This was as far as he could go.

Our boy Bud is a little under the weather.

A couple days ago he came up lame – this time on his “good foot.” We had the vet out to take a look, and she’s pretty sure it’s another abscess. It’s one of the many symptoms/side-effects of Cushing’s Disease. She applied a poultice and made an appointment to return on Friday to lance the abscess.

But with kids and animals, neither likes to wait for the appointment.

Am I right?

If you have children or animals you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Weekend visits to the ER. Emergency holiday calls to the doctor. They seem to get sick, or worse, at the most inconvenient times.

So I was out yesterday to feed our two old sweeties. Pepper was at the gate along with the rest of the Herd of Oldsters. Bud was nowhere to be found.

And that started my alarm bells ringing.

I let Pepper out and fed her, all the while scanning the pasture for Bud. With his new black coat he’s hard to spot. When Miss P. finally finished her grain, I took a walk to find Bud. Eventually I found him at the far end of the pasture. He was standing alone, obviously in pain, trying to get the weight off his sore foot.

Usually he acknowledges me when I approach him, but this time he didn’t react. And he didn’t budge.

I walked up to him, said hello and offered a hay cube, which he did eat. The look on his face told me he was hurting. We talked for a few minutes as I slipped the halter over his head. And then I coaxed him to walk. He didn’t want to, but eventually he took a halting step, and then another. Slowly we made our way across the pasture.

When we got to the water tank he drank and drank. I suspect he’d been out in the pasture all night and hadn’t had any water, which for a horse isn’t a good thing. We’re still trying to figure out how he felt good enough to walk that far into the pasture in the first place.

He’s not saying.

Once he drank his fill, he took a few more steps and then stopped.

That was it.

He wouldn’t, or couldn’t go any farther. I think the walk in had exhausted him, because this is a horse that is all try. He will give you everything he’s got. Bud is nothing but heart. So I knew the pain was bad.

I called Rick, who left work to see if he could coax Bud to walk. He couldn’t.

And for Bud to not move for Rick meant he was in pretty bad shape.

We arranged to put Bud and Pepper together in a run where he wouldn’t have to walk for food or water. We had to give him some time to rest before even attempting to get him to walk again. After about an hour he regrouped enough to hobble to the stall.

A few minutes later, I brought Pepper to keep him company.  We’d learned last time that Bud won’t eat (or heal) without Pepper. The minute he saw me leading her toward him, he called to her.

It was sweet and tender and heartbreaking all at the same time.

So for now these two are hunkered down in an outside run. They have protection from the wind and room service. That can’t be all bad. And they don’t have to fight for their share of hay. Oh, and most important-they have each other.

That may be the best medicine of all.