Bandit and Rion both went to the Bad Place on Saturday. Bandit’s white areas are no longer dingy and Rion’s coat is no longer a magnet for burrs and other debris.
With the decision to euthanize Lily Monday, we had to decide what to do about Rags, a thirty-two-year-old horse who is frail, has very few working teeth, and is suffering from Cushings disease. Originally we decided to have the vet put him down as well, though that decision pretty much gutted us. We knew he would be incredibly stressed by being alone. However, my friend texted me telling me to bring him to her place. She has several other very old horses that she boards. Better yet, Rags lived there for several years before we set up the horse facilities here and knew her three remaining geldings, so he would have a ready-made herd. I told her that I would discuss Rags’ condition with the vet and make the decision then.
After putting Lily down we discussed Rags’ condition with the vet. She was quite supportive, though suggested it might not be a kindness to try to get Rags through another Colorado winter.
Another friend dropped what he was doing to haul Rags to his new home. Although it seemed to take forever to work out the details, I led Rags into our friend’s horse trailer a little after midday. He had been screaming for Lily since we put him back in the main horse field, ignoring food and water. I was afraid he would colic from the stress.
Rags was quite cooperative while loading and rode quietly. (In fact, I knew the trailer was here because Rags does a little happy dance when he sees a trailer pull onto our property.) After a short ride, we installed Rags into the corral where he will live until we can supervise his reintroduction into the gelding herd. The other horses, in an adjacent field, nickered when they saw Rags. He has a small shelter and his own stock tank. He immediately started eating some hay.
This morning I checked my records and we first had horses here in November of 1996. Aside from a few week long gaps due to wildfire evacuations that’s about twenty years.
This morning I did some clean up around the barn before the next rain storm. I couldn’t face doing so yesterday. I inventoried the remaining hay bales and drained the stock tank. My feelings resembled those when I cleaned out my mother’s closets after she died.
This is Rion’s crate. Both dogs have crates in the bedroom, but neither dog goes into Bandit’s crate during the day. This is only the second time that I’ve seen Rion and Bandit share a crate, and I was astonished that they stayed put long enough for me to take the photo. Usually, Rion forces Bandit out of the crate by staring until Bandit leaves, but I suppose that strategy didn’t work yesterday.
With the recent precipitation, our south pasture (aka as the “new field” these twenty years) has enough green stuff that I let the horses out on it for two hours for the first time since last fall. With his age (thirty-two) and chronic conditions, I expect Rags’ next non-routine vet call to be his last, so I was amused when he managed a few crow hops to celebrate being let out to graze. He even achieved a little altitude, though not as much as Lily.
From the road, I could see this abandoned structure in Cibola National Forest in a valley below the road. I found a path from a parking pull-off and was able to reach the ruin with an easy walk. The house contained one main room and two small rooms. A stone wall enclosed the area.
There was no marker indicating its age, but I did notice that the windows had a strip of iron or steel across the top. I cautiously explored the inside as there was no building debris or trash. The stone shell looked quite stable.
I was baffled by the stone wall. It looked like a lot of work for not much protection.
Monday I went for a walk in Cibola National Forest near Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was a perfect day to do so: a little too much wind but warm enough that my hoodie was sufficient. I had planned to go up on the tram to the top of Sandia Crest but it was closed due to wind. I found a few easy walks instead.
One year ago today, Bandit came to live with us. It’s been occasionally exciting, and not always in a good way, but life has settled down recently. He is doing well in agility class. His missing eye doesn’t seem to interfere with doing courses: his main issue has been getting overly excited by the other dogs. However, he is doing much better now at staying calm.
He has learned to sit politely and wait for an invitation before jumping up in my lap. He had some minor housebreaking issues when he arrived, but I am starting to trust him almost as much as Rion finally.
I hardly ever feel like I am trying to walk a small, uncooperative tank on the leash now. I don’t know if we will ever break him of his counter-surfing habit, but Jack and I have learned that we absolutely cannot trust him with food when we leave the room for more than thirty seconds.