Written by Kat ChrysostomTo begin, this is an obviously difficult subject to write about – my motivation to share my emotions with you and others is because too often the difficult subjects are avoided. I know that other devoted pet owners struggle with this decision when the time comes and we must support each other through the trials and tribulations. If you are reading this with a decision to make or one you have already made, take comfort in knowing that you have made the right choice – don’t allow yourself to forget that. We are our animals’ lifeline and we must be there for them in the best of times and the worst of times. The worst of times began on an early day in September for Papa and me. Papa was a magnificent horse with more talent and personality than any equine I had ever met which is saying a lot as I have dealt with many in my lifetime! We had struggled for many months leading up to then, but it was an emotional roller-coaster that neither one of us was ready to get off, if the ‘exit’ meant the end for Papa. We went around and around treating Papa for various diseases with no success. The symptoms worsened and seizures began which is when I knew it was time. That early September day was the first time that I had ever held the fate of another soul in my own hands. The responsibility was tremendous and the heartache was too much to stand, literally speaking. I would have given anything make it better – to communicate with his soul. I truly mean it when I say, I wish it were me and not him. I’m not a suicidal or an unusually depressed person, but I consider myself forever responsible to that of which I tame, and this life – so delicately held in my hands – was my full responsibility. The vet did her usual examination and she found that he had significantly regressed, admitting his symptoms were chronic. Second and third opinions were made, all aligned with the first. Knowing but not accepting what I had to do was my modus operandi with Papa. This time, it was inevitable – my best friend’s body was failing him at the young age of seven. No matter what I did, how hard I tried, how much money I spent, how much love I gave, the situation would not change. It was, and will forever remain, the most difficult decision of my life. I vividly remember thinking the entire night before that perhaps Faith would prevail and he would be healthy in the morning. With not a wink of sleep, I watched the hours count down on the clock – closer to the end. His last day was paradise, and I mean paradise. He ate an entire bag of his favorite treats, was turned out in a beautiful pasture with lush grass, and was curried in “his spot” for hours. As sad as these words may be to read, always remember, we are better to be a week too early than an hour too late. After the passing of Papa, I have found much comfort in knowing that he is in a better place and he rests in peace with no more suffering. Animals are put into our lives for a reason and if we let them, they can better our souls – connect with our minds and fill an emptiness within us. Shortly after Papa’s passing, by no coincidence, I stumbled upon Psalm 36:6: “Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.” With love until we meet again, Papa.
Why do horses have the stamina to run for extended periods? Horses can accommodate great oxygen demands with a specialized circulatory and respiratory system. This means they can provide the oxygen their muscles need during exercise. While the respiratory system transports oxygen, the equine circulatory system is a bit more complex.