Yesterday, when I arrived at the barn, Dulce was in extreme distress. She couldn’t breathe, was foaming at the mouth and was so agitated that she ran about or took to rolling. I called the vet and husband to come immediately.
I suspected this hard choice was coming as she had Cushings, a disease that was not being controlled by Pergolide and diet management. Last year, I suspected she was developing COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease also known as “Heaves” or Recurrent Airway Obstruction) and that was confirmed by the vet who saw her this month.
As the heat and allergy season progressed, so did her pulmonary distress. When the vet examined her, he said it wasn’t Choke (that would have resulted in her foaming from the nostrils and mouth) but that her respiration was in extremely poor condition. He suspected some sort of obstruction, maybe a hematoma. We discussed options but really there was only one real choice for those that truly loved her.
With the property for sale, I had visited with several people who might have taken the ponies. It became crystal clear that 1.) no one would take Dulce (to be clear I wasn’t relinquishing ownership – this was a paid retirement) with all her special health concerns, 2.) what if she passed with these new caretakers? and 3.) if it would be to her best healthy interests to move her (though I wouldn’t have a choice if the property sold) and cause more stress?
When I was waiting for the vet, I watched Dante try to comfort her. He stood with her under their tree and she settled down in his shadow. Before we led her down the path to a final goodbye, both Dancer and Dante came to her individually and said goodbye. Though when I returned hours later, they were calling for her. How to explain?
I knew she was in a lot of pain because she didn’t freak out when husband was leading her (something she would never had allowed if in health). I was fortunate that the vet could come out immediately so she wouldn’t be found dead in a field or left to suffer for hours (I do not live on the property and no horse knowledgeable person does who would call me).
I had already called the pet cremation where we had taken our dogs (one due to old age back last summer, one last month due to cancer) and they agreed to process her for me. I was planning on bringing her body to them in my hatchback but the landowner pulled up and offered his truck. Again, I was lucky she wouldn’t have to lay in a field, rotting, but could be brought to them with care.
I will pick up her ashes Monday and spread them through the pasture.
The first photos are of her when she came to me; the photo below, 5 years later. She was in her early 30’s and being an inbred miniature had several obvious deformities and I’m guessing ones internally also.
She was shy but the sweetest little doll of a pony you could find. She had a special sound she made (again – those deformities in the mouth and probably the throat that resulted in her condition) when I would arrive, calling to me in a tone that was so adorable (it always sounded like “hey human, glad to see you”).
She went easily, ready to run over that Rainbow Bridge and be free from pain.
May you and Tristan graze the fields and run with joy. I’m sure he’ll let you share his food, those big horses love you so much.
Such a precious bright little light.
Sweet little Star.
Thank you for being with us.