A heartbreaking story

When we were working at our field clinic in Qalqilya on Thursday afternoon, we were called to see this poor dear soul.

We went with the intention of having to put him down because of his condition due to severe tendon and ligament damage, and indeed when we saw him, we knew it would be the most humane thing for him.

However, all of a sudden, the owner, an elderly man, had tears running down his face saying he could not let him go, he was too 'attached' to him and didn't believe it was his time, wanted to give him a chance...

All of us including the man's three sons, tried passionately to appeal to him to allow his horse to go peacefully, even telling him it was 'haram' - 'forbidden' to allow the horse to keep suffering. We stressed that if he loved the horse then he should want to do the right thing by him and not look at it from his own selfish point of view. We spent so much time trying to reason and convince him but he just would not relent. Our hearts broke for that poor horse. We came to the conclusion that the next best thing we could do for him would be to administer a painkiller and antibiotic. This was purely in the hope that the old man would then see that we had at least tried to treat him and then when he will see it was in vain, then he will finally accept what needs to be done.

So that's what we had no choice but to do. It makes me feel ashamed but we are working in what could be considered a potentially dangerous and hostile environment where there are many people who are not at all educated. Qalqilya also has a zoo and in that zoo are a couple of lions and tigers whose main source of food is the poor old weak donkeys and horses in that area, often too weak or badly injured to stand and then get sold to the zoo. A few hundred shekels in exchange for a little life, a soul who has spent his whole life suffering terribly and working so hard to serve his owner... And this is the thanks he is rewarded with.

From what I have heard since they cannot be euthanized, the method of killing is not humane. So at least this man in question, does not want to subject his horse to a horrific end like that. We will obviously be following this case closely and won't give up until we can end his suffering peacefully.

Before I left him I made sure his bucket of water was near him so he could drink and made the owner put some hay down for him within easy reach, which he ate a little of. I also put an armful of hay under his head to help cushion him. We told the owner to put a thicker layer of straw on the floor for him too as his poor body had pressure sores that looked infected.