To backtrack a little, in 2013 it became apparent that Miss Jen was fast losing her eyesight. She had April as her seeing eye mini, but even with April as her eyes, Jen was becoming increasingly fearful.
Jen was fearful of sounds, that she couldn't orient to where they were coming from or what they were. I feared she would run through a fence and tear herself up, or run straight into the side of the barn and break her neck. she was becoming jumpy and nervous, and would jump into you for comfort if something startled her.
I was only 1 year post-divorce, and also unemployed. One of April's herdmates, Whinney, who was a 30+ year old pony, was fast losing weight. She was fed buckets and buckets of soaked hay cubes, balancer, rice bran, as much as she could possibly eat. She was becoming not-herself, meaning her spark and attitude was gone. It was clear that Whinney was coming to the end of her life. She began colicing with barometric shift. She would wander out back and get herself stuck in deep snow needing to be rescued. I was afraid she would go down in the snow or ice and freeze to death. Jen was constantly coming up with scrapes and injuries from stepping on things, tripping over things, walking into things. I once watched Jen walk through the woods and onto a giant outcropping of ledge. she got to the end of it, and as I'm running across the paddock to guide her, she came to the end and just stepped off about a 3 foot drop. How she didn't tumble and fall I have no idea, but she didn't.
With innumerable tears, and heartache, and "what-if's" and conversations about best options, I finally decided that it was best to have Jen euthanized to avoid a catastrophic injury. As Whinney was fast declining and it was only a matter of time, and to make my grief so much more heartwrenching but easier on Jen and Whinney, I decided to let them both go at the same time.
It was April of 2014, I had just started a new job. I wanted to complete this horrible task before the town Fireworks that are lit about a mile from my farm, I had horrible visions of Jen getting upset at the noise and breaking her neck or tangling herself up in fencing. Luckily my boss was a horse person (a horrible person, I didn't realize at the time, but she did understand the connection to animals). I kept breaking down at work in the days leading up to the date.
I had Pam Sourelis of www.wingedhorsehealing.com talk to Jen and Whinney before the date. Pam has spoken to Jen in the past. I wanted them to know what I planned. Jen said she was afraid, Whinney said she was ready, and would guide Jen along the path. So it was decided that Whinney would go first to lead the way for Jen.
And that is what we did. We led them both out to the gravesite together. Whinney went first, very peacefully, she was obviously ready to go. Jen was a bit nervous, but a good girl. She went relatively peacefully as well. As the solution reached her heart and stopped it, and Jen crumpled to the ground, and let out her last breath (as heavy animals do when they hit the ground), my vet told me that it was the right decision for both of them, even Jen who was only 16 years old. From the odor from her last breath, the vet felt she either had kidney or liver failure and would not have lived a long healthy life. It didn't alleviate the pain, but made the decision itself a little bit easier to bear.
|Jen's last day|
Both Jen and Whinney are still missed terribly, every single day. A day doesn't go by that I don't miss them both. In Jen's case, all the hindsight, the anger at her former owner who allowed an animal to suffer like this, and who continues to allow them to suffer all these years later, Jen's own daughters and grand-babies, still starved and neglected and abused. My hands are tied. She keeps getting away with it, keeps hiding, moving, making excuses, crying the victim, over and over and over again. And the animals suffer, it is only the animals that suffer.
I still see Jen in her sister Lakota, who is now 21 years old and boarded with April the mini who is now 20. They've been part of my life for 14 and 18 years respectively. My kids never knew life without them. If only I had gotten to her sooner, if only I had read the writing on the wall, if only I had better connections, if only .....