How long did it take you to 'get over' PTS?

Baywonder

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Oh gosh - how long is a piece of string......

I lost my old boy many, many years ago. He was my horse of a lifetime, and as @Cheeky Chestnut has already said, when I lost him, a piece of my heart went with him too. Even now, 20+ years later, I can still cry over losing him at the drop of a hat.

In a way, the more your horse meant to you, the deeper the hoofprints they leave in your heart. Some hoofprints are so deep they will never wear away. Ever.
 

TPO

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A ray of sunshine 🌞
I'm 10.5yrs down the line from losing TPO and still not over it/made peace with it.

In this case the vet was wrong with prognosis so it should never have happened. I guess that's what I cant make peace with or move on from.

I've lost 5 other horses in my lifetime and been upset about them all and regretted getting to that point but it doesnt even come close to TPO. Its just something that I have to live with. I try to avoid seeing her pictures or talking about her and that helps.

Sorry, not very helpful but you're definitely not alone.
 

Ditchjumper2

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I lost my bou unexpectedly and quickly just before Christmas. Over the many years I have had horses I have obviously sadly had a few pts. In the early days was desperately upset, didnt want to go to the field or stables, not easy when you keep them at home!

What changed it for me was having cancer. I Iost my wonderful mare the day I returned to work. I was obviously very upset but it was not the same. It was the same before Christmas I had been seriously ill then when we lost him again very upset but not the same. I think it's the realisation that whilst horses can be replaced people can't and life does go on.

Also the more horses you have over the years then whilst you are not hardened to it, it is part of owning horses.

I appreciate that everyone is different but try to look to the future x
 

honetpot

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Grief is a funny old thing, my friend seems to think because I do not cry at any anniversary, picture etc, my grief is less than hers. Everyone grieves is different ways, and as long it's not making someone unwell, or unable to function its takes as long as it takes. I like to channel it in to something positive, when one horse died unexpectedly I took on an unwanted pony, when old ponies die I have to think about the good times, and make a space for something else. Loving or thinking something else doesn't mean you love them less.
There are some things in life that never go, but they fade, but you have to allow them to heal, and try and avoid picking the scab.
 

Flicker

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IM, I am so sorry to hear you are struggling with grief. 3 months is a short time and we all process loss in very different ways. Don’t forget, you went through a tremendously difficult time before losing your precious boy, and you had to actively make the decision to have him PTS. While it was absolutely the right thing to do, this will add an extra layer to your grief that may not necessarily have been there had the decision been taken completely out of your hands.

There is no right or wrong time frame to move through loss. However you are feeling is 100% right and appropriate for you.

For me, recovery has been in stages, and I totally did the denial, bargaining, anger, sadness, acceptance cycle. For about 6 months, I wanted nothing at all to do with horses, sold a lot of my stuff and generally shut off that part of me. I threw myself into do a lot of other things instead.

Then, around June last year, I suffered a really severe burnout at work and drastically reduced my hours for a couple of months. A friend was struggling to keep her horse exercised and I grudgingly agreed to half an hour a week once local lockdown restrictions permitted it. This has continued where circumstances have allowed. At the moment, I get enough horse fix to still feel like I’m a ‘horse person’ but without the commitment or emotional attachment.

Only lately have I begun to think about getting another but definitely not for another at least 6 months and only if I can fit it in around work, and only if I have managed to save a ‘throw everything at it’ veterinary fund of at least £5k on top of a healthy purchase price. So, realistically, probably not for about another 18 months, unless I win the lottery... This is my way of finding a bit of control - when I was trying to get my mare sound I felt very out of control of the situation and very limited by what I could fund and what insurance could pay for (and it runs out very quickly).

I would say, what I have learnt, is to be very gentle and forgiving to yourself, acknowledge how you are feeling and act on that, don’t put yourself under any pressure to feel or act in a certain way, and try to find something that is meaningful for you and you get a sense of accomplishment from (even if it is just perfecting your banana bread lol).

Sending big hugs xx
 

scats

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I’ve had to put a fair number of horses to sleep over the years, but I will admit that losing Diva in 2018 was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I miss her so much that I feel like a piece of me is missing, like an ache that I can’t heal. Seeing pictures of her still devastates me, to be honest.
I’m not sure I’ll ever get over losing her, she was my soul mate.

Sending a big hug x
 

Flame_

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This is a weird one for me. I owned Flame for 20 years. I got her when she was 12 and I was 13. She was always a bit arthritic but it never actually bothered her and she was the sharpest, most alert, alive creature all her life. She was not supposed to be old. When she was 32 I saw her fail to get up after rolling on the first attempt. She made it second time but I phoned the vet and had her pts the next week. I think I mainly learned how to try to live and behave from Flame, she was like my idol but having her put down was one of the easier things I've had to do with horses and I don't remember it affecting me much at all.

When my last horse had to be put down with colic age nine it really got to me. He was the opposite of Flame - fragile, trusting and he let you know how much he depended on you to take care of him. I felt, and still feel like I let him down badly. I don't think you get over it when it's partly your fault they need pts. I'm still angry with myself for losing other young horses that might have had different outcomes with different management.

I still buy horses though. I need a horse for happiness, but I don't ever want a really soft, totally genuine one again, I plan to try to stick with riding horses that put up with me as long as I feed them, it enables a sort of detachment and I get along well with them.
 
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I lost two horses in 4 years, one 17 year old that I still obsess at times over whether I could have done more for - but in reality I was a 17 year old who was set up to fail with a completely broken horse given to me. The other was a 7yo who has serious Navicular. I didn’t own a horse for two years after I lost my second as he really was ‘my horse’ who I loved the bones of. I miss him everyday but look at old photos with remembered joy mostly, some sadness. As everyone has said, grief isn’t linear, take your time and listen to your gut. There’s no shame in not being okay. You made the right choices and did what you could, so don’t beat yourself up.
 

JoannaC

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When I lost my original arab mare the grief was just as intense as when I lost my mother. It would still hit me sometimes over a year later. Strangely my old boy that I lost in October I was at peace with almost straight away. I think because he was older maybe but I can look at his pictures and the memories that come up on FB with pleasure whereas the cat that got run over still feels like a knife through the heart when he pops up on my memories. Grief is a strange thing but time does help.
 

Kamikaze

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I don’t know if harder is the right word but I think loosing them when they are younger is different. Sultan was 38. He had had such a long good life. We had worried for a couple of years really about him and then he took the decision from us and it was “easier”. We were all devastated but could look back that he was old and it was his time.

Minto was 21 and the 2 things I took comfort was that he was back with his pair bins sultan and that he would never have been him to be a wee old man. Whereas sultan suited being a wee old man indulging the grandchildren.

Soli was 10 and I felt too young. I still think maybe that day of his accident we should have called it a day instead of putting him through what we did. But I guess then I would be thinking “I wish I had given him a chance”. But when it came to it and he relapsed badly we had already made the decision that it would happen if he deteriorated.
 

catembi

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I lost Catembi in 2007 and got 'stuck' in grief. At my old house, the neighbours had let the previous owners graze on their large, overgrown garden for years (without incident) & said that we could do the same. I didn't realise that the land was contaminated by their septic tank & as a result, Cat got protein losing enteropathy and after a 6 month battle which I thought we'd won, I lost him. I am autistic & process emotions with difficulty; what happened was that I blamed myself for the whole thing, so (subconsciously) thought that I *deserved* to feel bad forever because of what I'd done. I was stuck until last year, when I worked on it with an Aspie friend who finally helped me to see that it wasn't my fault. So with the guilt separated from the grief, it sorted itself out. I still keep his photos in a box and would never put them where I could see them. What happened was still an awful tragedy and I do not need to be reminded about it all the time. I have stopped crying every time I think of him, which I am pleased about as it seemed a waste of the brilliant times we had.

Probably not of much use to anyone else as my brain is wired backwards.
 

Asha

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I really appreciate everyone sharing their stories and kind words. I think it's the fact he was young like a few people have said that makes it extra difficult.
i totally understand this. Harry was 9. I still feel guilty, still question the vets advice, still look for things i could have done or a treatment that he could have had. I spoke to all the vets at the practise, plus sent his xrays off to newmarket all of them agreed that he had to be PTS. But i still question it. I have a photo of him the day before he went,he looked beautiful. It still feels so wrong.
Sorry i cant be of any help,but be assured you are not alone in how you feel x
 

Southern

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22 October 2012
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I’m 12 months down the line after having my horse pts for a medical reason. I thought I was prepared.
I tried to make it ok for everyone where I thought she might fall. I thought she might buckle at the knees and pitch forward or fall stiffly and hard to either side. Horrible either way but I was prepared for that. Not what actually happened. Sedated she was given the injection and had a violent reaction. She ran backwards and flung herself into a backward somersault smashing against the barn wall. I heard something inside break. I think it was her back. I’m still haunted by that. I was never told it might happen and I’ve never heard of any one else experiencing that. I’m still shocked and have a tack room full of her wardrobe I can’t look at. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that.
 

FinnishLapphund

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Sometimes I can feel both guilt, and sorrow, over things I did, or didn't do, and second guess decisions I made regarding my pets that are gone.
Like the crossbreed bitch I had to euthanise 1993 when she was only around 2 years old due to inherited problems. Was there really nothing more I could have done? (Went through 3 dog obedience classes, visited both different veterinarians, and dog behaviourists, which couldn't help her, but maybe if I had tried...)

With the years, I think of her less often, and when I do think of her, I'm mostly glad, and grateful for what I learnt through her. If negative What if/Why didn't I thoughts come up in my head, I let them be there for awhile, then I stop, and tells myself that I did the best I could then and there.

Or the 4 moggy cats we had to euthanise due to FIP awhile later in 1993. FIP is actually a mutated version of feline Coronavirus (FCoV), and 3 of them, Felix, Lotta, and Lumi, were euthanised on the same day. Because tests made after that Zorro had to be euthanise due to FIP, showed that they had too high levels of FCoV.

At that time, my veterinarian believed that if we had let them live, Dolly our Persian cat who was not infected with FCoV, would also get it. Also at the time, they believed that high levels of FCoV meant that those cats definitely would develop FIP. (As far as I know, FIP is still a terminal, and untreatable disease.)

The really sad part is that had it happened today, maybe we wouldn't have had to euthanise Felix, Lotta, and Lumi. Maybe we could have tried to isolate them from Dolly, and each other, and waited a bit longer to see if they really did develop FIP.
My heart hurts when I think of it, my eyes are teary as I write this, but you know what @IrishMilo , you really only can do the best you can then and there.

We acted according to what my veterinarians knew about FIP in 1993, and that they know more now, doesn't change what they knew back then. Perhaps tomorrow, or 10 years from now, you will hear about something which makes you think that it could have changed things if you had known it then. But that will not change the fact that you did the best you could then and there.


I've said it before on HHO, that I think of my heart as house, where all the pets I've owned, and currently owns, have their own little room. When one dies/is euthanised, they leave a hole in my life behind. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later, I find that a new empty room have appeared in my heart, which I want to fill.
So when I get a new pet, they don't move in to the old one's room, they get their very own new room.

{{{{{{Hugs}}}}}}

By the way, we were known for years afterwards at my veterinarian clinic as The family who sadly had to euthanise all those cats on the same day.
 

windand rain

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I agree my boy was only 6 when he was killed. It was made much worse when someone unwittingly gave me the gory details. The driver died too either before he hit him or just after of a stroke. It was that his whole future was ahead of him, he was a promising show jumper (part of why he died he jumped out over a 6ft fence) that made me very sad. It is always the loss of future that is so upsetting when the young are unable to live in our world They dont miss it but we have hopes and dreams that are torn away
 

Pearlsasinger

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I lost 3 young horses in succession , one, 6 yrs and 2 x 11 yrs. I still have to tell myself that we did what we could according to veterinary knowledge/advice at the time. I also have to tell myself that if I had been able to keep the first one, I wouldn't have known the others. And then I wouldn't have known the Westphalian who had one of the biggest personalities ever.
 

daffy44

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I'm so sorry for everyone who has had to go through such sad times, unfortunately it is part of loving animals in our lives, grief is the price we pay for that love.

I'm not sure you ever "get over" the loss, you just learn to live with it, and grief is a very individual thing, but I think however you process it three months is no time at all.

I have lived long enough to have had some amazing animals in my life, and therefore I have also had animals pts, and I do think there is a difference between the ones you lose because it is the end of a long, happy life, and the ones you lose too soon, either through illness or accident. I hesitate to say better or worse because I'm not sure how to quantify such loss, but in my experience it definitely feels different.
 

Boulty

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3 months isn't that long a time so it's perfectly normal for it all to still feel a bit raw right now.

It took me years (& going to hell & back with the next horse) to accept the loss of the pony I had as a teenager / into early 20s. I lost my job because I just wasn't functioning properly either in the lead up to losing him & the immediate period after (there were other issues & I'd also taken a hard whack to the head not long before starting the job which maybe jiggled my brain about more than I thought at the time but it was a definite contributing factor). For several years I'd've had him back & waved the Welsh Idiot goodbye in a heartbeat. (There was one particular moment sat around a fire with newly made friends getting slightly drunk & a newly rehabbed Welsh dragon sat in a stable nearby when someone suggested a toast to our "horses of a lifetime"... Let's just say I wasn't toasting the pony in the stable)

When I lost the Welsh one a few years ago I felt slightly more at peace with the decision as I'd felt the last few years fighting fires on all fronts (I believe the analogy I used to use was riding a unicycle along a tightrope juggling chainsaws that were on fire!) & we were both tired of fighting by the end. Doesn't mean I didn't / don't miss him but it felt more like the "right" thing.

I'd still love "one more ride" on either of them but time does make it a little easier
 

scats

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I really appreciate everyone sharing their stories and kind words. I think it's the fact he was young like a few people have said that makes it extra difficult.
Yes, I think that’s true. I was devastated to lose my JA pony, but she was 27 and we’d had a brilliant time together and she’d had a very busy life. It was easier to make peace with.
Diva was 10 and should have had so many years ahead of her.
 

BronsonNutter

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It took a very very very long time to get over losing my first horse to colic. I still miss him dearly and would love nothing more than for him to still be here, but now when I think of him it's of all the good times, the times he was naughty, his absolute attitude, and just the thought of him makes me smile. I'm not quite sure how long it took to get to that point. Definitely a few years. There was also a bit of guilt mixed in early on as he had colic, I couldn't stop him rolling, and I thought for around 2 years (until I was at vet school and found out otherwise) that by not being able to stop him rolling I'd caused his gut to twist. Realising that it wasn't my fault, nothing that I had caused, helped a lot.

I think it is much harder to come to terms with losing a horse when you have had to make that choice to put them to sleep than it is in an emergency situation, such as a colicking horse that is too sick to operate on or too painful to travel to the vets, or an irrepairable fracture. Those are a shock but the guilt afterwards, the questioning of your decision, is much less. If you're really struggling there are people you can talk to - https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-bereavement-and-pet-loss or https://www.bhs.org.uk/our-work/wel...nds-at-the-end/with-you-every-step-of-the-way
 

ILuvCowparsely

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I feel like I'm going backwards in terms of my grief rather than finding it easier. Horse was PTS three months ago and initially I felt relatively fine but the more time goes on, the more I miss him, question whether I did enough and just cry at the drop of a hat - I can't even look at pics. I know grief isn't linear but is this 'normal'? How long did it take you to process the loss of a horse you REALLY loved and feel OK about it? I thought I would buy another one straight away but I haven't even been looking really.
Grief is one of those things, it is hard to come to terms with, I still my love late mare more than I value my own life, as I do others I have lost. I guess like the song Forever Autumn, I will stay in Autumn as I will never get over them,
they are in my mind and heart every day. I treasure the time I have with them and love this song, as it is hard to say goodbye I love this song so poignant
 

Kat Slater

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I get a lump in my throat whenever I think of my mare who was pts age 20 with grass sickness when in otherwise good health and hacking out regularly. It was a horrible call to make. The feeling doesn’t go for me but I guess less things trigger it by now. I waited a year to ‘replace’ her.

Having said that I know I’ll have to pts my 9yo this year before next winter & I’m dreading going through the whole thing again even though it will have been over 3 years since I pts my old mare. I think about her a lot now due to this current situation.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to move on or get over it or you’ll only end up upset AND frustrated.
 
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