what they are comfortable doing. ((Hugs))

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