It is with a broken heart that I write this myself, (albeit over several days) despite feeling lost, alone, terribly sad, heartbroken & in pain, I just wanted to let you all know; my beautiful horse (who saved my life) had to be put to sleep Thursday 17th July; she passed over Rainbow bridge around 6.30p.m. after a long battle with colic!
My apologies for taking so long to get in touch, but it’s taken all this time, for me to be able to think let alone write about Lillia; without breaking down! Some of you may have seen posts on FB, as my daughter put it on her FB page & shared it to mine.
Many of you know I suffer with pain, due to a riding accident, which lead to several failed back surgeries, throughout my life. There has often been times I haven’t been able to post due to pain or being in hospital! But now I have lost my best friend & life saver; I’m devastated…I just haven’t got the strength to cope with ill-health & a broken heart at the same time, to enable me to post; aside from the odd petition in the last few days!
Regards Lillia, I feel it may help me, to deal with her loss, if I write about it. To this day, I still can’t talk about her, without bursting into tears, I just wanted to be left alone to grieve in my own time! So I’m hoping this will ease my heart & reduce my tears…I hope it may also help other horses owners, that haven’t seen a horse colic & realise, just how small the signs, in their horses behaviour, can lead to severe colic!
It all started on the 23/07/2014. The vets had been called out for 3 days in a row, to see Lillia at the livery yard. Lillia was off her food & wasn’t drinking much, the livery staff also noticed a lack of faeces! It could have been anything from an upset tummy to very mild colic symptoms, going by how she was presenting! She was treated with the appropriate medications & walked accordingly, but by 7.30 p.m on Wednesday evening, she was no better; so the vet referred her for immediate investigative surgery! I felt so guilty, helpless & heartbroken that I couldn’t go with her; due to my own complications from recent surgery! My only solace, was that my daughter was with her throughout.
All I could do was sit near the phone all night, praying for a miracle. Eventually at 1.40 a.m the vet called, Lillia had been in theater for 4 hours! Once in theater the vets noted she had suffered from a right dorsal displacement of the large colon & had an impacted Cecum, that could have ruptured at any time. They were extremely lucky they caught it before it did. I found it so strange that she wasn’t presenting the symptoms one would normally associate with the above colic, which is why she wasn’t sent to the Equine hospital sooner! Which just proves not all horses show the classic colic symptoms like; rolling, pawing, kicking the ground, biting at stomach, sweating, with a rapid pulse & heavy breathing. The vet also explained that whilst Lillia was under anaesthetic, she also had problems with her heart, but the vets manage to stabilize her & carry on with the operation. I was mortified to think my horse was going through all this, without me being there to help, due to my own pain; thank God, she had my daughter’s voice, to reassure & calm her!!
After a week she was allowed home, still with the bandaging , stitches & staples. in place, she didn’t have to return to the hospital, as they could be taken out by any vet. From photo’s my daughter took, I couldn’t believe how quickly she had lost condition, from her withers to her backside; she looked very dehydrated. Lillia was ok for a few days, but unfortunately the colic symptoms returned, so she was rushed back into hospital. This carried on from the 23rd June to 16th July, in & out of hospital with colic symptoms. On the 16th July, she was allowed to come home once again; the yard staff had even made her a welcome home banner, thinking this would be the end of it all!
The day after she came home from her latest visit to the Equine hospital; I can’t describe why, or even begin to understand why, I had this overwhelming feeling that I just had to see her that day. This nagging, gut wrenching urge, just wouldn’t leave the pit of my stomach. Something told me that I had to be with Lillia that day. Although I was still recovering & was due in hospital the next day, I simply couldn’t ignore the feeling. I couldn’t go alone so my mum took me! I couldn’t get to see & be with Lillia fast enough, I was aching to wrap my arms around her, to tell her much I missed & loved her & how sorry I was at not being able to be with her throughout her ordeal.
Finally, we arrived at the stables (the livery yard is in another town, which meant visiting her, a problem due to my pain; my own fault, I wanted the best place where she would be loved , not just another livery number) & I soon had her in my arms! But all I could do was cry with relief, that she was ok & home again! But within 5 minutes, she began pawing the air, at first I thought it was because she was pleased to see me, & wanted a treat (she would often lift her front leg, her sign for treats) but then reality hit home; OMG…she was colicing yet again!!. Immediately the staff began walking her around whilst I rang the vet; it worried me that the staff had never seen her this bad! She was stomping, pawing, sweating & biting at her stomach. The vet reiterated how damaging it would be if she went down & began rolling, he said to give her more bute & keep her up & walking, until he arrived; the trailer was on standby, just in case!
Lillia so desperately wanted to lay down, her back legs were buckling as she tried to walk, so the staff managed to get her into the sand school arena, so she didn’t injure her back legs. To see her being pulled & tugged at, to keep her up & moving was heart wrenching, but it had to be done. I’d done it years ago with a previous horse, but it’s not easy to keep a horse up; when all it wants to do is lay down! I sat on the bench, sobbing in my mother’s arms, watching my beautiful precious girl in such pain, was devastating to see; but harder because I wasn’t able to help! My tears wouldn’t stop & my heart was breaking. Suddenly, Lillia collapsed in the sand school & nobody could get her up; I just knew I had to be with her! So I left my mum, who was also in tears, to ring my daughter at work, to tell her she needed to get to the livery yard, ASAP.
Somehow, perhaps it was shock & adrenalin blocking my pain, I managed to get in the sand school, I just had to be with Lillia. I fell down to my knees at Lillias head, (all I could hear was my mum shouting frantically, along with the yard staff, to get up, as I wouldn’t have been able to move quick enough, had Lillia tried to get up or started rolling & kicking out in pain) but I knew once I looked into her eyes, she wasn’t going to do that! I just sat, with her head in my lap & told her how much I loved her & how brave she was. I told her that if my operation went well, we could soon be together again, perhaps even ride on the beach again & go hacking through the countryside etc; we just had so much to look forward to!
However, the longer I looked into her beautiful chocolate coloured eyes, I saw her soul & felt her pain; yet I couldn’t do anything to take it away, I just felt so bloody useless…I couldn’t hold back the tears! Stroking her face, I kept telling her how much I loved her & how sorry I was, that I couldn’t get to see her more often! Then suddenly she started to make strange grunting noises, like we would say “ugh” when in pain. I then realised why, the feeling in my gut; was telling me I had to be with her, that particular day!!
The vet arrived & after his examination, I could tell it wasn’t good, he immediately gave her pain killers & a little sedation via injection! My daughter arrived not long after the vet, which had given him time to explain the full situation to me. It left me with little doubt, the heartbreaking decision I had to make that day; if I wanted Lillias suffering to stop!!
There was no easy way to tell my daughter, that under the vets advice, I had decided to free Lillia of her pain! We both held each other; whilst sobbing & gently stroking Lillias face. The vet explained again to my daughter, what he had told me…Lillias cecum felt impacted again & could perforate. He ruled out further surgery, as she was still recovering from the first operation & there was a big risk of infection, plus the vet was also concerned with all the complications Lillia was having, post surgery. This time it could be a Cecal perforation (usually fatal) masked through the use of drugs she was having daily (1). Moreover, there was the added concerns regarding Lillias heart problems, during surgery; the anaesthetic alone could kill her!
However, because the vet had given Lillia IV pain relief as well as sedation, they had got her back on her feet, so she was just stood there showing little to no symptoms. My daughter pleaded with me to give Lillia another chance, but she hadn’t seen her 30 minutes before, groaning in pain. She asked the vet, if it was his horse, what would he do? He simply said “I would end it”!!
Lillia would never have recovered, if she had a Cecal Perforation; I just didn’t want her to suffer anymore, I had to make the right choice for her! I realised how many times I’d wished someone would have put me to sleep due to my chronic pain; I couldn’t let Lillia suffer. The only reason to keep Lillia alive, would be just for my own selfish reasons, because I needed her in my life & loved her so much… I didn’t want to let her go, especially as this was the first time I had seen in her months, due to my own ill-health; but I knew I had to let her go!
I had to do what was best for her, so I whispered in her ear, she didn’t have to suffer the severe pain anymore, there was a beautiful place waiting for her, just over Rainbow Bridge! Saying those words to the one you love so much is very hard indeed, I felt physically sick…but to let them go is even harder! If you truly love them, you have to let them go, I just couldn’t bear the thought of her suffering another minute, in severe pain. The vet held my arm, but I couldn’t say it, my sobbing stopped me talking…I just nodded; he knew what I meant!
We had to walk Lillia down to a field (she had to be somewhere with easy access for the trailer to get in) so the vet gave her more pain relief & sedative, then he told us to take our time, to say our goodbyes. I have to say the vet was very supportive & said he would do the same, if it were his horse. But it didn’t relieve my guilty feeling, at letting Lillia go, although it helped, knowing I was doing the right thing. My daughter had just bought Lilla, a brand new pink fluffy headcollar, that she had never worn, so we put it on her & she looked beautiful. Our hearts were breaking & our tears flowed, I have never felt so sad, broken-hearted & guilty in all my life!! Devastated, there we stood, with our arms around Lillia, our tears soaking her face. I told her she was ready to cross Rainbow Bridge, where there would be lots more horses & ponies to run & play with; I also asked her to forgive me & that one day we would be back together again, riding through the clouds!
After what seemed like hours, the vet came & told us he was going to give her another injection, that would make her fall to the ground & when we had finished our goodbyes, he would peacefully put her to sleep via another injection. Before he did, I asked if we could have one last picture taken with her! The vet gave her the injection & she immediately fell into the grass. We then spent ages laying in the grass with Lillia, she just laid there looking so peaceful; she didn’t move apart from blinking, her nostrils rising & falling with each breath. We took our time plaiting her main & talked about all the fun things we had done, we both had our own special, precious & fun memories with her!
The vet waited with patience & sympathy until we were ready. Whilst holding Lillias head & each other, we sobbed uncontrollably, under the setting sun. It had to be done, so I nodded to the vet, who then gave Lillia the final injection, & her heart stopped. She peacefully passed away in our arms…then crossed over Rainbow Bridge! I didn’t realise just how many tears were left, we cut off the plaits of her hair to remember her by & put them in the lockets we both owned, so she would always be near our hearts forever! Then we had to say our final, heartbreaking goodbyes, leaving her alone in the field just didn’t feel right; but we had to leave. I wished we’d owned some private land. so that Lillia could have been buried, that way we could always visit; but we didn’t, so had to walk away. It was overwhelming & so emotional, all the horses that Lillia had shared the fields with, started to whinny, as if they too were saying goodbye!!
It was the ending I had always dreamt of, yet never had, with any of my other horses, when having to say goodbye! This, though so very hard, was the perfect ending; I only wish all horses could have such a beautiful & peaceful end! The last thing Lillia saw, was our faces, our voices, the last she heard! The sun was just about to go down, yet it still shone around Lillia, making her look like she was surrounded by a golden halo! Through the warm rays of the sunshine, we looked back; it was very emotional yet strangely so calm, beautiful & serene! Lillias coat glistened in the hazy sun; she just looked like she was peacefully sleeping. As we walked away, my daughter took the amazing picture below. It was a day tarnished with such heartache, sadness & raw emotion; yet also the most beautiful…Lillias image, surrounded by a golden light, will stay in my heart, always & forever.
As I write this, my tears fall, but I will be back asap, I just can’t say when! I have a big spinal operation due soon, which will obviously set me back even more; there is a risk of paralyses amongst other complications, so I’ve had to think long & hard about this operation. My main reason for going ahead with it, was so that I could be with Lillia, perhaps even ride again!! However, despite the risks, I have still decided to go ahead with it. I’m devastated that Lillia has gone; but in time, I will buy or rescue another horse, so I need to be as pain-free as possible! I’m sure Lillia would have wanted me to give my love to another horse; however, nothing can or will ever replace my precious girl.
I just hope you understand the reasons for the lack of posts & can stick with me throughout this very difficult & emotional period. Losing Lilla has really knocked me off my feet & I have to admit, I have gone into a bit of a melt down! I just have to get over my broken heart & find the strength from within, to face what I’m praying; will be my last spinal operation!! It won’t give me a miraculous recovery & take all my pain away; but if all goes well, it will hopefully give me a better quality of life!
It’s taken me so many days to write the above, bit by bit, & has made me so very sad, yet I couldn’t have wished for a more perfect end for Lillia! I’ve cried a lot; but ultimately, I think writing this has helped me come to terms with my loss. Lillia was no ordinary horse, she saved me from chronic depression; she made me feel alive again, she was just such a special horse, whom I miss so very much! It’s going to take time, but one day I will find another special horse, or God Willing, it will find me, to share my love & life with, just as Lillia had done!!
The following poem, is, I believe the words Lillia would say to me, if only she could, as I sit here in such an emotional wreck:-
Obviously, I’ve been away quite some time now, due to my health & the sad loss of Lillia. So I don’t blame anyone who has lost interest in my blog due to the lack of posts. But it would be great, to know I still have some followers left, to write news blogs for!! I really can’t tell you & you will never know, just how much your support has helped me deal with my life over the years…I’d like to thank each & every one of you who have subscribed & supported this blog!!
You have given me a reason, to battle on through my pain, most importantly, to help me to spread the global atrocities & raise awareness to the abuse, animals face daily at the hands of humans. Be it through slaughter for human consumption or entertainment. The public has to open its eyes to the suffering of innocent animals & act accordingly. Please don’t visit zoos or circuses, doing so only adds to their daily abuse & heartache. Please, don’t become part of their suffering by visiting animal attractions like Seaworld! The owners want you to be in awe of the beautiful Orcas & Dolphin displays & you’re encouraged to think they live a glamorous lifestyle, with the best of everything. The sheer size of a captive Orc, in relation to the pool it is kept in, is ridiculous & cruel, it’s the equivalent to a person, being locked in solitary confinement in a 10x10ft room!!!! They want you to believe it is all done in the best interest of their species & of course for conservation etc. The handful that do so for conservation, don’t expect their animals to entertain the public.
YOU… need to be made aware of the true suffering involved; for your entertainment. I aim to share the truth & mental suffering these amazing animals have to go through, to entertain the paying public…this goes for every caged animal, forced to entertain for profit! Seriously, you must understand why some captive animals just snap: which usually ends with the life of a human & the animal involved being killed! They never asked to be involved…they were forced. Seriously, have you ever seen an elephant stand on its head in the wild? or tigers & lions jumping through hoops of fire?? It’s not natural to them, they are forced, often in barbaric ways…just to entertain you & are purely motivated by money alone!!
Remember, the only thing that will love you more than yourself, is an animal; pure & simple unconditional love, asking so little in return!
I promise I’ll be back just as soon as I can & I hope I can count on your help & support by sharing my stories, news & signing petitions regards animals abuse! The free speaking public, need to learn the truth about the abuse animals suffer. Regards the exotic species, torn from their families as youngsters, then cruelly abused & repeatedly trained through abuse & violence, how to entertain those on vacation; such as dancing bears, photos with young elephants on busy streets, monkeys. birds & sea life…that are brutally forced to entertain for money…PERIOD!!! If those who go to venues involving animals, they need to learn the truth & the signs to look for. The swaying elephants, the pacing tigers, bears, repetitive animal behavior etc, they act that way due to psychosis, they are literally going stir crazy…wouldn’t you? if you were taken from your family, caged beaten into submission; then trained to entertain??? If your answer is no, then sadly I think you’re reading the wrong blog!!!
- Cecal impaction and cecal perforation, the two most common equine cecal diseases, are thought to develop after slowing or interruption of a single progressive motility pattern, which begins in a pacemaker area near the apex, occurs once every 3 minutes, and propels ingesta from the cecum to the right ventral colon. Rectal examination in horses with cecal impaction is the most useful technique to grade the severity of the condition. Medical treatment is undertaken if the impaction is judged to be mild to moderate. Surgical correction of cecal impaction in severe cases requires a ventral midline celiotomy, and exploration reveals a large ingesta-filled cecum and relatively empty large colon.Cecal perforation (CP), a uniformly fatal disease of horses, most often develops when the subtle signs of cecal impaction are missed or are masked by the administration of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents.