SHADOW 01/01/1989 to 03/20/2021|
Shadow and I first met at the equine rescue farm where I volunteered. He was a little, 16 year old black bay Shetland Pony. He was timid, scared and so unsure of everything and everyone - except me. I too was timid, scared and unsure of everything and everyone. From then on, Shadow and I bonded. Trust grew, we looked forward to seeing each other and spending some time together. I learned that he had been given up to us (a no kill shelter) by a family who had loved him, but who had grown up. Taking care of any horse, no matter their size is a great effort.
A short time later, I adopted Shadow. Permits were issued after appearances in front of town boards and Shadow moved into his new home, a beautiful shed custom made in New Hampshire. The door was replaced with a barn style double door, the glass was removed from the windows and replaced with plexiglass, kick boards were put in place after the floor was covered with stall mats. And most importantly, a 5' high fence was installed with black chain link fence so Shadow, the escape artist, would stay in and more importantly, nothing could get in to him. With time, electricity was added for light and heat, so winter was never a problem. He quickly made friends with the local deer that roamed our area. I called them his 'deer friends' as they'd eat what he didn't eat during the day. I think Shadow loved every moment of it. He had 900 sq. ft to roll and a pink dogwood tree for shade in the summer. His 'house' became his safe place. We never did anything bad to him inside and if he got scared or upset, he'd head inside his shed.
About 3 years after I had him, Shadow had his first colic. His vet was able to clear it and subsequent tests showed revealed that Shadow had 'equine cushings' (PPID) and some movement of the coffin bone in his hoofs. His amazing farrier was able to trim his hoofs according to the x-rays and his good health returned when we started medication. Soon I was carefully weighing his starch controlled forage and grain. My routine became that of 'what Shadow needed'. I would get up twice a night so that he would be fed small amounts 6 times a day and bring fresh water. He always greeted me with a three note guttural throat sound and a kiss on my cheek. And we prayed. He never touched his food until I was done reciting our prayers. His vet told me Shadow would be lucky to make it to age 25. He made it to 32 years and 3 months sharing his love and the most tender heart I have ever encountered, with me.
I went out to check on him at 3 AM of 03/20/2021 - the first day of Spring. He had been fine at 10PM, but now he was in distress. It was colic. I put all my knowledge to work, administered pain medication and walked him, but he wanted to lay on, and against my boots, while I stroked his neck in 'his house'. At 5AM I called his vet. She was here within the hour and gave Shadow a powerful pain medication. She stayed with us until we could reach the head surgeon at the local large animal hospital. After a conference call, we decided the kindest thing we could do was to euthanize him here, in a place he knew and loved. I couldn't have done it without his vet. She had recently had to put her 29 year old horse down and she couldn't do it herself. She took the very best care of Shadow possible and me. She gave me all the time I needed to say good bye. Then with many tears she administered sedation, and the final shot that took took him to that place where there is no pain. She also arranged for the kindest man to pick up Shadow for burial.
I miss my little guy so much I can't stop crying... I will never forget you, Shadow.
God Bless you, my BEST FRIEND!
"Whose woods are these I think I know,
My little horse must think it queer
He gives his harness bells a shake