We lost Slick today.
(empty, hollow, intense heaviness)
I say ‘we’ because he had so many friends who adored him. Slick was best friend to Norma Jean and Dodger and 1700 internet strangers who wished him well on Norma Jean’s FB page when they heard he was sick.
Slick was the best pony friend, ever.
I am grieving. My heart is so heavy, I can hardly think. He lived with me for 21 years. That is a lot of days.
As I sat with him today, knowing it would be his last day, I wondered how all of my other life things had gotten in the way of enjoying him more often.
So, I say to you, go out and hug your pony. Just do it.
Slick was an adorable, devilish piebald Shetland Pony who was used as a teasing stud at a Thoroughbred farm near where I lived in Oregon. One day, I learned that they were going to dump him because he was such an escape artist. Evidently, Slick couldn’t see out of his huge stall so he would let himself out to roam the pristine aisleways.
I had known Slick and thought he was adorable… so when I heard of his proposed fate, I decided that Slick would be my first ‘at home’ horse. I figured I could geld him and bring him home to live with me. He was small and I guessed that I could handle a small horse – to learn on.
(I owned several horses when I met Slick, but they were always boarded. It never occurred to me that I could live with my horses, until I met Slick.)
So, I made the deal. Slick was gelded and as he recovered, I fenced my field and tricked out the ramshackle barn to house a tiny pony.
Slick came home with me and I adored him. He was only 3. He was my world. I brushed his glorious white mane and tail every night. I picked his feet daily and hung out with him after work – just to watch him eat. In turn, he smelled my hair and nuzzled me. It was perfect. Just like I had dreamed of a pony since I was a kid – except he was such a pony! Slick was so full of pony ‘tude! He could open any gate, demand everything all the time and be cute doing it.
If he was a big horse, he would have been intolerable.
But, he wasn’t. He was adorable.
Having Slick at home was so great, I grew in confidence to have more horses and then buy larger properties so I could have even more horses… and then breed horses… and so it went.
Basically, it is the success and love I had with and for Slick that spawned my huge herd.
A VERY BIG ILLNESS.
A week ago, I was feeding in the morning and I noticed a spot of bright, red blood in the dirt in the pony pasture.
I checked Norma, Dodger and Slick. None had any cuts. Odd…
At that time, I decided to let the trio out to eat green grass so I opened the gate and watched them dash out. Except once free, Slick immediately posed to urinate. That was odd…usually he would run and eat. So, I watched.
Bright, blood red urine came out of him. Bright, blood red.
He continued to urinate bright blood about every 2 minutes.
I was terrified.
I hooked up the trailer – shaking.
I tried to load him but he sensed how upset I was and he wouldn’t load. All the while blood was draining out of his penis. At this point, it was all over his belly and legs. I was almost insane with worry.
Finally, I got an apple and tricked him, shoved him inside and slammed the door.
We careened to the equine hospital…
…They knew immediately that this was not an ordinary bladder infection. This was much bigger.
They put Slick in the ICU, gave IV fluids, coagulation meds and ran a battery of tests. It looked like kidney cancer but they wanted to give antibiotics in case it was a massive infection. However, the ultrasound didn’t look promising. His kidney was huge, irregular and full of exterior nodules. One of them probably ruptured which caused the initial bleed.
Slick stabilized with the fluids and meds. We waited for a week to see if any of his blood values would normalize or if the antibiotics had any effect.
They didn’t. Nothing was working. He had cancer. The specialist said he was a ‘ticking bomb’. Slick was going to bleed again… and what if I wasn’t there to help him? He would bleed out in his pasture. Eventually, he would have many small bleeds and they would not be controllable. Surgery was not an option due to his age and other health conditions – but more because of the type of cancer. It wasn’t contained inside his kidney, it was on the outside and into his abdomen.
He wasn’t going to get better. He would only get worse. We had fought it… we had given it time. But, we lost.
So today, Slick had the best meals ever. They brought in fresh blades of green grass, alfalfa leaves, mashes, and sweet feed. I brought in his favorite cookies and carrot pieces. Once again, I sat and ate with him for the umpteenth time in 21 years. He was soooo happy. His eyes were bright with all of this wonderful food – he couldn’t believe his good fortune. Yes, he urinated blood every 10 minutes, but he wasn’t in extreme pain. I groomed him and loved on him. The techs all fawned over him. We went for a lovely walk around the gardens. He was a very happy pony.
And that is how I left him. He was happy, eating and contented from his walk. Slick had one of the best days of his life.
I, however, cried for the rest of the day. I’m still crying.
I’m hoping Mama Tess and Aladdin will greet Slick upon his arrival… Aladdin didn’t like him much, but Tess tolerated Slick. I’m hoping little life tussles won’t matter and that things are different in Horseheaven. I hope that Slick is already dancing with the mares.
He was such a great, inventive, spirited guy. They are lucky to have him in heaven.
ST FRANCY – Watch over him/us and help with his medical bills.
I also hope St. Francy is waiting for him.
St. Francy was my good friend ‘Nancy’ who passed away suddenly a few years ago. I was in total shock. I wanted to do something to honor her. So, I made this pendant. Nancy was an ardent animal lover. The St. Francy Sterling pendant has a winged heart on the front and the back says, “Watch Over Me”. I know that Nancy was a very, very good friend of mine and loved all animals dearly. I think of Nancy as a Personal Saint we can call by name – for ourselves and our animals.
All St. Francy pendant funds will go to Loomis Basin Equine Hospital for Slick’s wonderful care.
To purchase a St. Francy on a ball chain for $23, click here.
To purchase a St. Francy medal on the lobster clasp for $25, click here.