Goodbye to Saki
On July 9, 2015, Saki died. Since she only arrived here on April 18, Saki had only 11 weeks with us.
When she arrived, she was very thin, covered with wounds garnered as she fought for her feed, some of them infected, and with sand in her guts. She came from a facility that never wormed or fed the horses psyllium, and in Saki’s case, she was housed with too many other horses to compete for her fair share of feed. As her story will show, she also had a hidden impediment which affected her ability to cope.
(Just so you know, the same person owned Saki who abandoned Medina after he hurt her - an evil selfish shit of a human being who uses horses as equipment, tossing them aside when he’s broken them. This individual, despite the best efforts of our fellow rescuer who brought both girls to TGC, refused to ever donate a single penny to Medina’s or Saki’s retirement or transport, and in Medina’s case, refused to release her medical records as well. THIS is the kind of person rescues have to clean up after. May he rot in hell.)
Saki blossomed here. She was very calm and quiet, which sort of surprised me from an ex successful polo pony. Medina is very well trained but she has all the spunk and fire you’d expect - Saki was more like a calm old broodmare. She ignored Keller who took exception to her entry to Corazon’s stall, until after a while, Keller and Pepe were her devoted caretakers.
Diamond even made an effort to attach to her, but she choose Keller/Pepe instead. She was sweet and I fell head over heels for her.
Like most people, I love the look of a palomino. Saki wasn’t the deep gold with flaxen mane and tail which attracts so many, but she was definitely a blond, and her summer coat had become satiny with a gleam in the sun that will attract attention always.
That despite her love of the mud puddle! Here's a link to a video of her enjoying the mud! And yet, unlike so many palomino mares, she was just darling! I think too many palominos get so much attention, so many baths, so much grooming, that they get a little jaded with it, a little impatient with people and a little full of themselves. Our Summer, for instance, is quite impatient and a bit of a bully. Saki had the great polo pony training, and a sweet nature, and again, that hidden impediment to bad behavior... It made her a joy to be around.
On her final day, I found her down. I thought she was dead when I found her, so still, eyes open and unblinking. She even felt cold to the touch. Her breathing was labored, and her gums were paper white (both signs of extreme pain). And she made no effort to get up at all. I left her lower gate chain open in case she got up and wanted to get out of her stall, and went to call the vet. When I came back to await his arrival with her, she had moved, perhaps tried to go under her chain, but was down again. I dismantled the front of her stall, but again, she made no effort to rise. I felt it important to get her on her feet if possible, so I encouraged her strongly to rise, using a lead rope to whack her butt, but she only grunted louder, and otherwise made no effort to rise. I syringed water down her throat - she did swallow the first two but then just let it drain out of her mouth. And I watched spasms run up and down her belly. I rubbed it for a while - it seemed to help a little - and then the doctor arrived.
Dr. Z listened to her gut - no sounds at all. But, I said, she didn’t eat her dinner except for her carrots, couldn’t that be why? He checked her gums also and I saw his surprise. I’d told him “paper white” on the phone, but I don’t think he believed me. He said this was very bad. Her heart rate was 75 bpm. He felt she had a large stone or a twisted gut - both death sentences here. But I begged him to give her some pain relief, maybe she could get on her feet with that. And this is when that hidden problem came to light.
You may know that when a vet gives an injection of banamine or other pain relief or sedation, they do so in a vein. And after inserting the needle, they pull back to be sure they are in the vein. When the doc pulled back and the blood came into the syringe, even to my eye it hardly looked like blood - thin and watery, almost pink. Saki was suffering from severe anemia. Imagine her trying to run up and down a polo field in this condition.
All during her time here, she was getting worse every day. Her gentle manner was probably a simple symptom of lack of oxygenation. I know when she came in and we checked her teeth, her gums were not noticably pale. The doctor asked if I had rat poison anywhere that she could access it, but I don’t have that on the property - I live in a rat infested house because I can’t risk my little dogs getting it, or the large dogs eating a rodent sick with it. The doctor did say that she could have eaten some at her last residence, and it could have taken this long to have this much effect. Otherwise, the doctor felt some systemic problem resulting in her bone marrow not making red blood cells would be the problem. So many of such problems would truly be untreatable, particularly in a 25+ year old mare.
In the end, she was colicked - but the anemia left her with nothing to fight with. Perhaps it was a twist or a stone, and that would have led to the same result anyway. At any rate, it seemed dear Saki was not to be gifted with a long retirement.
Each horse who comes in teaches me something more. I’ll be watching for this in the future. But one thing horses continually show me, each and every one, is courage. And she was no exception. I wonder if Saki was at all intimidated by the large herd here - by Keller’s dominant behavior - by the sheer change in her circumstances. I know she was always at her stall gate first every evening - having a space of her own every night to eat was a great comfort for her, I know. But she walked out each morning briskly to the first pile of hay. Each day, feeling weak and tired, she faced all those horses, interacted with them, followed her boys around. Humans don’t do that. We sit alone in front of a TV and whine about how tired we are. She stood up every day and joined in. I know that I, and Pepe and Keller, are all less for her leaving. The boys wouldn’t even go in their stalls the night after she left. I hope it wasn’t all an act. I hope she truly enjoyed her time here, because we truly loved having her...