When is it time?

Well, this is a post I didn’t exactly plan to write today. But, I have some thoughts I need to work out on paper and maybe I’ll start here vs a series of separate emails.

The question is always when is it time? How do you know when it’s time? When do you say enough is enough? I’m not doing this anymore! He’s had enough. He’s ready? It’s an easy decision in theory. I always say when there are more bad days then good days, it’s time. 

But in practice? In practice it’s harder.

Batt was an easy decision. There wasn’t a decision. He was slipping away before us and in so much pain and had ruptured and there was no saving him. The best we could do was to end the suffering. 

Hayley was harder. She was 14. But, she was wasting away. It didn’t matter what you fed her, all the nutrients just came right out. The decision just felt right despite a group of people around me encouraging me to try more and more treatments that never worked for her mystery condition. It hurt like hell, but it wasn’t hard. Harder, but not hard. 

But, now I’m facing a real dilemma. I honestly don’t know what to do. 

I told myself that this would be Subi’s last winter. He isn’t exactly a fan. But what I didn’t expect was that this winter/non-winter (rain/mud/muck) would be so hard on him. Eating has been a challenge. It might be his teeth (dentist is scheduled, but not until February — I’ve asked if they can come out sooner), but it might be that he’s just not interested. I mean, he isn’t interested in cubes either. 

The last few months he’s become very… quiet. He has moments where he runs around and acts crazy or even senile, but the rest of the time he’s quiet. Or even dull. I don’t want dull. I don’t like dull. Dull scares me. 

Last night, I was convinced he was colicking. He was that off and quiet. No temperature, but very listless. He worked out of whatever it was. But mostly he just stands outside and stares out in the distance. 

But, that wasn’t what scared me the most. What scared me was, when I actually did convince him to walk up to me (I had his left over cubes), he just seemed half there. Subi has always been full of personality and opinion. This horse was just.. there.

Which brings me to the point of this collection of words. When is it time? When is it time when there is nothing outwardly wrong but, at the same time, the horse you know just isn’t there? 

Do I try and get him until some nicer weather? See if he perks up and let him have a couple of nice months?

Same goodbye now?

See the outcomes of teeth and try a combination of the 2?

Chatting with the vet isn’t out the question and that will likely happen, but I’d like to see if the dentist gets back to me first. I don’t want to run unnecessary tests or toss meds at him. But, for the horse who was always terrible to medicate (we both almost died last year when he needed 3 meds 2x/day for 10 days or even his steroids for swelling this summer), he’s decent right now…which is another sign that he… not all there anymore.

18 thoughts on “When is it time?

  1. I am at the exact same crossroads right now. My guy is refusing his meds and just seems generally miserable. Having the vet out on Friday for a check-up to see if I’m missing something but I feel that the time is near for us. Sending good vibes and hugs to you ❤

      • It’s so tough. I’m actually waiting on teeth as well (had some scheduling issues when they were due in the fall). But I don’t really think that’s why the meds are being refused. 😦 I would rather let him go too early than too late but it’s pretty heart-wrenching for sure.

      • I’m right there with you. Subi had his teeth done at the end of July and the a tooth pulled in August so he’s pretty much due now. He probably has a tooth bothering him, but there’s just been a rapid…decline. That’s not teeth. So yeah. The looking miserable, I get. He’s just been with me since 2006. It’s hard to make that call (I already decided this was his last winter). 😟

  2. You know I went through this recently it’s hard. Irish was getting more internal too. Now when I look at this winter I have zero regrets in letting him go. It’s never easy. I think your heart is telling you what to do. (((((Hugs))))

    • Thanks❤️❤️❤️ that’s exactly it. Internal. And withdrawn. Nothing really outwardly physically wrong but it’s…there. I actually feel like he was better in the super cold than this rainy shit we’re dealing with here. He spent the day today just at the round bale. Not eating most of the time, just there, next to it. There. Ugh. Yeah. I know. I just need to get myself to be there 90% vs 65%.

      • It is not easy. Not at all. I would be lying if I said I didn’t ask myself over the summer if I was just trying to make it convenient for myself. But, while having two healthy horses to look after is so much easier, I can honestly say that that was not why. Love is hard.

  3. Ugh. I’m sorry. My last two left me no choice really either, and, I dunno… I think that’s a little easier somehow. (Six months apart was rough though…)
    I’m in a similar situation with my dog Pia. I know we’re close to time. But there’s nothing really wrong with her other than being old and arthritic. And a bit senile. I struggle with making these decisions. I definitely agree with the adage better a day too early than a day too late, but I’m not sure I’m qualified to have that kind of power to just decide to end a life. They say when it’s really time we’ll know. So I’m hoping that’s the case for Subi and for P.
    Thinking of you and sending comfort while you work through this.

  4. Your post really hit home. I am going through this now with my dog. He’s the first dog that has really been mine and not a family dog. He’s 13 and has some health issues. But to the best of my knowledge, is not in any pain. He’s still eating and drinking. But the hard part is the changes. The going internal. The getting quiet. The staring into the distance. Especially the staring into the distance. It’s like an essential, wild part of them is calling them home. ❤

    They say you will know when it's time. I hope that I do.

  5. Just sending you lots of support and love whatever you decide. As an outsider looking in, I can 100% see you are doing (and will do) your very best by him. He’s lucky to have you, looking out for him and caring so much.

  6. There truly is no good answer. You don’t just know. You don’t see the point looming in the future. I agree that talking to the vet and your support system is a good step but ultimately you will look inside yourself and find what you’re okay with. The thought of doing this with my senior guy is terrifying so I am with you in spirit.

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