by veterinarywisdom

Tammi Sullivan is part of our Veterinary Wisdom® team and chose to share this story with all of you.  It’s a reminder to take comfort in the fact that you have done your best for your beloved companion animal in the name of love.


Photo courtesy of Tammi Sullivan

“This is a story about a young stud colt named Jasper.  He was born in September of 2012 to a bay mare named Sweet Pea and a white stud named Burel.  As beginnings go his was uneventful, until it wasn’t.

“One November morning as I arrived to feed everyone breakfast, I discovered that his mother, Sweet Pea has passed away in the night.  Sweet Pea’s death was sad enough, but Jasper was only six weeks old; that is too young for this young colt to be without mother’s milk and there were no other mares that were even remotely close to lactating.

Unsure of how to proceed, we made several phone calls to horse authorities about what options we had to care for this young fella, who was suddenly without his mother.  We purchased a powdered milk mixture and ‘infant’ grain to ensure that he received all the nutrients that he would need to survive.  This was beginning to become way more than I expected; trying to get Jasper to drink the milk, feeding him more frequently than everyone else, not to mention that it was getting extremely cold.  But you do what you do; this guy didn’t sign up for any of this and deserved every opportunity to not only survive, but thrive.

“Following a couple of weeks of fighting with him, trying to get him to drink the milk and eat the grain, it became increasingly clear that I didn’t have the know-how, financial means or time to give Jasper the best chance to make it:  This was a sobering realization as I had grown extraordinarily attached to him.  It begs the question, what would love do?

“After a lot of thought and prayer (and tears, cuz I knew), came more phone calls, we were fortunate enough to find a mother and daughter who were willing to come get Jasper, take him to their home where they had two weanlings just a couple of months older than him.  They said they had been through this with horses that were even younger than Jasper; in fact they had one that was 30 years old!  I knew that this was the only fair and compassionate solution for Jasper; as much as I wanted to be the one to ‘save’ him, teach him stuff and watch him grow, I lacked what it would take.  So, sadly, we loaded him into a trailer and watched him be taken to experience the next chapter in his, already exciting life.  I guess this experience has taught me that sometimes even the best, most honorable intentions are not ‘right’ for some situations.  As human beings we want what we want and we want it now, but once in a while we are thrown a curve ball that allows us to see and experience the bigger picture and act in a way that is best for every soul involved.”


Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Tammi!