Yesterday our vet visit was a sad one, three lives were put to sleep. The hardest for me, Notch. I wanted to share his story with those who don’t know it.
Notch came to us with a group of 9 others from Tennessee 2.5 years ago. We knew from photos his hooves were terrible, but did not realize just how bad they were until his arrival. He also had signs of been beaten. He was not used to being handled, but would be as kind as possible while you worked with him. He also would tremble, to the point his teeth would chatter. Radiographs of course showed coffin bone issues (disintegration) and his whole body was “off” from years of compensation from trying to keep the weight off of his front.
He was so fearful of people hurting him, I didn’t want that fear to be going through his head while he was euthanized. So, through great vet and farrier work, Notch’s will to continue, and the belief that we could keep him comfortable he became the “yard donkey” for his first 6 months with us. (We were actually able to get him so he was able to walk almost completely normal, on the bottom of his feet instead of the out sides of his cornet band.) He had the ability to not have to be pushed around by other donkeys and wander into our deep sand barn as he felt he needed. The first time he ran along the fence line with some of the donkeys I will never forget. I also will never forget the day we realized we could catch and work with him and he was not trembling. Or the first time he stood in the pasture and enjoyed scratches. This past summer got harder and harder for him to remain comfortable and he was usually seen laying down, so I came to the hard decision that it was now time.
Working as a veterinarian technician for years and then having rescue animals for years I’ve dealt with many many deaths and have learned to “swallow away” the sadness, but the thought of “Notch’s day” since his arrival has made me cry. Writing about him and his euthanasia makes me cry, and thinking about the human that let him get this way makes me angry.
Also, no less irrelevant in their death, Maize, who came to us in April with the group of 16 as an emaciated, clubbed footed Jenny with a vaginal and reoccurring sinus infection. I had recently noticed her seeming more lame on her club foot and treating abscess. Farrier felt she should not be lame, which made me suspect internal foot issues. Xrays yesterday revealed my worry-severe coffin bone changes. And then Calpone- who was scheduled awhile back to be euthanized due to severe arthritis in his shoulder from body compensation for his broken coffin bone. We had hoped because of his small, light weight size we could get him comfortable, so the euthanasia was postponed, until yesterday. To those three lives, I am sorry we could not do more.
The photo is Notch's feet at intake.