Need a cuddle and someone much braver than I to tell me what to expect/do

meleeka

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14 September 2001
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I think you sound like a caring owner and all will become clear what you should do next when the time comes.

With regards to the actual act, I don’t want to see my horses on the floor, so I agreed with my vet that at some point during the process I would just walk away, get in my car and go. The vet generally takes the leading rein anyway, so both times i’ve done it i’ve had my car parked at the gate ready and walked away once the injection has gone in. I didn’t look back, just got in my car. I was there until they didn’t know anything (both were sedated first) and I’m pretty sure both fell when I was still near them. My friend then took over and waiting for the body to be collected. Oddly enough i’ve held a couple of friends horses and didn’t mind seeing them go, but I just didn’t want that memory of my own.
 

Birker2020

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18 January 2021
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This is my story.

I had my horse pts on the 1st June this year and not a day goes by when I don't think of her. I'd had her for nearly 17 years from a 7yr old. The hardest part for me was booking her in, because the receptionist was so lovely to me and knew how much she meant and I could hear she was upset on the phone too bless her.

We had a fantastic last week together over the long bank holiday weekend and this was something I didn't for one minute think I would be able to do, I thought once the decision had been made that would be it, but I was surprised how well I coped, but then I've always been a strong person for what I've had to deal with in my life and all the things that have happened. We never cried once in front of her, if I felt myself well up I would walk away. I can honestly say hand on heart she didn't know what her fate was.

On my horses last morning we took down the strip grazing, and the grass was up to her cannon bones. We gave her an hour on there as we felt any longer and she could get colic, I think we timed it very well. When the other horses came in she was getting unsettled so we took her out of her paddock and led her down the path, my partner gave her a big drink of water from his hands which I filmed and then one of the liveries took a few photos of her with us, I'd taken loads of her the last week some of which I used in a video I made of her for FB.

When the vet arrived it was calm and unhurried, we had a chat for a few minutes then he drove round the back of the building and met us there. I asked if we could pts in the field away from everyone and he agreed that this would be great, neither of us wanted to put her in the indoor school where all the other horses were put down over the years.

It really helped that she has a visible injury, xrays had showed advanced Navicular and seeing her so lame even on 3 bute (this was for her last week) made us realise that we'd had no choice, having spent in excess of £30k on her over the years, mainly for joint issues we knew we'd done everything we could for her and we'd reached the end of the road.

So we led her to the field. I said to the vet that I would hold her but I didn't want my last memory of her to be falling to the ground abruptly so we would both look away. The vet gave us a get out clause and said to go and stand behind the trailers, he had a special way of dealing with horses in letting them fall gently, so because I was in deep shock, I remember I couldn't hand over the rope and get away quick enough, I never even said anything to her or gave her a pat, but that was my way of dealing with it and we'd said our goodbyes about 100 times by then anyway and there was nothing else to say.

My partner was already stood behind the trailer sobbing, and I joined him. This is my only regret about the whole thing, that I wondered if she had been looking out for us, wondering why we were hiding from her, was she alarmed to hear us sobbing whilst she was left alone with the vet, that we deserted her. But whatever way we did it we would think about it, but we are only human and we'd held it together for her for weeks. About a minute later we heard a small snort, heard a big thud and she was gone. We waited for a couple of minutes then went to see her. We left before the wagon arrived to collect her as we didn't want to see it. The vet waited for it to arrive.

It was the perfect end for such an amazing horse who I loved with all my heart. But the overwhelming relief that I didn't have to see her struggle anymore (she'd only been struggling since around 22nd May when the vets had been trying to resolve the issue which initially presented as an abscess) was such a release and I basically rested for the first time in years. The emotional, physical and financial strain had been horrific and I truly know I did the right thing. It helped that my precious Dad had passed away in December 2017 from bone cancer and I'd seen him in such pain and distress and to know that I could give my horse a humane and painless death made it all the better for me.

I hope my story helps. I hope you stay strong OP. I cut off some of her tail that morning as a momento but I can't face touching it, its still in a box in my boot. Her headcollar I will keep, she was very protective over her head collar. But that's a story for another time.

I will always have a special place in my heart for Bailey, but I am looking forward to doing all the things I used to do on Bails with my next horse. Take care and please feel free to PM if you want to chat xx
 
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Hello Violetstripe so sorry to hear about your situation. I’m not a horse owner so I don’t wish to make assumptions but I have had loads of other animals. They become part of the family, as important in your life as another human. I’ve often had to make the choice of elective euthanasia and it is so hard. But when I’ve doubted and thought, maybe I should just hang on a bit longer, I remember the wise words of my wonderful vet: If you keep an animal going, you have to ask who you’re doing it for. Even though I’ve still been desperately sad, it has reminded me that I am doing the right thing for the animal and preventing further suffering. Personally I have always stayed with them at the end as I feel I owe it to them to be with them and see them on their way. Another thing you could do if it would help is to make a photo book - a book of memories. You just get together photos from your phone or computer and send them off to Photobox or Vistaprint to make them into a book for you. Then you have a book of memories for ever. I hope that helps.
 

Trouper

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11 May 2015
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A lot of the advice and experiences related here reflect my own and I, too, would keep everything non-consumable until my head was entirely clear on how I wanted the future to unfold.

It is impossible for anyone else to put themselves entirely in your shoes so only you can decide if you want to be there at the end. With both my horses and all dogs and cats I had to be there - yes, for them but also for me because I want to know that mine was the last face they saw and the last voice they heard and that I will know exactly how those last moments went for them. However, please don't stay to see a horse removed.

This last point may sound really harsh but, if you and your vet have made the decision, I would not drag it out for weeks. This period "in-between" is the hardest on you and, much as you may feel you are holding things together, we all know how sensitive horses are to the slightest change in our emotions and he may well pick up on your unhappiness.

You both have different journeys to begin now and it needs a brave person to take that first step but know that you have company on here who understand how awful this all is.
 

Denbob

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11 September 2017
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VS I really am very sorry. Echoing other posters in how lucky your horse is to have such a considerate and caring owner.

I put my boy to sleep last summer, financially I wasn't in a position to get another one and actually a break to reassess whether horses were really what I wanted to dedicate my life to has been the best decision I made since buying him. In that time I've yo-yo'd dramatically from "I need another one tomorrow" to "I never so much as want to sit on another one again" and have settled somewhere on "one day if it's right". I kept shoes and all of his tail, sold the expensive stuff like the saddle and rugs but kept his browband, headcollar, bit and one rug that was particularly sentimental. I also had a friend come with me on the day and we got some lovely photos. Couldn't stay for the deed, he'd been at full livery so was used to me not being around and I knew if I saw the lorry come in I'd completely break down. I did sit with him on my own for a while and cried, he came and rested his nose on my head and fell asleep in a treat coma from all the carrots and polos.

There are no hard and fast rules, give yourself time and space and be kind to yourself. Take time off work if you can/need and remember you did the best you could.
 

Annagain

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10 December 2008
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VS, I'm so sorry you're facing this. It's such a personal thing and there's no right or wrong.

My old man (at least 25) also has melanomas and has done for 14 years - probably longer as the majority are in his sheath so were probably hidden for a long time before they were big enough for us to see them. The first one we saw appeared around his anus and he's actually grown that much in 14 years but the ones in his sheath have. At the moment he shows no signs of having any internally - he's eating well, bright, a very good weight, wintered very well last year (his first year of retirement) with no rug. He also has arthritis, which led to his retirement but is field sound (in fact, the soundest he's been for years) and is very happy with his lot. I too have thought long and hard about whether to do the deed before it becomes an emergency but (and these circumstances feel right for me in my situation, I don't for one second suggest they're right for anyone else) as he seems so very happy, as things stand I feel like I'd be bumping him off for my convenience. I don't feel there's any suffering for me to end at the moment. The second that changes though, I'm prepared and I have a plan. This helps me to deal with it.

In terms of the actual day, again it's such a personal thing that nobody can advise you - just share their experience. I was with my old boy when he was PTS. It was an emergency due to colic (he was 27 but very healthy until that morning) and already down in his stable so he went via injection, with his head in my lap. There was a bit of spasming but it was generally very peaceful and I'm glad I was there. I'm also glad I never had to make the decision, he looked after me to the end and made it for me. The decision is by far the hardest part, I think.

I've also been with two friends' horses when they went - again via injection - and both were peaceful too. They were standing but I didn't find them going down traumatic, they just sort of crumpled rather than anything dramatic. I was pleased to offer them a familiar face (I dealt with both a lot) and that the last thing they heard was me telling them how much their owners loved them. I intend to be there for Archie but I'm realistic enough to know I may be a mess and that won't be helpful to him so I have a backup plan too. Again, I'm realistic enough to know my plan might have to change for many reasons so I'm not totally wedded to it. The only non-negotiable is it must be injection and my reasoning is probably very different from others'. For me, it's because Archie is white grey and I can't bear the thought of him being bloodstained. It's not your average reason, I'm sure, but it's how I feel. I know there'll be a bit of blood with the needle but a lot less and it won't be on his beautiful face.

I was already toying with the idea of getting another when Eb died as he was semi retired. Within three weeks, I was looking and it took me two months to find Archie. I already have Charlie now so that's not a decision I have to make this time round.

I didn't keep anything of Ebony's. None of his things fitted Archie and I'm not sentimental about 'stuff'. His things weren't him and didn't make me feel closer to him, I don't need to look at something belonging to him to remember him. Charlie already has Archie's saddle, rugs and travel kit so I'll be keeping them but only as they're useful. I did have Eb's ashes returned but they took a long time to come back. I was just starting to deal with it all and it set it all off again for me so it wasn't helpful and I wouldn't do it again. In fact, I accidentally ended up with my dog's ashes when we lost him - I was crying, said no but vet thought I said yes - and 15 years on they're still in a box in the cupboard as I don't know what to do with them.
 
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