Holistic Horse Health: Dying with dignity

Yesterday I has the privilege of helping a horse with cancer pass onto the next realm. He was not quite ready to go because he loved his life here on earth but his cancer was affecting his quality of life to the point we had to help him move on. I consider timing when to let a horse go an important part of holistic horse health.

Carol enticed Gabe to walk to the area we had chosen by bribing him with carrots and alfalfa. When she laid his rope on the ground he turned and made a beeline back towards the barn. We brought back and let him have some time to understand his options. Carol had consulted a Leta Worthington to communicate with Gabe and help him get ready for his transition. He told her he wanted more time.

Even as Gabe struggled to breathe he told us with his head shaking that he did not want to go. I am not an animal communicator but I tried to let Gabe know that he could still be with Carol in spirit form. He seemed to be willing to contemplate this. After a few minutes he stepped towards me and let me know he was ready. He stood perfectly still for his injection and passed without a bit of struggle.

Gabe had been living with his cancer for over 10 years. Efforts were made to freeze the cancer and treat it topically with steroids and herbs but it continued to grow at a slow but steady pace. Gabe did not seems concerned about the cancer. Yes it itched but he was feeling so good otherwise that it was just a mild annoyance. You see Gabe was getting so much good nutritional support and love that what the cancer was doing was not so important.

Gabe is not the first horse I have seen with a cancer of serious chronic condition who still loved life. I have seen horses with painful laminitis who absolutely want to stay in this world because of the love and attention they receive. Animals don’t seem to care if they have ugly, smelly growths or deformed limbs or hooves. They just live each day as it comes. Sometimes they are to stay in a failing body to help their person get an important lesson and others times they stay so that information can be gained about their condition. Over the years I have found that when an animal is ready to go he will tell you with a very clear signal. He may stop eating or just have a look but you will know.

The other animals understand the death process as well. I knew it was time for my donkey, Lady, to pass when my mule, Tess, asked to go in the pasture with my horses. You see Tess and Lady had lived together for over 10 years and Tess they were inseparable. After I let Tess in with the other horses Lady went into the barn and laid down. It was clear she had no intention of getting up again.

As humans we often have so much fear and confusion about the dying process. We can sure learn about dying with dignity from our animal teachers. Madalyn

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