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Any idea how you'd want this said to you?

(16 Posts)
QuietTiger Sat 15-Feb-14 15:00:21

I need hand holding really and guess I'm just really thinking out loud, but would welcome input.

Dhorse is 23 and has been on permanent loan to me for 6 years. His owner is a good friend of mine and cares about him deeply, as do I. He's on full loan because selling him to me was too final for my friend, and he's spoilt and mollycoddled by both of us (when she sees him) and he wants for nothing. I've been meeting all his costs for the last 6 years (happy to do so), as you'd expect of a full loan and my friend trusts me to make decisions in Dhorses best welfare.

Everything has been hunky dory and the arrangement has worked very well for 6 years, except... Dhorse has just been diagnosed with Cushings and EMA. I haven't told my friend yet, as she is away. I'm dreading it.

Money for vets fees to a point are a non-issue (DH and I meet them and will continue to do so), but it's really how the hell I have a conversation with her about what is in Dhorses best interests.

He's persistently lame in trot (although comfortable at walk), suffers from laminitis on and off, depending on how well we manage him - i.e. turn him out (happy horse) or starve him in a shed, (hideously miserable horse), he's not ridden anymore because of the lameness issues, but he's a field companion to my youngster when he's out (so does have a job and purpose), but I'm thinking that the time he is PTS is coming quickly because his disease is progressing.

I basically need to agree with my friend at what point enough is going to be enough, who has the final say and who does the deed. sad. Whilst we will meet his vet costs, DH is a practical farmer, so is not sentimental about animals unless it's his working dog and has said that he is unhappy about spending lots of money on vets fees for an ancient horse who's had a good life and which in reality, is a view I have to respect.

If you were my friend, how would you appreciate this subject being broached with you? She does put her horses best interests first and can make difficult decisions, but this boy is mega special because she bred him herself, she had to put his mother down in December, he got her through a really nasty divorce and a lot of life shit, and his death will be the end of an era for her because he is the last horse bred from her first stallion. She will be devastated at the news.

Just looking for some ideas and advice really.

Pixel Sat 15-Feb-14 15:33:15

I'm in a similar situation really as we took on all care of dshetland (who is now 30) about 8 years ago. She has cushings and has to be handled very carefully but luckily (touch wood) hasn't had full-blown laminitis for some years, just some near misses. I know her owner adores her (bought her with her mum when she was 18 months) and she's very sensitive, still wells up with tears when she talks about her old horse who was put down just before we took on dshetland (mainly because he was her late dad's horse).

I'm not looking forward to the conversation at all. BUT, her owner isn't stupid, she does know that she's an old pony with health problems, it isn't going to be a bolt from the blue, and she knows we always do our very best for her so I'm sure she will accept our judgement without question/any sort of awkwardness between us. So, it'll just be a case of telling her it's time really, which she probably half expects to happen anyway, as this is the first winter we've felt the need to rug dshetland so obviously she's feeling her age. It's going to be awful but what can you do?

Must admit I've been distancing ds from her for a while though, not taking him along for cuddles so often, getting him riding lessons elsewhere etc, as I can't explain to him when she goes (he has severe autism).

carabos Sat 15-Feb-14 18:43:01

Do you know what I would do? Next time your friend is away, have the horse pts then when she comes back tell her he died. I'm saying this having been in the same situation as you, except that the owner had no contact with us or the horse for 5 years apart from Xmas cards. When we pts, we made the mistake of telling her we had done that (for very good reasons, including his blindness). She hasn't spoken to us since.

QueenQueenie Sat 15-Feb-14 18:52:12

Really carabos? Op said how would you like this to be broached with you if you were the owner and you'd really choose to be decieved and lied to?? I am shocked tbh and not at all surprised the OWNER of the horse you pts without consultation isn't speaking to you. Don't you think they might have reasonably expected to be consulted with, let alone not even told. Don't you think they might have wanted to say "goodbye" at the very least? shock

Pixel Sat 15-Feb-14 22:04:05

God yes, Dshetland's owner will definitely want to say goodbye, I certainly wouldn't deny her that. I would be devastated if anyone did that to me!

QuietTiger Sun 16-Feb-14 08:57:06

Carabos, thanks for your input, but there is no way on this planet I would PTS Dhorse without input from his owner or without her knowledge. Quite apart from the fact she sees him very regularly so is aware of how he is on a week to week basis, she lives very close by so can be here in 10 minutes in an emergency, we share ground for other horses and also mix our herds. I personally, would never, ever forgive someone doing that to me, so I won't do that to her.

The conversation is to break the news about the vet results and to decide what to do with a beloved, Dhorse who we are both very emotionally attached to. It's not one I want to have and I want to do it sensitively as it will cause her a lot of upset. Hence asking for the hand-holding. I've asked her to come over for a coffee tomorrow and I plan to take it from there.

Pixel, you've been really helpful, so thank you - it helps to know it's not just me who has to do stuff like this! Why on earth do we fall in love with, and let these darling creatures get under our skin so much?

Booboostoo Sun 16-Feb-14 09:21:05

Sit your friend down over a cup of tea and have a discussion with her. Tell her what you told us, you clearly have the horse's best interests at heart and this comes across. Between the two of you, you should be able to come up with a solution. It may be that she will want to take the horse back and look after him herself, or set some practical limits about how far you take his care before making the ultimate decision for him.

Carabos that is awful I wouldn't do that to anyone. When we decided to have our loan pony PTS it was with the full knowledge and support of his owners. It was a difficult decision for everyone but we made it together which helped everyone.

dappleton Sun 16-Feb-14 13:43:04

I thinks it's going to be a really hard conversation, make sure you have lots of Kleenex at hand, but I have a feeling that you and the owner both 'sing from the same hymn sheet', you both have the horses best interests at heart and will know when the time has come to say good-bye. You will feel much better once you have told her. Wishing you courage.

Carabos - that is dreadful advice, yes I agree you have to put the horse first but to be that insensitive to the horses owner is unforgiveable.

carabos Sun 16-Feb-14 16:00:40

The owner had no contact with, or shown any interest in the horse for 5 years. We were in charge, paid all bills, took the responsibility. We asked her on a number of occasions if she wanted to come and see him, answer was always no.

We did the right thing. The alternative is to say "take it back, it's at the end of its life and I don't want it anymore". There was no way she would have done that. She wanted to have no input, didn't want to take the decision and wanted the right to complain. I don't think so.

Booboostoo Sun 16-Feb-14 18:02:04

I don't understand your post carabos. No one is disputing that in many situations PTS is the right thing and it sounds like you had to make the decision on welfare reasons which is what we all owe our beloved pets. If the owner refused to communicate with you and the situation was an emergency I think you were right to PTS on vet's advice and without the owner's knowldge.

If the owner was awful about it afterwards that's her silly problem.

The disturbing thing is lying about it and suggesting the horse died of natural causes. I don't think the owner's irresponsible and irrational reaction justifies such a serious lie.

Littlebigbum Sun 16-Feb-14 18:51:10

talk to her with a bottle of wine

QuietTiger Mon 17-Feb-14 12:18:59

Thank for the input guys. Friend came over this morning and we had a frank discussion over coffee. We've decided on a course of action for Dhorse that we are both happy with and my friend can deal with. She was understandably upset, but very pragmatic. We'll see what the next few weeks bring. sad

QueenQueenie Mon 17-Feb-14 13:17:27

Well done op. That can't have been easy but much needed. Have a cake

Booboostoo Tue 18-Feb-14 06:59:39

Well done. It's a horrible decision to have to make but it's good you can talk to the owner and see what's best.

ApocalypticBlackHorseman Tue 18-Feb-14 07:06:28

Well done on making a difficult decision. We had to make it a few months ago and we still miss Dhorse terribly, we had some of his tail hail clipped which we have kept. I also went and took some last photos of him which I will be getting printed at some point.

CountryCob Wed 19-Feb-14 15:47:54

Hello sorry you are having to consider having your horse pts, I did this last October it was so hard but the right decision he passed very easily and was happy up to the end but I knew his condition was going downhill and winter would be too tough, it was the right thing to do still miss him and planted his tail under a tree, pictures all over the house and a memory box, got a new horse now which is helping but miss my old guy so much and still love him but don't regret it, you are looking out for your horse and their wellbeing xxx

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