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Elderly Owner/Horse=Euthanasia Debate with BO

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  • #21
    DO NOT lie to a person with dementia or Alzheimer's. A lie takes away the dignity they deserve as a human being- and they already struggle with a horrid disease that eats away dignity. My own late Father had dementia and we patiently listened to his muddled stories of raising 4 children as a widower. He did raise 4 children but with the aid of Mom to whom he was married for 40 years before she died.

    Ditto Tifan, Sldbredfan and Beverly comments.

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    • #22
      Dementia/Alzheimers is a B*tch...and it is so heart breaking to have the people call for their parents or other loved ones who have long since passed, or forget who and where they are...

      Alas, there is really no question as to what to do with Dobbins. He has been loved for a long time and time just does not stand still. The question is just with the BO...and I have to say he/she is acting dorky. The family won't be able to afford the board of Mum and Dobbins (I apologize for the flippant remark, but that's pretty much what it is) much longer. And it is by far the more merciful thing to to to let the old guy go.


      Good luck, all around and best wishes to the family (both my Grandmas spend their last years in a nursing home, it was soo rough on my parents)
      Originally posted by BigMama1
      Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
      GNU Terry Prachett

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      • #23
        Unfortunately, I've seen situations where families of elderly people try to maximize the estate by talking/strong-arming parents into selling assests or getting rid of expenses. Unless the horse is really at the end of its life, I'd like to see it stay where it is. Maybe the elderly mother should have a court-appointed guardian to look after herinterests. Board for a horse is nothing compared to nursing home care. The children should have enough respect for the parent to agree to this.

        This situation reminds me to make arrangements for the care of my animals should I become disabled. I'm going to talk to a lawyer to see how my assets can be set aside, safe from medical creditors, for this purpose.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by SLW View Post
          DO NOT lie to a person with dementia or Alzheimer's. A lie takes away the dignity they deserve as a human being- and they already struggle with a horrid disease that eats away dignity. My own late Father had dementia and we patiently listened to his muddled stories of raising 4 children as a widower. He did raise 4 children but with the aid of Mom to whom he was married for 40 years before she died.

          Ditto Tifan, Sldbredfan and Beverly comments.
          There's dignity, which is likely already gone, and there is compassion to cushion the indignities of Alzheimer's to avoid unnecessary distress. A white lie, or a more palatable story that they won't remember long term anyway but will react less stressfully to will do no harm nor will it take away any dignity. There is something to be said for making a bad situation as easy as possible to spare the woman any painful news.

          And yes, I have been there. When my grandmother repeatedly asked when her husband was coming home in the weeks after he died, we finally stopped telling her that he had died when she reacted each time (several times an hour) like it was the first time she'd heard it and was nearly hysterical. We then said "he's coming in a little while", to which her reaction was "ok", and that was it. She still asked ten times a day, it was just a less stressful answer to which she didn't react violently, it was much easier on her.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by BabyGreen View Post
            Unfortunately, I've seen situations where families of elderly people try to maximize the estate by talking/strong-arming parents into selling assests or getting rid of expenses. Unless the horse is really at the end of its life, I'd like to see it stay where it is. Maybe the elderly mother should have a court-appointed guardian to look after herinterests. Board for a horse is nothing compared to nursing home care. The children should have enough respect for the parent to agree to this.

            This situation reminds me to make arrangements for the care of my animals should I become disabled. I'm going to talk to a lawyer to see how my assets can be set aside, safe from medical creditors, for this purpose.

            Yes and no. Yes, some folks are vultures and eye every penny they can lay their hands on.

            And no, not everybody is and not knowing the complete situation (not needed, really) mother might not have a huge nest egg set aside to pay for the nursing home. Most elder women don't.

            but as stated in the OP, the horse is no spring chicken not likely of any value and not having to deal with the arrangements for him (that', too is a problem when a family member declines in health) along with the saved money (we have all watched too much TV to see sinister motives around every corner) can be worth much more than the money alone.

            It is not as if Dobbins is an intricate part of helping Mom. Alzheimers is a cruel way to go.
            Originally posted by BigMama1
            Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
            GNU Terry Prachett

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            • #26
              What a difficult position for the family! I am unclear if the lady still see's the horse - it sounds as if she does occasionally. I would encourage them to try to see him through the winter - IF the horse is up to it. They must assess the horse first. It does sound as if nothing much has changed with him, and they just can't deal with him. I do understand that. Maybe someone will step up to the plate and agree to board him for a while.

              If not, and they do euth him - I agree that a white lie is better than repeatedly telling the owner the truth. My Mom also lost her short term memory - but on the flip side it was kind of fun telling her GOOD news over and over! She was delighted each and every time we told her. Also with jokes. Always laughed - same jokes. But how painful to have to repeat bad news.....so I would suggest avoiding that situation. Easy to distract her. But heartbreaking.

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              • #27
                I'm with similar situation with Puika due to the illness of the owner (his former owner looks through window and can still see Puika prancing around in pastures and it makes owner really happy and makes owner to look for the next spring with hope that he will eel better and will be able to walk down 300 meters to pat him on nose).
                So my thoughts in this case goes:

                1) evaluate the horse. Is he OK to carry on with life? It is the first grade thing, all other questions go from this one. If horse is in pain, suffering and so on, no way - do it what's the best for the horse and that's it. And let the family explain it to lady or (if they decide) tell her lies that he is happy gazing but she is just not at the stage to go and see him;

                2) if horse is still quite happy with life and is not suffering then there is space for other options - taking him in and keeping until lady passes away (mentally or physically) or trying to find him a retirement home.

                About not telling lies... well, my MIL is going that way now (she is 80 and overall in good health for her age) - this summer we needed to take her to us and her whole life changed - she is in foreign country, things surrounding her are very different, and she had not been the bright kid anyway so things are really really hard for her now.
                So instead of treating her like an adult and trying to convince her that life has changed and make her face the facts, we try to make her life easier by bending our backs, changing our lives to build for her that bubble where she was living for many years already.

                She is now like a 3 yo child - she can keep her mind focused on simple things ifor about 3 sentences - news, domestic news, stories... everything must to be told in 3 simple sentences and repeated until she gets it. More complicated things we just sweep under carpet as trying to explain things end up with terrible stress and tears. We tried and gave up. She feels much more comfortable in her bubble where no outside storms can reach her.
                We keep her away from TV (most news are just too scary and too complicated for her) and instead we offer her live TV - we take her everywhere with us and keep things simple - like, "see, horse, jump, isn't it great!" "Yes, it's nice!" and she has big smile on her face. And that's all. If we must discuss something deeper, we discuss things when she is asleep - otherwise she gets confused, worried and then - frightened.

                For the said case - if lady has completely forgotten her husband but still remember her horse - well, in such situation my MIL would get her horse forever - if the horse is the one that is coming back in her mind, family must keep horse going despite expenses. Just my opinion.

                If there is a situation that lady can be just told lies and it is possible to keep her not going to see the horse and money saving is really important for the family - I would suggest completely lie telling scenario - take a lot of pictures of the horse - change backgrounds, so horse looks different in each picture, and put horse down. Then print pictures and when she asks, pretend to go to visit him and after pass the new picture of the horse to the lady: "See, Dobbin is doing fine! Shame that he is so far away and you can not go to visit him, but he is fine!" Something like that.
                ** I LOVE PUIKA FAN CLUB*** member

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by AiryFairy View Post
                  There's dignity, which is likely already gone, and there is compassion to cushion the indignities of Alzheimer's to avoid unnecessary distress. A white lie, or a more palatable story that they won't remember long term anyway but will react less stressfully to will do no harm nor will it take away any dignity. There is something to be said for making a bad situation as easy as possible to spare the woman any painful news.

                  And yes, I have been there. When my grandmother repeatedly asked when her husband was coming home in the weeks after he died, we finally stopped telling her that he had died when she reacted each time (several times an hour) like it was the first time she'd heard it and was nearly hysterical. We then said "he's coming in a little while", to which her reaction was "ok", and that was it. She still asked ten times a day, it was just a less stressful answer to which she didn't react violently, it was much easier on her.
                  Agreed. My grandmother with Alzheimer's had the same reaction EVERY time she was told her husband had died - as if it had happened that very day. Eventually family members would tell her "he's gone fishing and told us to make sure you have a wonderful day" and she would blush and say "he's so sweet" and go about the rest of her visit. Much better than hysteria and panic that would ensue if the truth had been told again. Every person is different.

                  Very sad about the horse; BO is being an a$$. Euthanasia is not a bad outcome at 30...a sunny day, in a familiar place, a bucket of favorite treats....that's how I'd like to go.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by spurgirl View Post
                    The BO is livid-he's been boarded there 3 years, and no question she's attached to him. BUT, the financial aspect is starting to drain the family, with owner's care being $$$. BO does not think he should be euth'd.
                    ...
                    But, she has a financial stake in this, too.
                    I'm not clear what kind of financial stake the BO could have in this? Is the mark-up that high on boarding in that area? Could she not fill that stall otherwise?

                    As well, you mentioned that the tack came with the horse. Would it be possible to sell the tack to pay some board bills?

                    One last thing that came to mind as I read the last few posts about estates. Is it possible, that in the three years this horse has been there, that the elderly horse owner told the BO that the family would try to have the horse PTS rather than spend the money on board?

                    Good luck. It's a tough situation.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Sounds to me like the BO wants the tack. Does she have sentimental value attached since she knew the owner for so many years?

                      Tough situation. I really don't know what I would do.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        If you wanted to help negotiate this, do the right thing, or stay out of it. Talk with the family and do as they think best, which, tell them, has to be the best thing for the horse. Tell them that ISN"t adoption.

                        As for the BO, remind her that BO stands for "butt out"! No, you can't tell her that, but you can tell her that the horse and estate are going to be dispersed, and she can either put up or shut up. If she got pissy with me, that's exactly what I WOULD tell her. Tell the BO the horse is going to euthed because that is the appropriate thing for the horse and for the family.

                        Then help the family do it if you can, at least with support.

                        Good luck
                        Let us know how it goes.
                        Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by spurgirl View Post

                          Thoughts?
                          My thoughts are that someone needs to verify that the "family member" trying to dispose of this lady's property has the legal right to do so.

                          That goes for selling the horse, giving it away, or euthanizing it. If the decision is to euthanize this animal - the vet should demand to see the durable power of attorney (springing power or whatever type of POA the family member has) and satisfy him/herself that the family member has the authority to make decisions. Same goes for you if you buy it or take it in, or if the animal is sold.

                          Otherwise folks are going to be in quite a pickle if the owner becomes lucid and demands to know what happened to her horse - or if other family members find out and are pissed that their stupid cousin killed auntie's pony. Family members, no matter how well-meaning, cannot go around "helping" without authority to do so. If they don't have authority - they should go to court, have the patient declared legally incompetent, and be granted the authority (and responsibility) to manage the patients financial and legal affairs.

                          That sort of thing happens - A LOT. So everyone involved - do yourself a favor and make sure whoever you're dealing with has the power to dispose of assets.

                          Alzheimer's is a terrible thing - but more terrible are family members that start carting off the furniture before the patient's body is cold. Elder abuse is real.

                          Good luck.
                          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                          -Rudyard Kipling

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                          • #33
                            I grew up with Alzheimer's, then had it rear its ugly head again later in life and now it is dementia. It is never easy on the family. Ever.

                            I agree that a little white lie to bring peace is a kindness that will linger long after they are gone. Alzheimer's and Dementia can affect the families more than the patient, leaving wounds long after they are gone.

                            I so wish there was an option to retire the horse somewhere like Sunkissed or Paradigm or some of the others we know well. It sounds like they had a good life together and a honored retirement would be ideal. Unfortunately that isn't always an option. Unless the horse can find a retirement home with a lovely family that is 100% guaranteed (and we know that it wishful thinking in any case) the kind thing to do would be to euthanize. Oh...and to tell the BO to mind his/her own business. If they have a personal stake in it they could do the right thing and board the horse somehow for the rest of its days...otherwise put up or shut up.
                            I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

                            Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.

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                            • #34
                              Not sure if I am following this post correct .. Owner is 87 years old? Nice, We have one that is 85 and boards a 39 year old horse - has not seen the horse in 18 years but the $ for board is there in the mailbox monthly.

                              No problem with our old boarder and old horse minus no quality tack what's the issue here again?

                              They cannot afford to keep thie horse? So, they/you want to euth. him? Or is it strickly the health issue?

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                IMHO, there are two separate issues.

                                Issue/Question #1 is: Should the horse be euth'd? If the answer is yes, then it should be done. If the answer is, "Well, maybe/maybe not....but it would certainly ease up on expenses" then it is a judgment call for the FAMILY to make. We all know how the market is these days....you can certainly try to find a rehome option, but with a horse of that age with medical needs, it is often hard on the horse and they're not easy homes to find.

                                Issue #2 is: What about the owner? When I was working home aide/hospice type care, I had a lot of Alzheimers and dementia patients. One of the things that worked well for me was to keep a notebook. In the notebook, you can date entries and make notes like "So and so was here today and we talked about blah blah blah." and in the case of the horse, "Horse's health is declining and we talked about euthanizing. We agreed to give it a few more weeks, but it is likely to happen soon." and when it happens, "Today, we had to put down Horse. It was very peaceful. blah blah"

                                A journal of this nature kept in full view is often a comfort.

                                Several of my coworkers have used this technique with their aging parents and it has really helped.

                                I don't know how much I'd personally want to be involved in the situation the OP outlined--mostly because I'd not feel like I really had a voice. I think the BO should kind of put up or shut up. If she doesn't feel like it's time for the horse, then let her take it on....but realistically, based on the info here, it sounds like euthing the horse might very well be a reasonable action.
                                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                Might be a reason, never an excuse...

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                                • #36
                                  Well, as a BO I might come across as pretty bossy/angry if someone contacted me about putting an old boarder to sleep in these circumstances. It sucks to have horses in your care for years and then not have any control over their situation when circumstances change.
                                  We are not all evil money grubbers, actually.
                                  www.ncsporthorse.com

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                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by shea'smom View Post
                                    Well, as a BO I might come across as pretty bossy/angry if someone contacted me about putting an old boarder to sleep in these circumstances. It sucks to have horses in your care for years and then not have any control over their situation when circumstances change.
                                    We are not all evil money grubbers, actually.

                                    Uhm, I think there is the option for the BO to have a say so: Taking the old guy.....in reality, no matter how much you do for paying customers, you do not get a say so in what they do with their property. Sucks but that's the current state of affairs.
                                    Originally posted by BigMama1
                                    Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                                    GNU Terry Prachett

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #38
                                      OK, To clarify a few things...The family's concern is 1) The winter is going to be hard on the horse, 2) The cost is becoming prohibitive for boarding, because of owner's own medical expenses, 3) They are concerned she may have a horse accident because he's worked sporadically/can be a handful/her physical condition has deteriorated as well.

                                      The family is her children, 2 in state, 3 out of state. None are really horsepeople. One of them has POA, not sure which one. As far as the owner, she is in a state of the art Alzheimer's/"Memory Care" facility. There is no question of any type of elder abuse/money stealing, etc., concerning this lady. I see her every Sunday at church, and yes, her health is declining. She now has a pretty marked tremor issue, as well, starting (I sit right in back of her during service).

                                      The horse-with his tack, was offered to me, or anyone I could recommend as a good home. I think the way they offered it was as a package deal, to make him more "marketable"...

                                      As I think I said before, my advice was to have a outside (vet) evaluation, if the horses' health is also deteriorating, euthanizing is the best thing. There just aren't homes for the young, sound ones these days.....The family also mentioned "If Mom comes off, then there's the folks who will ask "What were they thinking letting her ride at that age?""

                                      I think hearing the BO's reaction has them confused, they thought perhaps they were doing the right thing. Can't remember if I mentioned it before, BO is a super direct, can be nasty, no-nonsense type. Like everyone else, she doesn't want to lose income either. So, I don't know if her feelings about this are clouded by (board) money, or if she truly feels horse is OK for the winter, and beyond....To me, so many things are on the fence, one way or the other, and it's up to the family to make clear steps toward a definite outcome. No one wants to be "the bad guy".

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        IF the people wanting to euth the horse have the legal power to make the decision and if there is no trusted home available, it seems that euthanasia could be the least bad of a bunch of bad options, especially if the horse requires special care for his Cushings. Certainly it's better than taking the horse to auction or trusting a stranger who promises that oh yes, he'll give the horse a good home.

                                        But whatever happens with the horse, the truth may be too much for the owner to handle at this point. My 84 year old grandmother has advanced Alzheimer's. She's like a child, and just like you don't give your 2 year old kid details that they aren't mature enough to handle, you can't always tell an Alzheimer's patient the full truth. My family learned this the hard way.

                                        Several years ago, my grandfather had to put down their aging little fox terrier Oliver. Grandma would ask over and over again where her dog was, and not only did she get upset every time when told he had died, she started mixing up the dog's death with other events in the distant past. My grandparents lived through WWII in Germany, and evidently Grandma saw some truly horrific things that not even my mother was aware of. She started talking about soldiers shooting Oliver and burning his body and would get very distraught, even think that the soldiers were coming after her next. You absolutely could not convince her that the war was over and there are no soldiers.

                                        So we just started telling her that Oliver was outside and would be back "soon." It was a kindness. Eventually she stopped asking about him altogether, but at least she thought the dog was happily playing in the yard, not being butchered. And if you believe that we'll all see our beloved pets again in the hereafter, telling her that she'll see her pet soon isn't really a lie.

                                        BES
                                        Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
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                                        • #40
                                          I agree with the Very Wise AnnaCrew. Do what is best for the horse, in kindness.
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