Wednesday, December 13, 2017

One Day At a Time

Holy cow the days are flying by. We are here just buried under a million things that have to get done. Luckily we've only had one snow storm and the majority of the snow has all melted to make life easier for me until this crazy spell passes.

Last week was such a blur. The paying job had me so busy, I couldn't figure out which way was up. And then add to it, both kids came down with the stomach bug.

On the bright side, Bo's leg was healed up enough that I put him back in with the herd. He was most displeased because he wasn't getting his alfalfa. He'd been turning up his nose at the hay but when no alfalfa was present, he decided that the round bales were good enough. It's a little weird when I ask him to move, I tap on his shoulder or chest and I can feel the air pocket that is still there. Nothing has changed with him but it doesn't seem to bother him. So I guess we'll continue to take one day at a time.

Ivan's vet bill came in. I knew it was going to be high but more bill to pay. Brego seems to be hanging out with Zeke more but that might have changed now that Bo is back in with the herd. Brego is coming around but it's awfully slow. Zeke seems to know when someone needs a little bit of extra attention. He's something else. I didn't realize he was so sensitive to everyone's feelings but its' definitely showing these past couple of months.

Dude even seems to be mellowing out. That or he misses me. I'm not really sure. But I'll take it. I think he's really just mellowing out. He used to be a touch me not when it came to his face, but now I can touch his face and he doenst' care. Age is a wonderful thing.

I'm still buried to my eyeballs with work stuff so it's been difficult to get anything else accomplished at night. And now that the holidays are upon us, we'll be busy with holiday parties and such. I am hoping I can sneak in some downtime from work and get a few things done...and fingers crossed that no one else gets sick.

I've had too many horses get sick lately. Luckily the kids' stomach bugs were fast moving but even our Beta fish (it was the only way to get my son out of the butterfly house and marina...was to bribe him with getting a fish) Eda the Beta, isnt' feeling well. Who knew a fish could get constipated!

I may not be on much the rest of this week. We'll see. I'm taking one day at a time.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Buried to my Eyeballs

I am so far behind, I don't know if I'll ever be able to catch up. The paying job has me so buried that I can't even see the light of day right now. I'm hoping it'll get better but I don't know. I guess that's why there's been such a lack of posts as of late. No time to get anything done outside of the paying job.

And to add to the frustrations, my son caught a stomach bug and was sicker than a dog last night and today. So now there's my son getting better, a horse in heart failure, and our beta fish is constipated. I didn't even know a fish could get backed up! So now I need to figure out how to make everyone feel better and yet there's no time to run to the store.

We had that terrible snow storm blow through Monday. Luckily I stayed home. But the problem with living in the country and working in the country, is that I'm not anywhere near a store to swing by and pick stuff up. So that adds a layer of difficulty.

I know I'm just dumping on everyone here tonight but it's been a long and stressful 24 hours. Well, make that week. When it's Wednesday evening and I took today off to take care of my son and I'm already ahead in hours at work, that sort of says something. It says that the paying job hasnt' left me with any time to do anything with the Sanctuary other than to feed and water the horses.

I had to move Bo to the back pen yesterday because the wind was coming right into his pen. He's not thrilled with being there either. But I can't put him in with the big herd. He's still not completely healed from his cut and his leg is still swollen but now three of the four legs are swollen. I guess that's to be expected. But he's now taken to turning up his nose at hay. He'll only eat alfalfa. Even last night when I went to feed him, he turned up his nose at the hay AND his grain for his alfalfa. I'm not sure if that means I underfed him alfalfa in the morning or what. He hasnt' given me the sign that he's ready to go but I'm not sure what to do. I don't think he should go back into the big herd now that winter is here and if he's so picky that he won't eat anything but alfalfa, what am I to do other than keep him separate. But there are no decent pens for him to be in. So for now I guess I worry.

I know the holidays bring on some stress, but this stress is totally different. I owe thank yous to a number of people and haven't had the time. There's also bills to pay (both Sanctuary and personal) and I'm behind on those as well. On the bright side, I think we are down to four more payments on the little tractor. Woo hoo!

I normally keep a close eye on the weather but I've been so busy I haven't had time. Now I hear that we are in the single digits tonight along with a wind chill. That's all news to me. I would have maybe done chores differently tonight so I would be more prepared for tomorrow morning.

Ugh...It's all just too much. I'm ready for a vacation. Who's with me?

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Winter is Officially Here

I'm so glad I have a job that lets me work from home and that I had the good senses to stay home yesterday.

I was able to do a majority of my chores during my lunch break and that saved me lots of anxiety in getting chores done during the first winter storm of the season.

I watched the radar and watched out the window as I worked and at 3:30, it started to sleet. I'd already put a blanket on Junior while he ate his grain and put Bo in. Any wind that we get goes right up the driveway and right into Bo's pen. So instead he went into the barn where I thought it was snug.

Fast forward to when I could finally get out to do chores at 6pm. Boy howdy! I was sure glad that Bo was in the barn. By the time I got out, we had snow drifts in his pen and the wind was whipping the snow around so bad that it hurt when it hit your face.

I did end up putting Dude and Rain into the barn with Bo. I figured Rain wouldn't let me put a blanket on and if Dude was in the barn, then maybe others wouldn't have to crowd around the opening of the shed. Dude was standing guard and not letting anyone else in. That bugger.

This morning everyone was ready to get out and stretch their legs. I ended up putting Bo into the back pen because the wind was still hitting his pen. I'm not really sure what to do with him now. He wont' touch hay so I've been throwing him alfalfa. I'm not sure I can put him in the pen that he's in. I may switch and put the ponies where he is and put Bo where the ponies are but that's not a long term solution. I don't know. I guess we'll see. Bo had another off day yesterday where his breathing was labored. But that's for another post.

I'll leave you with some pictures of last night during chores and right as I was ready to be done for the night.

Dude happy to be in the barn

The view from the house as I was going in for the night. The yard light is where all the snow and wind goes when we have a snow storm.

The view somewhat close to the red shed and right in the middle of me doing chores

Rain happy to be in out of the elements

It's hard to tell but that's the pen Bo was in and that's exactly where all the wind goes. There's a snow drift in his pen now.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Good Cop - Bad Cop

I'd love to write this post more eloquently. I've tried two or three ways to start this blog but I'm not sure how to even begin. As a non-profit, we have a board of directors. I seek their advice when needed but for the most part, the decisions of the Sanctuary lie on my shoulders.

We are asked (not weekly or even monthly) to take in horses. The problem lies in our mission. We provide a dignified retirement home. We are not a rescue that adopts out. Bless those that can open their doors, rehab/retrain the horse, and rehome them. But that's not our mission. It's to provide a retirement home. We can only be so big. We can only have so many horses that we can financially be responsible for. There are only so many horses that the land can hold and I can care for.

So last week I was asked if we had room for two horses. As always, minimal information which bothers me. I can't make a judgment call without having a bit more information. A description of old isn't enough. What may be "old" in one person's eyes, may not be considered "old" to enter the Sanctuary. Because I am the main caretaker of these horses, I need to make sure that the horse's personality can mesh with the current herd and that the horse and I can mesh as well. Sometimes we get lucky and everything works out. Other times, there's a learning curve. Either way, I need a bit more information.  I did do diligence and asked around to see if others could take the horse as we are truly full and I'm still reeling from the loss of Ivan and the dreaded decision with Bo. And just because Ivan is gone, and Bo will be soon, doesn't mean that we are ready to open our doors. We have to financially pay the vets bills that we've accrued before we can simply open our doors.

So when I was asked, and couldn't immediately say yes, I felt as thought I was the bad guy. Why is it that it's my fault that we can't take in another horse? Why is it that you waited until the last minute to contact us? Why is it that you aren't willing to provide even the slightest olive branch token for taking your horse? Why is it that I have to be the responsible one for taking care of your horse? Horses are not an object that you can simply toss to the side when you no longer have time or when it is no longer convenient to keep them. Why is it my fault that I don't jump at the chance to take your stud? why is it my fault that I can't take in your horse with a medical issue? Why is it my fault that I have to take on more responsibility and give up more of my personal life to care for your horse?

Just because we are a non-profit does not mean that money flows easily into our pockets. We don't have high risk rescues...God bless those rescues that can take on major rescues and the care of horses during a time of crisis. We are a simple and small sanctuary. Funds are hard to come by. We are in a state that is pro-slaughter, which means funds are even harder to come by because many believe slaughter is needed.

Today, I had to say no to two horses. Not because I wanted to. Not because I wanted to play bad cop. But because I have to make sure the horses at the Sanctuary are cared for. I have to be responsible for their care and well being. I have to be the responsible one. I took on their care, so I am responsible until their final breath. Why is that not the same for others?

Do I feel guilty for saying no. Absolutely. Do I worry about the fate of those horses? Absolutely. I've already asked twice this fall for help with horses. In both cases, the need did not end up falling on our shoulders. But we have such great supporters, I didn't want to put anyone in a bind. I felt like I was crying wolf. So instead I played bad cop. Maybe if I asked for help, maybe if I could have financially swung it, and maybe if there would have been some kindness and willingness on the owners part, I would have been more willing to sacrifice even more of myself. But the manner in which I was asked, especially after losing Ivan not even a month ago and having Bo following shortly on Ivan's heels, I'm just not ready and not willing to tolerate bad behavior. So I guess I'll continue to play bad cop and say no, but feel terrible that I did so.

I hate playing bad cop.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Bo Update

Fingers crossed that December is an easier month than November. I'm still reeling from November (and some of October). It's been a month since we found out that Bo's health issues are all due to heart failure and less than a month since losing Ivan to colic. And then there's the worry over Brego.

Even with death, life must continue but I've been struggling this month. Add to it that the paying job has me buried to my eyebrows in work that I can't keep up, I'm struggling. I've missed the mark on a number of activities and  I'm going to pay for it I'm afraid. And now that it's December and Christmas is right around the corner, there's more of my time taken to get everything ready. Although I do have to admit that I am back to enjoying Christmas. I forgot what excitement surrounds Christmas. My 5 year old is reminding me daily to enjoy the holidays. :-)

I'm not sure if I posted it before or not...everything has been a blur lately. On Saturday evening, we discovered that Bo had cut his right front leg open and it was deep. I called the vet right away to find out what to do. I didn't want to put any sprays on it in case I could haul him to the vet and get the wound stitched up. After taking pictures and videos we all surmised that the stitches would simply rip out so I was to treat it like an open wound. Wash and pack it with nitrofurizone. Well, I'm a weiny and couldn't pack it. I tried. So instead I did the spray method which seemed to do better because I could actually get the meds all the way into the cut. Bo has never offered to bit but with this wound, he's thought about it.

He's been on antibiotics since Sunday night and he's turning up his nose to the grain and meds. He's very picky about what he eats. I've even risked his ulcers and added senior grain just to try and get something into his body. I think the wound is healing nicely, for as deep as it is.

Bo is in a pen right next to the big herd so he can see everyone but not get pushed around. Wednesday morning I walked out and found Bo down. I paniced. In the 6 years we've had Bo, I have never seen him down. I sat next to him for awhile and he was struggling to breath. I thought maybe this was the end. He was feeling frustrated and tried to bite my foot. Not biting to be mean but that's his relief mechanism to bite ('s more like cribbing but he doesn't actually crib unless he's trying to relieve stress. I saw it when my friend came out to do body work on him in early October. Keep in mind, Bo has never offered to kick, bite, or do anything mean to me...other than run me over to avoid getting hurt so I knew his biting my foot was the only solid material for him to put teeth to, to relieve stress). I put some straw around him but that must have annoyed him because he got up. Wednesday morning was a bad morning for Bo. His breathing was much more labored. I thought I was going to lose him but he pulled out of it. He's going to start having more bad days.  And when I say bad days, I mean not being able to breath. Having asthma, I know what it's like to not be able to breath. Probably why I have a fear of drowning, not the water but not being able to breath. So I wasn't sure what to do other than to leave food, water, and some grain and wait.

I'm not sure if he had a reaction to the banamine, or the antibiotics or if he was just having a bad day. By Wednesday night, he was better. We will have to take each day as it comes with Bo. I'm not ready to say goodbye and neither is he. But the cold weather is right around the corner and I don't want him to go down and struggle. So I evaluate him every morning and every night to see how he's doing.

He was mad at me yesterday and off his grain last night. I'd let him out to wander the yard and eat grass but had to put him back when I went to pick up the kids from daycare. I'm not sure if he's just sick of the uniprim powder in his grain or if he was off. But I threw some alfalfa for him to eat and in the morning it looked like he'd eaten everything. A good sign because he's been turning up his nose at the hay I've been throwing. I guess it's alfalfa and Ramona feed for him from now on.

I called the vet Monday morning after discovering an air pocket in his right wither. I thought it was just at the wither but I was wrong. It's his entire shoulder, from the wither all the way to the base of his leg and into his neck. When you pat his shoulder, it sounds's the same sound as when you pat your dog's belly and it's empty. It's all poofy but it's not hard. I read up on it and I think it's benign. The vet wasn't worried. Give him banamine and let his body reabsorb it. The problem is, Bo's body is so compromised, I doubt it'll reabsorb. I guess we'll wait and see. It doesn't seem to bother him. And what's worse, I can't give him banamine. Anything oral that I have to administer and he' will try and stop me. For being sick and not feeling well, he still had enough strength to lift me off the ground and wrench my hand. So unless it's absolutely needed, I'm not going to give him any meds orally. Although, I did take it as a sign that he's feeling better. There's a definite will to live in that boy.

His right leg is swollen but that's to be expected with the cut. I was hoping that letting him out to wander the yard would take the swelling down what with him walking more. But that wasn't the case. I wont' put him back with the big herd because he still needs time to heal.

After we brought him home from the vet's to say he had heart failure, I noticed that his back legs had swollen. In fact his left rear had swollen before that so I was keeping an eye on him. But I guess that's just fluid all from the heart failure. It's something more to watch.

I've been keeping an eye on Brego as well. He doesn't seem as depressed but he does seem lost.

I caught Brego, Chaos, and Lightening all curled up this morning sleeping. Of course I had to ruin it when I went to get Bo's alfalfa. I'm glad they feel relaxed enough to sleep all curled up.

Oddly I'm making progress with Lightening without even trying to. He and I haven't clicked but that's no one's fault. There simply hasn't been any time to work with him. All the others, except Jim, come up to me or I can walk up to them to say hello. Lightening has to come up to me on his terms so I haven't been pushing the issue. We need to click if he's going to be my drill team horse. Slow and steady. Even if it takes a year to come down from a previous life, we'll give them all the time they need. But it's nice to see the slow progress finally coming to fruitation. Each has a history and a past that even though I might not know or figure out, I need to learn the quirks and know what they like, don't like, and what they can handle.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Perplexing Issues with Bo

When I went out to do chores last night, I noticed that Bo's leg was swollen. It's typical of a cut like he has. I'll be hand walking him tonight after I get home from the paying job. I'd also planned on giving him banamine to ease the pain in the huge cut. It's such an unfortunate location where stitches simply won't hold.

The problem is, last night I gave him a pat on his shoulders while he was eating and something didn't seem right. It sounded hollow. So I went around to the other side and patted his shoulder in the same spot. No hollow sound. Back to the right side and pat the shoulder. Hollow sound.

I called the vet this morning and we chatted for a  bit. It's hard to say what it is but I'm guessing its' part of heart failure. The cut on his leg wasn't a puncture wound and if it was, it didn't go into his shoulder, it went down his leg and not into his chest.

Bo is text book heart failure now that I look at him. Distended belly and the weight falls off the top line to see the spine. That's exactly what I've been seeing and dealing with all year. Along with that the labored breathing and that's exactly what Bo has.

But the air pocket in his shoulder is still a stumper. I'm guessing there was some air somewhere else and it just managed to bubble up to his withers. Because it's not causing him pain, we'll treat him with banamine for five days to make sure that it doesn't bother him. He's already on unimprim until Thursday for antibiotics. I may extend those antibiotics to the same time as the end of the banamine and we'll see what comes of it.

I wasn't exactly expecting a couple of huge vet bills but I should know better. It's been awhile and we always seem to get the vet bills around the end of the year.

Bo has been a trial and error experience from the day he stepped into our trailer off the auction. I'm glad that we have him but so worried that I'm not doing enough. I may have cared for horses for just over 20 years but it doesn't seem like my knowledge goes far enough for all that I've had to deal with in Bo.

Bo could really use some good thoughts and well wishes. He's also love visitors that bring him Ramona feed. He's not allowed to have any other type of grain because it would makes his ulcers flare up (yet one more thing to worry about with him).


The following are the faces of the Sanctuary. These are the current residents that call the Sanctuary home. We have had a number of horses come through our doors to call the Sanctuary home and are honored to care for them until their final breath on this earth.

I am so blessed this #GivingTuesday, to have these wonderful horses in our lives. I do not consider running the Sanctuary and caring for these horses a chore. It is my lifetime goal, my passion and I am honored to care for these warriors. They are no longer simply horses, they are family. They are MY family and I hope that they are YOUR family as well.

These pictures posted here are of our Sanctuary horses in their "everyday clothes". You see them as they are day-to-day just as I do. I hope that within these ramblings that you too can consider the Sanctuary horses yours as much as I consider them mine.

If you'd like to donate on this #GivingTuesday, please go to:








Dude (w/ Lightening photobombing)