Unfortunately, the vet is on his way to send Rooster to Greener Pastures. He remains friendly and aware, but is showing signs of slipping away. He simply can't get up. His bloodwork came back normal, he just can't get his feet underneath him.
We had a very short time with Rooster, as sometimes happens. We were contacted last summer by an owner desperate to keep him out of auction as there aren't a lot of options for an older horse with anxiety issues at auction. He had been saved by them several years ago when he was turned out in a field and starved, a walking skeleton. At the time, they said he was 17, making him 23ish now, however as always, age is questionable. He could be older, you never know. He's a sweetheart of a horse but had severe anxiety when taken away from friends. That anxiety coupled with new, younger horses, found him at risk of auction. If not for the pleas of his owner and a rare opening, that's where he would have been.
We had hoped he would enter our adoption program, and had planned this spring for him to come out to South Dakota and find his final home. But Rooster showed us pretty strongly that he liked and wanted to be at the Iowa location. At his first foster and even his previous home, though both great places, his anxiety made him dangerous to himself. He was clearly unhappy. But coming to Iowa, with the smaller pen environment and a well balanced herd, made Rooster calm down. He showed none of that anxiety and was happy to ride on the trails this fall - though he had to be the leader! He even got to be a part of one of our Iowa volunteer's senior pictures! He was a calm, confident, sweet heart of a boy, and he knew love.
About three weeks ago, though, he started to fail. He started to drop weight, so GSH Kathi brought him up to the special needs pen and added more food to his diet. He refused many, and finally settled on Strategy. Even on an alfalfa mix hay and ever increasing amounts of Strategy, his weight was a struggle. He suffered a nose bleed, and slowed down. Ultimately, he laid down yesterday and just can't get himself back up. Tonight he's slipping away and with a storm coming, it would be cruel to not let him go.
This big, beautiful senior boy has told us it's his time to go, and all we can do is reflect on the short few months that we had him and know that he was happy. Sometimes we know why they go, and sometimes they just quietly slip away. It's our job to make it as peaceful and pain free as possible.
RIP Rooster, and lots of thoughts and prayers to our GSH Iowa family.