In loving memory of One Eyed Jack aka “Jack"

Foaled Approx. 1989
16 hand Chestnut Thoroughbred gelding
Passed Away 8-30-05

  February 25 

Jack very thin, with a long horsey face which sports a blind left eye. It looks as though he may have been kicked or suffered a severe infection, as that eye is sunken deeply in his face. He has no vision in it at all, as witnessed by all the bite marks on that side of his body showing that he never saw his attackers coming. He is also easy to handle and mostly interested in food, of any sort. He loaded into the trailer easily and stood chomping steadily while we struggled to get his friend and protector, Lucifer, loaded. Jack is remarkably unspooky for a one-eyed horse; but in part, it is his singled minded fixation on food that makes him seem calm. I believe a hurricane could occur, but as long as it didn’t blow his food away, he’d ignore it.

April 27   Jack is also progressing well – he still is single-mindedly fixed on the next meal. He also has a very thin coat coming in. He has become very much more aggressive toward his pen-mate, Luc, and because of this my plans for their stalls have assumed a new urgency. An equine vacuum-cleaner like Jack could easily eat his own AND Luc’s ration, and I have to be able to provide Luc with a place to eat in peace. Jack loves to be groomed, stands calmly for the farrier and to have his blanket placed and removed, and has finally begun to call to me when I come down the hill with the next meal. He seems to be quiet, but strong minded, and is filling out to be quite a large TB, but more normally proportioned than Beau who is all legs. 

Goodbye Jack

August 31, 2005 Today it is my sad duty to advise you that one of The Golden Carrot’s most recent, and needy, rescues, One-Eyed Jack, has passed away.  His passing was sudden, and unavoidable, but he died quickly between the convulsions that wracked his body, and Dr. Zadick’s euthanasia. Although he was fine when he was put in his stall last night, and ate both evening meals and pooped normally, Jack’s left hind leg was swollen up to the hock when Mike went to left him out, and by the time I got out there (10 minutes later), it had increased in size and had begun to sweat serous exudate.  He was obviously in severe pain with it and unwilling to move. I called Dr. Zadick, as Jack’s temperature on the anti-inflammatory bute that I was able to get down his throat was 104 degrees.  Dr. Zadick arrived 3 hours after my call.  His plan on the phone was to put Jack on a huge loading dose of two kinds of antibiotic; he had me cooling the leg and soaking his hoof (which showed signs of an abscess which had burst out the coronet band) in Epsom Salts (the idea was maybe there was more infection that could be drained out, relieving some pressure).  I went out every 20 minutes to offer him another drink of water, and he drank ½ a bucket each time, and he would break out in a sweat.  His good hind leg would shake violently – much more than compensation for the weak leg would justify.  His bad leg seemed to keep getting bigger and bigger.  When Dr. Zadick arrived it was only 10 minutes after I’d just offered Jack some more water, and he’d drunk a little, and then soaked his nose in the cool water while I bathed his face.  But in those 10 minutes, Jack had gone down, and was beginning convulsions as we walked up to him.  A quick exam and Dr. Zadick announced that Jack had gone toxic, and we had to put him down.  Even on exam, the doctor felt that Jack wasn’t really there with us – and quickly the medications did their work and his big red body was still. Dr. Zadick feels that, on hearing Jack’s history of poor condition, neglect, and constant abscessing in all of his feet, Jack might have been a Cushing’s horse, which would also affect his immune system.  In that event, he simply wouldn’t be able to fight a bacterial infection; and the nature of some of those infections is they reach a level where they ‘explode’ and a horse that was fine an hour ago, drops dead.  This speculation certainly fits the facts here.  We checked his leg thoroughly after he was gone and were unable to find any puncture wound, but the doctor feels perhaps that hoof abscess was the start of the infectious process. His suffering was relatively short.  The bute I was able to give him probably relieved some of his discomfort for an hour or so; and the end was quick between the nature of the insult, and the doctor’s assistance onward.  I’m still in shock though, thinking of all he and his friends went through in the neglect they suffered at the California Horse Protection rescue, and the 14 months at Lavendar Hills before they came to me.  

Jack and his friend Lucifer were the last two horses seized from CHP Rescue to find a home, and in fact, no one wanted them.  They certainly didn’t look like they could survive a trailer ride around the block, and with Jack’s blind eye, and Lucifer’s horribly damaged left knee, their chances didn’t look good.  Animal Services called The Golden Carrot and we brought these two home.  They were so frail that they had to be kept separate from the main herd for over 4 months.  But their progress was constant for the first year and I had hopes for their continuing happiness. At the end of the first year here, Lucifer, Belle and Beau were all healthy and happy and looking good.  But Jack, the youngest of the four, was still too thin for his frame – with spine and hip bones still too prominent.  And he walked out every morning like the Rice Crispies commercial, Snap, Crackle & Pop – every joint showing limited range of motion, and every muscle stiff.  I planned to work him lightly in the round pen when he got better, to stimulate synovial fluid production and provide the muscular support and endorphins that exercise can give, as he was pretty slow to move on his own, but wanted to wait for his weight to be better. His only concern in life was to be next to Lucifer, and to dive head first into anything that looked like food.  Despite his problems, I believe Jack could have won the Kentucky Derby if you could just place a basket of food directly in front of his nose.  He would throw his head up and down violently at his feed trough each night, warbling, wickering, nickering and neighing at me to hurry, hurry, he’s HUNGRY! He ate massively every night as I tried to put weight on him for this winter, but it never seemed to make a difference.  Although I probably put 300 pounds on him, Jack was a very big horse, and he probably needed another 100 pounds to look right. The CHP rescue horses, Jack, Lucifer, Belle and Beau were a mini-herd within TGC’s herd – although Beau actually spent most of his time with Navigator.  Jack, Lucifer and Belle spent all their time together, ate together in the paddock and traveled around together.  Belle and Lucifer hovered anxiously as Jack deteriorated and died – and both came rushing up to Dr. Zadick when it was over, like anxious relatives asking for news.  In the near background, Beau stood and watched everything, and once Jack was gone, he walked slowly up to his body, and sniffed his mane, and walked away.   How do they know?  Try to pretend these guys don’t know who their friends were – that they don’t grieve when the friends they went through hell with finally pass on.  I suspect it’s like Army buddies – they may not hang out together 24 hours a day, but they never lose touch, and they never forget.  Jack may have ended up at the CHP ‘rescue’ because he was diagnosed as having Cushings – it can be helped a little with medication, but it’s really hard to manage.  With all the problems it causes, it usually will reduce the number of comfortable years a horse has, as it did in this case.  And then his luck continued on a downward spiral as the CHP rescue turned out to be hell – the damage that rescue did hurt all of us.  Even once seized the horses (all 70 of them) were housed at one facility and Jack and Lucifer, with their disabilities, were hard pressed to get their share of the feed that was distributed to the herd.  So although feed was put out for them, they probably never got much of it.  And for a horse Jack’s size in particular, a flake of hay morning and one at night is simply not enough.  While at TGC, Jack got a flake of grass hay every morning; an evening bucket of two scoops of senior and one scoop of hay pellets; and two flakes of hay every night.  And begged “may I have another” every night. I’ve turned down Cushings’ horses in the past, as they are a management problem and the medications they need are expensive.  I want to help them, but as I am constantly advising you, funds are low.  I provide shelter, food, basic vet and farrier care, and a chance to hang out and be a horse – that’s usually the best I can do.  I was able to make the last 18 months of Jack’s life something worth living – with the help I get from all of you who contribute to the Golden Carrot’s existence.  It’s little enough – I hope you can continue to support TGC in its efforts to undo some of the wrongs that are done to our gentle, enduring, equine friends.

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