When Your Horse Gets Better

By March 1, 2018 Horses

Thank you for following the story of Tessie’s sickness this past month. Thank you for your advice, well wishes and just plain kindness.

It’s been a tough time walking out to the barn, and every time I saw her, sticking something nasty tasting into her mouth. The first round of antibiotics was particularly nasty because it was a thick paste mixed with applesauce and sat a bitter taste in her mouth. Fortunately the new antibiotic, Baytril, was in a suspension and very easy to squirt into her mouth. I chased it with plain applesauce because Tessie drooled after the first time I gave it. The instructions said it could irritate mucous membranes. I kept expecting her to kick me and I couldn’t blame her because every time she saw me, I had that bitter tasting tube. But she didn’t. She stood, unhaltered, while I dosed her.

Well, on this past Friday she finished that drug and soon began eating with gusto. I can’t tell you how rewarding it feels when your animal starts eating the food you’ve prepared. She began eating her supplements minus the milk thistle. I swear these animals know what sick animal food is and won’t touch it. As Lynn Morrissey said, their eating is something you take for granted until they stop eating. It can be a frustrating trial and error exercise in looking for something that will taste good enough for them to eat. It can be frightening when they stop eating completely. A vet told me you can tell an animal is giving up when they stop eating. Seems to me appetite goes along with the will to live. As I wrote before, the day Tessie stopped eating I was terrified. But she came back late when she took hay cubes from my hand.

This past weekend I eased Tessie away from loose hay to her extreme hay bags, which are made by Hay Chix and offer inch holes in the netting. They seem to keep the horses entertained for hours and keep hay from being wasted. My other hay bags had bigger holes and the mares could tear through them in about the same time it would take to eat loose hay.

On Monday, when Dr. Sink came out she wrapped a weight tape around Tessie’s girth to check on her weight. To my eye Tessie hadn’t lost any weight even though she didn’t eat much, but according to the weight tape she’d dropped a 100 pounds. Dr. Sink remarked about how much brighter Tessie looked. I felt so relieved I could float into the air like a hot air balloon was lifting me over the fields. The next day, Dr. Sink wrote saying, “Wow look at these beautiful results! All is good. The GGT will continue to go down and back to normal. That one takes the longest.” Tessie’s blood work came back into normal ranges.

So it looks like this long month of Tessie being ill has finished up with the end of February. While I’m too washed out to go out and enjoy these first warm days of the year, I think about the kindness of Smart Pak and Cherry Valley Feed who saw to it that the supplements I ordered came quickly,  and  the kindness of Facebook friends who commented and said prayers. A few like Cherrie, Ann, Willow and Kathleen offered concrete advice and support during the days I felt tossed about about by worries.  I think about the kindness of Dr. Sink and Dr. Easm who answered my questions and provided medications that healed my horse. There were random people, who listened, while I told the story and relayed my fear for my horse. My therapist, Christine, had tears in her eyes when she asked how Tessie was doing. Bruce just plain keeps helping me manage the horses. We finally put up some boards that had been down all winter. At any rate, thank you for being there and for reading these stories.

Well,  if it’s not one thing, it’s another, I was petting Little Dog, before she went in for her dental and felt a big lump on her shoulder. I’d not felt it before. Dr. Guedet called while she was under (it’s never good when your vet calls during surgery) to ask permission to take the tumor off and send it for biopsy.  The cells that came out of it didn’t look like fatty cells from a lipoma. “I’m on the fence as to whether it’s cancer or not, ” he said. 

At least we got this removed before it became even bigger. Little Dog is doing well despite the long suture line down her shoulder. I am not too worried. I think she’ll be bossing us for a good long time. Bruce says she’s a good little dog, except when she barks at him. 

But I think of C.S. Lewis’ words: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

With animals, most of whom live fewer days than we do, it’s inevitable they will leave us. Loss shadows our loving because anyone we love is mortal. Their days may be shorter. Ours might be. Sometimes keloid builds around our hearts whether we want it to or not. And we pray that our hearts of stone be turned back to hearts of flesh. And sometimes there is a mercy and a horse gets well and a dog is tended to. And the genius of Christianity, the true good news, is that death is not the final word. 



  • Elaine Montgomery says:


  • Mark says:

    Amen, Katie & Elaine!
    Praise Him who both defeated death and makes us to rejoice!

    • katiewilda says:

      Oh gosh yes…So good to hear your voice again…

      • Mark says:

        Karen and I are so happy that Tessie & L.D. are well. I know what you mean about the pain of giving our hearts to other mortal beings but also how necessary it is for real lfe. I do think we’ll see our beloved animals again in Glory . . . dogs and horses for sure . . . cats will more depend on the Grace of God! ?

        • katiewilda says:

          Dear Mark,

          I too believe we’ll see our animals again when the Kingdom comes in. More and more I think that God loves the whole world, not just us. You are too funny about cats! Our Smudgie is quite the independent little guy. He’s a biter. And Bitsy is a hisser…I so miss Onyx who climbed into my lap often and woke me up in the morning. The night he died I was given a beautiful dream and I also imagined him as a panther…He was an amazing creature…Who came into the house when I was grieving our dog Nate and some tough things in my life.

  • I’m so thankful to hear Tessie and Little Dog are better! You have such a beautiful, sensitive heart for animals (and people!). Loved the last paragraph! Gorgeous! Do hay nets frustrate your horses at all? I’m considering purchasing.

    • katiewilda says:

      Heather, thanks so much for your kind words and for stopping by. I’ve been enjoying reading your blog. The hay nets keep them busy and entertained. My horses ate through their Nibblenets pretty fast so I needed to go to a more extreme net than what they offered. I see them working on them all day. I also was stuffing my nets too full and needed something with less capacity. They definitely save on wasted hay. You might want to start with a larger hole net to get them used to it. Also look into Nibblenets. They hold up very well. Also Hay Chix makes this cool rack that allows you to drop your flakes in and then you close it up, so you save lots of time stuffing them.

  • Love that quote from CS Lewis!!

  • Annie Faulkner says:

    Thank you! And Thank You especially for the C. S. Lewis quote, how true and truly beautiful!!!!

    • katiewilda says:

      Oh you are very welcome. I thought of this quote in the middle of this whole ordeal…Thank you for stopping by.

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