This is Paul's Editor.
I am sorry to write and say that Paul had a bad episode of colic Sunday afternoon. The vet came out and gave him some banamine and tubed him. Paul still had not passed any manure by the next morning and went down again. A second examination by the vet showed what we couldn't see the evening before, that the blockage/kink was in Paul's small intestine.
We discussed all options with the vet. His opinion was that it was unlikely that the blockage would resolve itself. In a younger horse, chances might have been as high as 20%, but for a 20-year old mule, the chances were nearly zero. The odds of recovery through surgery were only slightly better, assuming he made it through the surgery at all. At this point, Paul was fairly comfortable due to a second large syringe of banamine, but his breathing was labored. He was becoming dehydrated. His gums were pale pale pink.
Right before noon, we decided to let Paul go before he began to feel any pain. Based on the cold hard facts, it was a simple decision to make, but one of the hardest things to actually do. I led him into the round pen and we all said our goodbyes. The vet and I were quiet together, standing hidden on Paul's near side. The vet put the needle in and Paul went down slowly and peacefully, just like he did everything else in his life.
We buried Paul over by the ring, next to the new barn, in a patch of lush green grass. Johnny dug a deep deep grave and laid Paul in gently with his feet tucked up underneath him.
For a mule who went unappreciated for 19 years of his life, his last one couldn't have been any happier. Every one who met him, loved him. I couldn't bring him up from the pasture without people, adults and kids both, stopping to tell him hello and give him a scratch or a hug. You always hear about how stubborn a mule is and how hard they are to work with, but I don't believe that's true. Every minute I spent with him gave me happiness. He had a great memory and as soon as he figured out the logical reason behind my crazy requests, he was happy to comply. He did everything I ever asked him to do and I tried to do the same for him. He was a good friend to me. He carried me wherever I asked him to go. He toted my son around and never took a wrong step. My husband is frightened of horses, so a giant mule should have scared him to death, but he loved Paul and was proud of him, too.
I am so glad that Paige and Johnny took a chance on Paul and brought him home from the auction that day. I am grateful to them for letting me lease him and spend so much time with him.
When the day comes that I see Paul again, I will tell him one more time how proud I am of him. But I don't believe he will have forgotten. After all, mules remember everything.