On Saturday, Tazzy had a wonderful day. He was up, alert, and enjoyed his little nibbles on grass. The breeze was a wonderful aid in keeping cool, and crossing the parking lot of his own accord was an easily accomplished feat. As they say, all good things must come to an end. So on Sunday, it all came crashing down.
He was down for approximately nine hours, and needed some convincing to get up. My wonderful barn family walked him around and even gave him a quick bath to help refresh him. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite bounce back as quickly as we had hoped. The stiffness was not the only problem. He was really starting to favor one leg over the other, and became pretty lame on his front left. I was hoping it was an abscess, and not a continuation of the damn sinking.
It was a sad sight to see. Tazzy would lay in his stall and bite at his hoof, clearing showing that it pained him. My wonderful farrier came back out as soon as he could on Wednesday, and pulled his shoes off. Not an abscess in sight. He rolled the toe back, and dropped his heel a little more. The Yellow’s broken feet were growing and he needed his shoes to be reset! The video that was text messaged to me, was a bit of a relief. He was walking out stiffly, but without any noticeable favoring of one leg over the other! His hooves are still broken, but he is no longer 3-legged lame. (All four feet are super sore, but “whatevs”. At least he is no longer acting like it’s broken!)
The bedsores are getting pretty bad. Since he’s been spending the last few days laying down, he’s losing all of the hair above his left hock, and his right side isn’t far behind. I worry about whether they are painful, and of course, at the risk of sounding vain, if they are going to heal normally with minimal scar tissue. It’s an ongoing battle, as long as he is spending a significant amount of time laying down, he will continue to have sores. Despite how ugly they are, they are actually pretty insignificant compared to the warzone that is his hooves.
The truth is, I’m growing tired of being optimistic. It’s been 5 weeks, and every time I feel like we’re “up” and making progress, it all comes crashing back down. I struggle everyday with knowing if I’m doing this for the right reasons. Am I putting my best friend through all of this pain and discomfort, only to have to end his life down the road? The idea that, “a day too soon, is better than a minute too late,” has been weighing heavily on me. I will never forgive myself for letting him suffer without just cause.
I watched him hobble around the farm today. I forced him to walk on, despite his painful feet, because I don’t want arthritis to get the best of him. I kissed his velvet muzzle, and frustratingly begged him to eat his medications. I told him we’d beat this.
Then I got in my car. And cried the whole way home. I know there are people fighting harder battles. But this is the hardest battle I’ve had to fight. This is not like my dog, who was too tired to fight, who was suffering with no end in sight. That decision was easy. I was not going to let my companion suffer. This is different. Taz isn’t ready for death. He will never be. The fire in his eye will always be there. He’s a natural born fighter. He’s knocked on death’s door before, and defeated the odds. Waiting for him to tell me when, is futile. Tazzy is the little league team, with false ambition. He knows no limits, there is no clock. I’m the referee. When do I call the Mercy Rule?