by Susan Bandy
We recently had to say goodbye to two cherished members of The Lily Pond family. These transitions are never easy… in fact they are devastating. One of the most difficult aspects of animal rescue is grieving the loss of their passing – a challenge we face regularly given our focus on seniors, special needs, and hospice care. We also acknowledge the privilege of supporting an animal as they cross over into the next phase of their soul’s journey. These moments are sacred and full of grace. We find comfort in the special memories we shared with our beloved four-legged friends and the fact that they were living their best life with us… safe, well fed and cared for, and loved.
SAMMIR was a gorgeous senior Arabian of 30 years, special to us in so many ways. He and April were the first horses that the sanctuary adopted in November of 2018. The bonded pair arrived from the Labrador Hill cruelty case thin and malnourished. Sammir also displayed a neurological issue caused by abuse in his earlier life, which was evident in his off-balance gait. It didn’t take long to rehabilitate the two horses and bring them up to a comfortable weight.
Sammir distinguished himself as a very affectionate and well-mannered gentleman. He was friendly and loved by all — humans and horses alike. Sammir enjoyed being groomed and would give a hilarious squeal of delight when it was time for his meals of warm, soaked grain. One of his most endearing traits was to stick out his tongue every time we gave him a peppermint. He loved them and would make silly faces while chomping on his favorite treat.
Sammir clearly loved April, but the arrival of the gorgeous Thoroughbred mare Waverly noticeably shifted the herd dynamic. Waveley is an incorrigible flirt and it only took a few minutes for Sammir to become completely besotted. He lived out his days happily with his bestie April and his lady love Waverly.
Earlier this year, we began to notice odd symptoms and called the vet, but no cause could be identified. They slowly grew worse and we became accustomed to visits from our veterinarian every couple weeks. And then Sammir spiked a fever. He was treated with antibiotics, but when that didn’t work, our vet put him on a different medication. Blood tests were stable other than a high white cell count, indicating infection. But another round of antibiotics did not work.
Sammir’s fever spiked again and caused laminitis, which is a very painful hoof condition. We were on the phone with our vet every day, treating the fever and administering pain medication. Another round of blood work shocked both us and the vet when it showed an extreme change from only three weeks before: Sammir had cancer and his vitals were shutting down.
Sammir was growing more uncomfortable every day despite our best efforts. Then the morning came when he went down in his stall and his eyes communicated his readiness to make his transition. I made the difficult call to the vet. We groomed Sammir and gave him all of his favorite treats – apples, carrots, and peppermints of course.
His best friend April sensed Sammir’s approach toward the Rainbow Bridge. She was agitated and anxious, but then went over to her friend and nuzzled him for an hour, whispering her love and best wishes for his transition in his ear. Sammir’s passing was very peaceful. We had him cremated and spread his ashes along the fields next to the paddocks so that he could remain here at his forever home among his beloved ladies, April and Waverly.