It's morning and it's time for yet another dose of medication. Antibiotics this time. I have crushed 12 large pills with sugar using my coffee grinder. I then add in a little maple syrup and some water. It still tastes awful.
Quaid sees me coming in the stall, eyes the syringe and tries to run away from me. It's heartbreaking to watch him struggle on 3 legs in a small space. I go back out and grab his halter. Up until now I haven't needed it. But after repeated doses of awful stuff (four times a day) he is done with this crap.
I stand in the stall holding the halter while he eyes me warily.
I know, I saw softly. this stuff is shit and you hate it. Those are totally valid feelings. And you need to have this.
I stand waiting, not approaching, not feeling anxious. Just breathing.
After a few minutes, he gives a big sigh and comes over, gently touching his nose to the halter. I slide it on and fasten it slowly, murmuring quietly. I uncap the syringe and put in his mouth giving him the medication. I rub his neck telling him what a good boy he is.
He swallows and again gives me a reproachful gaze. I drop the syringe in my pocket and offer him an apple piece. He takes it gently and then returns to his hay.
In the past I would have rushed to get it in. Now I know better. Rushing a horse will only add to the stress. He has no idea what this is about and it reminds me of when I had to force medications into my children when they were young. It's hard- physically and emotionally. But it's necessary.
I don't know what this will do to our relationship. I honestly don't. I do know that when he comes home I will be spending a lot of time just being with him and re-establishing the bond we had before all this hell.
Horses are resilient and he will respond. I know that.
It's just hard.
I imagine it will bring you closer. I’ve been in the nurse phase with every one of my horses at some point, and that’s what it did for the relationship, deepened it. We had to inject, administer, you name it—poke, prod, haul, x-Ray, IV—so much into Epona for most of her young life, multiple times per day/week/month. She is a better horse for it. I think I blogged about that once, about how the relationship and appreciation deepened, but what a crappy way for it to have to happen!ReplyDelete
That is helpful. It feels like I’m just torturing him at times.Delete
oh my! i melted as i read this. 😍 there is some interesting insight on stress and the value of learning to overcome an aversion and face the stressful situation. i think bonds are cemented with shared adversity. what i value is how quaid seeks the connection despite the adversity and stress. please, murmur more 🥰ReplyDelete
I take a tsp of instant oatmeal, chop it up finer with a knife, and then add a touch hot water and then meds and sweetner product, and then suck it up into the syringe. The oatmeal gives it a bit of different texture, my mare doesn't object too much this way. Sounds like your horse loves you,ReplyDelete
I will try the oatmeal. Thanks.Delete
You're doing everything the right way and it is completely necessary. I'm impressed he will come up to you. Obviously you have a pretty strong connection with him already and once his treatment is done it will get even stronger. Hugs.ReplyDelete
I know he hates it, but I also know he feels your kindness in it. Intention is everything to them. I think he might come out of this hating syringes or fussy about taking stuff in his mouth, but I think he will also know that you were there with him to heal him, and your bond will be all the greater for it <3 So sorry for everything you're going through and I'm awed by how you are handling it all. Prayers for better days ahead <3ReplyDelete
I think he might too. But that can be worked through.Delete
ugh we had a horse in the barn who needed daily meds via oral syringe for weeks on end, and he was the same way -- hated it and wanted to run from us. once the treatment was over, tho, he immediately returned to his snuggling trusting self (tho still might give a big syringe the stink eye!)ReplyDelete
That is good to hear.Delete
Connection is everything, isn't it?ReplyDelete
One more idea for you, if Quaid likes peppermint. It can disguise a lot of nasty tastes, so maybe some crushed peppermints? Or peppermint essential oil which, by the way is a natural anti inflammatory and pain killer.
Connection is everythingDelete