We lost Puff today. I had hoped to be writing that I had a horse in my living room, eating my mouse...but it was not to be.
He was fine this morning when I went out to feed. He was his usual self - standing idly by while his mother paced the fence demanding breakfast. He wasn't shivering, wasn't acting funny...so, no worries (or no more than usual).
Lunchtime - I looked out; he was standing in the shed behind Magic. No problems there.
I took a nap; at 2 I looked out and he had just laid down. Again, no worries.
I went out to feed dinner early - at 3:30 I felt like I needed to go out. He was still down, not moving. I went out to check...there were a lot of hoofprints around him, but no sign of trauma to him. He was breathing shallowly, and very very cold.
I ran into the house, told the kids to get a blanket, then grabbed his blanket and went and got him. I carried him into the house (but I think I already knew what was gonna happen) - he was totally dead weight, couldn't move his legs, and was very lifeless. I brought him inside anyway, hoping the warm house (it's 70* inside, and 28* outside) would revive him.
For about 30 minutes, we had hope. He was breathing easier, it seemed, and would move his head when the dogs barked at him. (And barked, and barked, and Barked.) He didn't flinch when Zoey decided to lick him, and lay down next to him; he didn't budge when I put the heating pad on him. I tried giving him warm goat's milk (not the best milk replacer, but it works in a pinch. I try to keep it on hand).
He lasted maybe an hour. *sigh* Life sucks sometimes, y'know? Do you have any idea how hard it is to tell your kids that the horse in the kitchen just died, when both of them are standing there begging him to be ok, and petting him? Oh, Lord that was hard!
I had to dispose of him.....I told the kids I buried him. There's no way - the ground is too hard, and he was too big. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, but it had to be done, and there's just me. I took him down behind the pond, over the fence, and into a small, peaceful hollow. I consigned him to the horse gods....and it was hard.
I will admit, now - publicly to people I don't know IRL, because...it's easier than admitting it to folks I actually know - that I have been concerned about him since he was born. He is highly inbred - father/daughter cross, inadvertant (I *still* don't know how Dusty got to Magic! My fences have been professionally fixed since then, so hopefully this won't happen again) and he never seemed right to me. He never did bounce and play like a "normal" foal - but I told myself it was just because of the season. He never freaked out when Mama would disappear - and he sucked on his tongue almost constantly. All of this can be explained..but still, I worried.
I'm pretty sure the cold wasn't the only thing that caused this..but can't prove it. Before anyone asks, No, I didn't call my vet. He apparantly doesn't work on Sundays, and I was pretty sure there wasn't much to be done anyway. And, honestly - I can't afford to pay $400 or $500 for a dead horse. (BTDT - my foundation broodmare cost me $650 at the Vet Hospital for the dumbass to tell me he couldn't do nothing. She twisted her small intestine 6 weeks after Magic was born. It was horrible to watch.) I know I did everything I could (except put him in a warm tub of water - he was too big to fit in the bathtub. I thought of that - that's why I grabbed the heating pad) - and I don't think that would have helped.
At least he died in a warm place, with lots of hugs and kisses and pets. (And, at least I can tell people I had a horse piss in my kitchen. That should go over really well at the next party I throw, huh?)
Everything that was in contact with him (with the exception of Himself and Zoey) has been washed in HOTHOTHOT water. Herself is in the tub now; Himself will be as soon as I dump him in the tub. Zoey will have to make do without - she's too big and it's too cold for me to try and bathe her. I've scrubbed, but will probably hit the tub myself before bed.
I am going to go crawl into my cave for a bit, now....we need to grieve.