The Best Of 2009: Challenge

December 9 Challenge. Something that really made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

I've been sitting here all day attempting to think of one really big challenge that I was faced with this past year and my mind is completely blank. I faced most of my big life-changing challenges to date in 2007 and early 2008 when I was forced to grow up really quick and become a single first-time homeowner and take care of all the responsibilities that go along with it. Since this has been my third year in my home, I wouldn't say that home ownership has been a challenge for me in 2009. I've pretty much figured things out, know what works for me and I've been taking each day in stride.

The only major challenges that I recall facing this year were both 'close-calls' with my pets. Since I'm not married yet, and don't have any children, my animals are some of the closest things to me, so... you get to hear about them again! ;)

Piper's close call incident in October was definitely a challenging time for me. I've had Piper for 5 years now, and he's been through a lot with me. He lived in Guelph with me for my final 2 years of university in Guelph, moved back home with me and then into my house. He's been by my side through some of the best moments in my life, and my worst. So when he got sick and I had to seriously think about possibly putting him down, I knew I had one of my toughest decisions ahead of me. My number one priority was to cause the least amount of suffering as possible. Thankfully with the support of my parents, I was able to help him out with the surgery and give him a second chance at life. I'm glad I made that choice, because he certainly had the fight in him!

I was met with another major animal-related challenge this year right at new years when my horse Chelsea choked. Choke in a horse is a big deal. If severe enough and not taken care of in time, it could kill a horse. It has been almost a year, but I remember that night as if it was yesterday. I was ready to leave the barn for the night and passed by Chelsea's stall to say good night. I looked in her stall to find her standing there with her head drooping and thick mucus coming out of her nose. I called over my BO (barn owner) right away and she told me Chelsea was choking. She then showed me the lump in Chelsea's neck where the build-up was in her throat.

I remember trying to make her walk in the arena in attempt to get her to pass it herself. I felt so absolutely helpless watching my poor girl suffer. My big, majestic mare looked sadder than I ever seen her and I'd be lying if I didn't say that I had thoughts that night that my best friend of 8.5 years might have to leave me that night. If I ever had a bad day, she had been my go-to girl. I had spent hours, upon hours on top of her back floating along, flying over jumps, and really just being at peace. I couldn't stop thinking - what would I do without her? How could I ever show up at that farm again if she wasn't there? I quickly realized my negative thinking was not going to help the situation at all, so even though it was tough, I had to put those thoughts to the back of my mind as I continued to walk her and wait for the vet.

The vet finally came and as per his instructions we had many buckets of hot water ready awaiting his instructions. The only way for him to clear the blockage in Chelsea's throat was to run a tube up her nose and flush it out. (**warning graphic coming up**) I held my girl as the vet prepared to force this tub up her nose. The look of terror and worry in her eyes was nothing I had ever seen and it scared me to death. It was at that point when her terror overcame her and she started to become violent trying to strike out at the vet. My emotions were going crazy, I started to feel faint and no longer had the strength to hold her. I then had to just sit and watch. Watch as the vet drugged up my horse and continuously put a tube up her nose followed by many, many buckets of water in attempt to flush out whatever was stuck. There was lots of water and a TON of blood. I was terrified through the whole ordeal, but he got it. After an hour of this back and forth process, pieces of grain started to come out and the blockage was gone.

She ended up being ok in the end, and is back to her self now, but boy was that ever a hard night.

People are right when they say that sometimes you never realize how good something is until you come close to losing it.


2 Responses to “The Best Of 2009: Challenge”

Ebony Jewel said...
December 9, 2009 at 11:12 PM

Those are two totally scary events!! And again it's okay for your pets to be your kids!! Pets love us unconditionally & they don't judge; best part of being a pet owner. I'm happy both your cat & horse are doing well!

DT said...
December 11, 2009 at 4:31 PM

Tears came to my eyes when I read about how Chelsea was struggling.

I can only imagine your heartbreak watching your beloved pet suffering.

I'm glad she's alright now.

Wishing you many more years with both Chelsea and Piper.

(aka Woofy from SC)