Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thunder in the Sky!

Thunder came from a South Metro Animal Control. He was unclaimed. I don't know much about his past except he was in need of a home. When animal control called, we answered, "Yes, we will take him." We don't ask if the horse is old, or young or injured or lame. Sometimes we find out when we get there and wish we would have asked more questions. Not that we would have said 'No' but we would have been more prepared.
We don't know it the horse can walk, will trailer load, or it bike, kicks or strikes! We do find out though!
We were introduced to the no name horse we named Thunder and was told he rides good and he's 12 years old. Thunder was really malnourished, sweet, easy to trailer load and happy to leave the little lot he was in at animal control. When we got to the farm, he was happy to see other horses, too. He whinnied and looked around.
Our vet said Thunder was between 25 and 30 years old. I never had one person interested in adopting Thunder. Guess older, hard keeper horses aren't too popular. At the rescue farm though, Thunder was a favorite with many volunteers.
I moved Thunder to a nice grassy pasture with a barn. I also brought another older gelding as a companion to Thunder. I have two other horses out there as well so all four had plenty of grass to graze happily. I had to move one of the horses. You know the saying three is a crowd, it's true even in the horse world. A friend of mine needed a companion for her lovely mare so I brought Thunder over. They got along instantly.
At 10:30 Sunday evening, I had a call that Thunder wouldn't eat. He was down and wouldn't get up. When I arrived he was up and walking slowly. There was a foul odor, like a dead animal, coming from him somewhere. I checked the back end where I found some dried running manure then he dropped a fresh load of manure and it was solid, and smelled like regular manure. It must be coming from the front end. I looked for a bad tooth, swelling, blood. I did find some nasal discharge. The vet thought it may be a bad tooth so we made arrangements to meet in the morning so we could xray his mouth. Monday morning the odor was gone and now it looked like Thunder had choke and needed veterinary help to clear it up. Dr Duval put a tube down his throat and added water time and time again as pieces of grain, what looked like wood and chewed up magnolia leaves washed out. About 2 hours later it was cleared up and Thunder felt much better. I brought him back to the rescue farm so he could be on antibiotics and heal his throat since the tube created trauma in that very tender esophagus. Thunder ate a mashed senior feed, had a warm stall but no hay for a few days. He seemed to like the attention everyone gave him too.
Tuesday morning Thunder seemed lethargic. The foul smell came and went then came back again. He hung his head and wouldn't eat. I decided to let him walk around the barn. All the horses were in because of the rain so he had a choice to visit any horse he chose. He chose to stand at the gate with his head down all day. He was offered food, given love and comforted but it didn't change him. Dr Duval added two more medications to his regime. I added Equine Drench to keep his going while he was not eating.
I found him staggering around his stall this morning. I let him out and he headed back to stand with his head down at the gate. Then he laid down. I ran back to the house to get my phone and call the vet. When I got back to the barn, a few minutes later, he had died. The foul odor was back. Maybe something internal was going on. It may have been going on for a long time. Thunder was a hard keeper, it may have been because of an internal illness, maybe cancer. Thunder's body is buried now, but his spirit is running in the sky. Listen for him during the rain storms, you will hear him and remember him. Then smile. We were lucky Thunder came into our rescue, our lives, and our hearts. Rest in Peace Thunder but when it rains, kick up your heels and we'll think of you again when we hear that Thunder in the sky.


Wendy said...

Rest in peace sweet Thunder.

Windsor said...

You will be missed, sweet boy. I remember how you appreciated being brought in for your midday lunch, but very ready to come out after you were done eating, to the point of busting out of a stall to wander back to your pasture. RIP Thunder


Wow, what a story. I wonder what the smell was coming from this horse? How long it took for him to finally past from life. He sounds like he really enjoyed the last days of living with many friends and good people around.