It is with great sadness that we report that Clyde/Cullen has passed away. Clyde has been with us since February of this year (just a few months). We rescued him and another horse, Bonnie/Haven, from a truly horrible situation. They had been starved and neglected for a very long time. We weren’t certain if they would even live a few months, but with a lot of love and care, they started improving.
We lost Bonnie this summer from a stroke, but Clyde seemed to be doing well except for a bit of an issue with his stifle. We changed his medication and he started to improve. This past month, however, he started to limp on his right front leg, and he was having issues getting up and lying down. We tried changing his medication again to see if that would help, but it was obvious that he was still in a lot of pain, and we finally had to make the very difficult decision to say goodbye.
Last week the volunteers who had been caring for Clyde did a small celebration of life for him, telling him how much love he brought to their lives. He would stand next to each person as they told him what he brought to their life. Everyone tried to stay positive and tell him how much they cared about him, so he would know he was loved.
It was a quiet afternoon and the weather was actually cool when we took him out for the last time. Although he was in pain and was limping, he still pulled Elizabeth out of the stall as she walked him over to the small grassy area. It is always a difficult decision to make- we don’t want the horses to be in so much pain that they are miserable, or can’t get up, and we don’t want to take any days from them, either. The vet, however, agreed that it was the right time, and said that it appeared that he had other internal issues that were going on, so there was really nothing else we could do for him.
At the end, there was Elizabeth, Kelley (one of our board members), and the vet surrounding him, and we made sure to tell him how much we loved him and that he was a very good boy. Licorice, the little pony who was next to him, was very upset when we took him out of his stall, so we brought her over so she could see that he had passed. She sniffed him a few times, then her demeanor changed and she seemed to know he was gone, and she settled down. Kelley took her over to her house so she could be around other horses, and Licorice began flirting with Kelley’s new horse she had adopted last month. Some horses definitely live in the moment.
We are so sad to have lost both Bonnie and Clyde this year, but hopefully they are in some afterlife, running around together. If nothing else, we provided the last months of their lives with plenty of food, love, and care. They knew that people cared about them and wanted the best for them. Some people may wonder whether it was worth the time and money to care for horses who might just die in a few months anyway- but our philosophy is that we are there to provide love and care for horses who need help- we don’t differentiate between horses who might be adopted or horses who need hospice care. Instead of dying by being starved or being shot in the head by the previous owner (both of which the owner attempted), we were able to give these two many months of constant love and care, and, eventually, a noble and respectful ending. In the end, sometimes that’s all we can do.