Animals at end of life have much to teach us. Forty, a horsey client of mine over the years grew into a trusted friend & guide. Our journey started out with me supporting him with recurrent lymphangitis, a condition that causes fluid build up & swelling in the legs.
As I got to know him and his story I learned he was particularly fond of a bay mare called Shiraz. A strong willed horse she was the boss mare in their relationship. But Forty, the gentle hearted horse that he was, just lapped it up.
He would come for regular holistic support
I also worked with Shiraz too. To gentle her enough so she could settle into a great life with her devoted guardian. As she was a bit of a handful and had got the better of many an experienced trainer!
Turns out she just needed to be a heard, given botanicals to heal her from the inside out. And a summer off up here in the Wicklow hills to run with a herd. She was a new horse by the end of it.
Often we need to put our human goals aside
And get quiet enough to sense what an animal is trying to communicate through their challenging behaviours. And today she is an incredible horse but its not for the reasons you may be thinking!
As Forty aged he needed more care when he was put into retirement. He ended up at a yard where he could be closely monitored as his lymphangitis never fully cleared. We just kept it at bay by managing the flare ups.
But he was now no longer living with Shiraz
When horses are on livery, and we don’t have our own land to keep them on, often tough choices like this have to be made. But we did the separation as gently as we could.
I came down to the yard and let them both know what was happening. We gave them time to say goodbye. And I did a shamanic ritual to bless them as I was fresh back from Mongolia at the time & that really helped. Forty was much calmer when being loaded into the horse box and parting from his beloved Shiraz.
It was at this point our relationship deepened
To prevent more fluid build up in his legs he needed to be hand walked as he was no longer being ridden. A big Irish draught horse like him, they can be prone to this condition. Especially when stabled over night as he was.
I used to come down to him at weekends and off we would go. Strolling around as he munched on dandelions and as much grass as he could get. Then covid hit. And it was Forty who got me through the isolation of that time. As life at the yards needed to keep moving, so me & Forty kept doing exactly that.
But time waits for none of us, and over the next few years he became less unsteady. To the point that he had another serious bout of lymphangitis and after that was extremely wobbly in his walk. The vet recommended euthanasia, but his guardian didn’t want to do that to her loyal equine friend.
She wanted him to have full soul autonomy
My homeopathic vet friend Dr Emily McAteer prescribed Forty some remedies to support his musclo-skeletal system. I offered him extra strong hemp powder and essential oils. For his body and for end of life support, to ask him if he wants to stay or is now his time. Well before long he was trotting around the field again showing his he wants to stick around!
But the biggest healer in it all was Shiraz. His guardian decided to bring his love back into his life at this point (despite the costly livery fees) and they spent their days out grazing together. And of course, being the boss mare she had him moving around which helped him regain further condition and balance. The original vet who had recommended euthanasia came down a few months later and was shocked to see how well he was doing.
Forty got 10 more months with his Shiraz
Until one day he just lay down in his field and closed his eyes for the last time, with her standing right beside him. He was 28 years young. Had lived an incredible life and was so loved by all who knew him.
A noble being he made everything easy, even at the end of life. Of course our hearts are broken, and we miss our ‘big horse’ but to have a gentle end like that is priceless. And I see it happen all the time in my work.
When an animal gets access to holistic care & botanicals their soul sheds much karma. Their body releases emotional and physical traumas and they become lighter over the years. And taking flight for these animals at end of life becomes effortless. So we know in the depths of our hearts that we did right by our Forty in all that we did for him. He let us know this as his parting gift that brought immense comfort.
We gave her time with Forty in the field after he left his body. Letting her say her final goodbyes. And thanked her for all she did to make his final year one to remember. As she boosted his heart & minded him for us right up till the end.
And to support her now, we are offering her botanicals for her grief. As animals grieve just as much as we do & she lets us know this by processing deeply with them.
If your animal friend is terminally ill please know there is much you can do to support them holistically on top of the usual veterinary care. For example we could offer them homeopathic euthanasia which allows the animal to leave in their own time, on their own terms or it can ready them on a soul level for pharmaceutical euthanasia as sometimes that is what they want or need. We offer essential oils that have the same affect.
If you would like my support for animals end of life I can be there for you & I work in collaboration with Dr Emily McAteer when needed.
I hope Forty’s journey inspires you and helps you understand that animals at end of life have wishes and needs too. That you don’t have to carry the heavy burden of life choices by yourself. You can involve them in the decision making process by giving them a voice.
To get a feel for Forty’s beauty watch the video below of him living the high life back in the days of his retirement. And thank you for reading about his story today. He lives on because you have and that means everything.
Blessings, Lisa, Forty & Shiraz