(Lucy 2 above,
Lucy 1 to right)
When the local horse auction barn closed down, I wasn't sad. I hate that horses are sold at auction. Who is buying the horse, where is it going? Would this be their last ride, the ride to the slaughterhouse for human consumption? Horses may need to find new homes but auctioning them to a high bidder is not a way to keep a horse safe. We bought a horse at an auction for $35.00. Guess where she was heading...it would have been her death if we didn't step in. It was certain death if the SaveTheHorses volunteers didn't step in. Now with the economy unstable, gas and food prices on the rise, more horses are needing new homes.
The owner of the auction barn is moving and he asked me to take a blind horse so he didn't have to take her to the auction in Tn where he was talking his left over horses. I considered her an emergency so I said, Yes. I stopped by to see her and asked if she was the horse in the front pasture. He told me she was in a stall and took me to meet Lucy. He said she was 12 years old and a nice mare. She is totally blind in one eye and has 20% or so vision in the other.
I went outside and the horse in the front pasture walked up to the water trough where I was standing. As she walked up, I said to the owner that it looks like squamous cell carcinoma. His comment was, "To tell the truth, she was hit by an arrow of someone hunting on the back of the property". He said it happened last fall so she has been suffering for months. For this one time, I hoped he was telling the truth. Squamous cell is an aggressive cancer. We recently had to euthanize a handsome 7 year old paint gelding because the owner waited too long and by the time she called us to help, there were no help we could offer except a week of love, kindness and lots of apples and gentle euthanasia. It broke my heart and all the hearts of the volunteers who loved him. I am holding on to the hope that, just maybe, she did have a bad arrow injury and can be helped by surgery.
The owner told me I can have this horse, free, (with the possible cancer in the eye) 'Gee Thanks!' was my gut thought. Actually, about 5 seconds later, I was thankful I was there. I can at least let her have a good ending. He said her name was Lucy (guess they are all Lucy) and she, too, was 12 years old (a coincidence?). There was no way I could leave her behind. I have so many horses, not enough room but my mouth said 'Sure, I can take her'. It would have haunted me if I left her. Imagine her being hauled to the auction with other horses, being blind on the right side, not knowing what was happening then being hauled to the slaughterhouse, smelling death and being in fear, wondering what she had done wrong to deserve this end, this horrible inhumane end! He said if I don't take her, he was taking her to the Cleveland TN sale on Monday. It amazes me that people like this think it is OK, just 'mater-of-fact'. I wanted to scream obscenities but I know it would accomplish nothing positive so I just agreed to take her and walked away holding my thoughts. Sometimes I think I am OK, I am hardened and you can't hurt me. I repeat it and repeat it, 'You can't hurt me'. Then I have an internal breakdown. Keep it in my heart, in my soul because I am not hurting...on the outside. I am crying on the inside but it is silent to everyone except the horses, they know me well. You can't lie to a horse!
The almost blind Lucy is doing well in a small pasture with another totally blind mare so we will work on getting her tested to see if she will be a good candidate for cataracts surgery. Horses have big eyes and their eye could collapse doing cataracts removal. It isn't a life and death matter so we will, first concentrate on Lucy2.
I took Lucy2 to Dr McGruder to do an biopsy of her eye. He was 90% convinced it was Squamous cell until he started cleaning out the area around it. He said there is an eye and some eyelid that is not eaten away like Squamous cell usually does. That means there is a possibility it is an injury. He took a biopsy of several pieces of tissue around her eye. We are waiting for the results. Waiting! The earliest would be Friday or next week. I hate waiting but I hope it is not cancer. Then we proceed to arrange surgery for her. If it is cancer, then we will give her the best day of her life and have her gently put to rest.
We will do all we can for both mares and for every horse we have. SaveTheHorses has a great number of dedicated volunteers who will help out of their own pockets and help with fundraising to pay the expenses for the horses.