Saturday, March 5, 2011

Taking Care of Them

Why does it feel so good to take care of animals?

Saxony's oogy, goopy eyes turned out to a fairly minor thing. The very German vet who examined her yesterday taught me quite a bit about the anatomy of the horse's eye in general and then took me step by step through Saxony's exam. I like veterinarians who offer a running commentary as though you are keenly interested, because I always am. I sometimes feel like a pest when I am badgering vets to explain everything to me, and this vet just spooled out the story without prompting. I felt like a first-year resident going on rounds.

Saxony's eyes are in excellent health: clear and well-shaped, no abrasions, no signs of cataracts, no conjunctivitis. The vet ran a dye test, applying the dye like eye drops, looking for  blockage of the tear ducts or nasal canals (bingo, Kate and RR). Saxony's favorite part of the exam came when she had to eat a handful of grain from a bucket set on the floor, head down so the dye could drain to her nostrils. The green dye eventually appeared in her right nostril, but it was a no-show in the left. Since she's having her wolf teeth extracted on Monday, we elected to have her regular vet flush her nasal canals then instead of sedating her twice in three days. For now, I'm applying a steroidal antibiotic twice a day. It's difficult because her silly long eye lashes get in the way when I'm trying to pull down her lower lid, but I'll figure it out.

Today, the wonderful barefoot specialist who trimmed Saxony came to trim Scout and Gambler (my friend K's horse.) Another horse-care provider happy to narrate as she worked. She offered observations about both horses' feet in a clear, concise way, all the while trimming them beautifully. Her assessment of Scout's back hooves brought a new angle (no pun intended) to how I understand her ways of moving. Little Gambler, already perfect in mind and spirit, won praise for the natural balance born into his feet. I really enjoyed watching the trims and found it hard not to imagine there was a spring in their step when I led them out of the barn.

So, why does it feel so good to take care of them? I think a big part of it, for me, lies in having to learn about them well enough to understand what they need. Responding to their needs means a lot to me. I love to be able to do that. That's the silver lining I've found in vet bills, to be able to think of them as tuition paid toward my continuing-education credits. It's a sound investment in their future and mine, isn't it?


Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Well said! I agree 110% :)

Story said...

The timing on your post is excellent since I was just trying to explain this feeling to Husband. You've said it all very well.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Great insight. I feel good when taking care of my animals too. Maybe it's the natural mothering/nurturing side of me.

I'm sort of a pest with the vets and farriers and anyone else who works on the horses. I ask a lot of questions and watch how things are done. We never stop learning and the more we know the more we can help them. Good post.

Anonymous said...

That's interesting about the eyes! I have never seen a test like that. We have a horse at the barn (a boarder horse) that has constant crusty goop in her eye. I wonder if that is her problem? Her owner is behind on board so I doubt she will get a vet out for that, sigh.

I agree I enjoy being able to relieve pain and learn from the vets. They don't know exactly why they are being poked and prodded but I do think they connect the dots later with you being the relief of their pain. I think this is why Cassy has bonded so much with me, I was finally able to relieve her mouth pain. Or maybe I was just the first person that was consistently nice to her.

Rising Rainbow said...

For me it is about the connection that builds from taking care of them. I love that the amount of work I put into the relationship will be rewarded without all the gunk that happens in relationships with people.