Friday, July 16, 2010
Rugby hasn't much strength left. Last night when I went to see him, he was standing in the stall, looking out his window, staring out into the grassy place in the yard. When I said his name he turned to look at me and nickered. I was shocked, he hadn't done that in a long time. I put on his fly mask and halter and took him out to graze.
He walked to the grass with a purpose and was eating greedily but he's begun to drop weight again and now he's very unsteady on his hind legs. Instead of walking on them he lifts them with each step and slowly paddles the air a few inches above the ground before placing them down. Sometimes they buckle and he has to right himself. He's weakening and I can see it is only a matter of time before he just goes down and I don't know if he will be able to get back up.
I let him graze for a long while then slowly led him home to his stall. He walked in carefully and tried to find a comfortable place to stand. I took off his halter and fly mask and he gently rubbed his head against me. Then he did something he hasn't done since before he got sick. He put his head over my shoulder and arched his neck to pull me towards his chest. He used to do this all the time - it was his way of hugging me.
I choked up as he turned and went back to staring out the window. I offered him some of the soft, sweet timothy hay that just came to the barn and he was happy to have it. He was still shifting his hind legs awkwardly and I thought for sure he wasn't going to be able to stand the night. But this morning he was still up and out in turn-out.
I took him out to graze and he's still bad in his hind end. There were two times I feared he'd lose his balance and go down. And I knew it's time to let him go. So I called the vet's office and have asked that they make him comfortable today and tonight, offer him whatever he can eat and tomorrow to have him put down.
I knew why he'd hugged me last night, he was saying goodbye.