Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Watched Something Die Tonight...

... But also saved a life.  Well, depending on whether or not the poor living animal goes into shock...

Tonight, my lifemate Bob helped me at my farm job - stablehand job.  Instead of going directly home, he had a monster craving for Rita's (for those not on the east coast, Rita's is a water ice and custard place.  "Ice, Custard, Happiness" is their motto and they do deliver!)  It was almost closing time for that chain, so we headed to the one closest to us, opposite of home. 

The headlights of our car catch something, I suddenly exclaim "SHIT!" and Bob slams on the breaks. Two large, dark colored rumps are bobbing out in front of us - loose horses. I tried to acertain if they were any from the farm I work at.  (They weren't, they were just a pair from another owner in the area).  Bob yelps at me to call 911 on my cell phone while he tries to get the horses off the road.  I do, tell them that there are horses in the highway and where we were, they assure me they'll send people out there right away. 

Bob gets in the car to turn around and the horses are headed the same direction in front of us, we're watching them, hoping to do what we can to alert other drivers, but it is full-dark night and this stretch of road is home to some of the stupidest drivers in the state.... I hear a "THUMP!"  and Bob screams out something - "Hit!"

And in our headlights, on the side of the road, there is a twitching pile of hooves and guts.  I remember one whinny and going "Oh, God," then Bob saying that the other one was loose in the field on the opposite side of the roadway. 

I have a strong stomach - guts do not bother me.  If you look at my art on DA.... I've had to deal with stripping down roadkill to clean the bones.  I've seen the Bodyworld's exhibit with preserved human corpses stripped down, so, that doesn't bother me.  The horse's twitching did.  Suffering bothers me.   Later on, Bob assured me that what he saw (he saw the hit) tells him that the horse probably hadn't felt anything, that it was a solid hit and the whinny I heard was just a death-rattle, the twitches a reflex.  It stopped after about two minutes. 

In any case, even as I was disturbed by my view of blood and guts twitching and looking away in horror, I heard Bob say that the other horse was off in the field across the road and that we gotta keep it out of the road.  (More traffic was coming, even though Bob set our emergency lights an and was trying to stop it).

The driver of the van that hit the horse was fine, and trying to help the situation. Or calm himself with a smoke. Whatever. I had sprung into action.  No time to be horrified, I had a job to do.  There was a living horse in the field panicking and trying to get into the road and I had to stop it while Bob dealt with the driver, arriving cops, and with calling my boss for help. 

So, I risked getting hit by stupid drivers and being trampled to death by a large, panicked quadraped. 

I didn't help the animals' panic much.  I screamed at it at the top of my lungs.  "GO AWAY! STAY OUT OF THE ROAD!"  Waving my arms, dancing around like a crazy person, once ducking behind a telephone pole when it ran into the far side of the field, worried it was going to be charging back and if I couldn't stop it, I didn't want to die. When the horse did approach the roadway, I did my duty of dancing around, screaming and trying to back it away because, I thought "If I let this horse get hit and stood by to watch it, I'll never forgive myself." 

Bob said to try to calm it.  I reached out, touched its nose, talked softly, trying to get it to back away... watched the panic in its eyes and it twitch like it was going to come charging - I resorted to screaming and flailing again. Better to keep it out of the road than nothing.

When was able to, Bob came, put his arm around the horse's neck and partially calmed it.  I stayed to the roadside, pacing around in case it made a break.  Approached just as Bob's phone rang, took it. It was my boss, whom he'd called. I told her the situation and said "Yes, come, bring halters! We need a halter!"  Went back to pacing, told my side of the story to the cops....

My boss and the other area horse-people in her contact circle arrived to confirm that these animals didn't belong to them, to halter the horse and try to calm him down.  Poor thing was sweating buckets.  Panic and shock like this are very dangerous for horses. They are sensitive animals and almost anything can send them into conditions like colic.  We had to make sure he wasn't injured, as the van might have grazed him, too.

Bob and I stuck around for a while, even when the police said we didn't have to be there, just to try to settle things, to tell people our side of things (since we were the first responders).  I spoke of "needing whiskey."  Bob took me to Dunkin' Donuts for a large white hot chocolate, instead.  A joke was made about "When teetolers need a drink." 

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry you had to see a horse die like that, and I applaud your courage in saving the other one from dashing into peril trying to rejoin his/her herdmate. Your friend did it right calming the horse, you did right by breaking through the panic appearing as a bigger danger. Thanks for sharing...