I know it has been a while since I have written, and for that I apologize. Life brings with it many changes, and for me, those changes meant an absolute lack of free time. The farm has been running smoothly, the horses and all of the rescues are doing well. I just haven't had a chance to update our site.
But tonight I'm asking - no, I'm begging - for your help.
Two nights ago, our dear Faith was eating her dinner in her paddock. She seemed content and enjoying the cool breeze after what was a fairly hot day. Two hours after dark I went out to check on her and found her down on her side and lathered in sweat.
As you know, Faith has always had a difficult time getting back onto her feet. Apparently Friday night was worse. Struggling to get her hind end underneath her, she exhausted herself.
When I approached her, she turned her head to see me. My heart sank. I checked her out - no gut sounds and a heart murmur so loud I almost didn't need the stethescope. A good friend of mine turned the truck lights on so we could see her, while I ran to the barn for Banamine. It had worked each time before, so it was just the matter of three or four minutes until she jumped to her feet.
While we waited, I sponged her off to cool her down and called the vet. She was an hour away.
Five, ten, fifteen minutes passed. Nothing. A half hour. Nothing. I hooked her lead to her halter and gave her a tug. She moved her legs a bit, but didn't attempt to move. This wasn't like her at all - she had been a fighter since day one. I walked towards her head and did something I didn't want to do, but knew would work - I smacked her in the nose.
It was enough to piss her off and get her out of whatever mood she was in, yet I still felt horrible. She whipped her head up off the ground and sat upright. I pulled her front legs out in front of her as she was too weak to do so. With another smack on the butt, she lunged forward and attempted to get her hind legs underneath her. It didn't work; after a minute she began trembling, and we let her lay back down.
For the next half hour we let her rest. The vet showed up and evaluated her. Since she had been down on her right side for at least two hours, she suggested rolling her over. Two leadropes and three strong people slowly flipped her onto her left side. Faith sat up, and then stopped again. Another quick flick on the nose and she lunged to her feet, this time making it up.
She stood there trembling for a few minutes, quite shaky on her old legs. Dr. Eldredge listened to her heart and gut sounds, and sure as heck they were normal again.
We slowly brought her into the barn and into a stall. She was obviously quite sore from the ordeal, but she eagerly inhaled a grain mash and munched on her hay.
That was two days ago...
Tonight things took a bad turn. Faith is extremely weak throughout her hips, so much that she is actually walking crooked. She seems mentally aware of what is going on around her, but unable to control her hind end.
I am heartbroken.
I'm not really sure what to think at this point. It could be a neurological problem, it could be a fracture from Friday night, it could be a dislocated joint. I'm not really sure. Thankfully Dr. Barnes is coming out tomorrow around 4pm to look at her and let me know what he thinks.
I have always said that when the time comes and she is no longer comfortable, that I would do the right thing and let her pass peacefully. And I will - I made that promise to her an hour after I met her. And I know it's going to hurt just the same whether it's now or a year from now, but it's going to be so difficult to make that decision.
Of course it's pure selfishness on my part, but she's one special animal who is going to be very hard to say goodbye to. She has changed the lives of so many people, and countless other animals, just by fighting to overcome what she was put through. And for that, she's a hero. My hero.
Please keep her in your thoughts.