April 2016 - End-of-Life Decisions

Thanicare eases the most difficult phase of horse ownership.

Anyone who cares for a horse long enough will one day face the death of their equine companion. It’s a heartbreaking milestone under any circumstance, but it can be at least mitigated by having the right quality of help. That’s what Ron Robinson, founder of Thanicare, specializes in. Here are some of his insights on the subject.

Riding: At first glance, livestock removal seems like an unlikely career. How did you get started?

Ron: Ten years ago, one of our horses died unexpectedly and we contacted a carcass disposal company for help. It was a horrific experience. The owner of the company was abrupt and insensitive when I spoke to him on the phone. He insisted upon payment in cash and dispatched a driver who arrived late and removed our horse in an undignified manner. I remember saying, “If someone would just come along and do this right, they’d have a business.”

That led to the start of Thanicare. It was one of those rare times when opportunity walked right up and slapped me in the face. We filled a need for horse owners suffering after the loss of a beloved equine companion. Soon, revenue from sales replaced the salary from my old job and I found myself with a new career.

Riding: How do you know when it’s time to euthanize a horse?

Ron: A few weeks ago, I asked my Facebook friends a question about pet loss and grief. Interestingly enough, one of the most common remarks had to do with knowing when it’s time to euthanize a pet. And that led me to the idea that maybe I should curate some information that helps people with this topic. With this in-mind, I contacted my equine veterinary partners asking, “How do you know when it’s time to euthanize a horse?”

The response was overwhelming, revealing a wide range of circumstances under which euthanasia is the right choice. And most of the comments were consistent with an animal health brochure published by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) titled, Euthanasia: The Most Difficult Decision. By the way, links to this and other articles appear on the Resources page of our website at www.thanicare.com.

Riding: Horses are large animals. What options are available for a horse’s remains?

Ron: Whether you need immediate assistance because your horse has died unexpectedly, or want to plan for a euthanasia that may be close-at-hand, it’s important to choose a large animal removal service that meets your needs.

You have options when caring for your horse’s remains. And in most areas, they include various forms of rendering, burial and cremation.

I recommend planning ahead, deciding which option is best for you before your horse is euthanized. Making decisions afterwards is particularly difficult, as time is limited and emotions are understandably raw. Additionally, when dealing with a service provider, the staff should treat you as you deserve to be treated – with compassion, respect and professionalism.

Riding: Is there anything you want people to know about your business?

Ron Robinson

Ron: Horse owners are sometimes surprised to learn that we offer equine cremation services and their horse can be cremated whole, intact, without quartering. Although this method of aftercare is costly (usually between $1600 and $2000), it’s cheaper than burial in a pet cemetery. If you have your horse cremated with help from Thanicare, you can keep his ashes with you at your home or have them scattered at sea. If you choose to keep them, our private equine cremation service includes a handcrafted cremation urn so you can create a lasting memorial for your horse.

People are so vulnerable to the devastating effects of unexpected loss that I feel compelled to offer something more than what might be expected. For this reason, I’ve partnered with Guardian Animal Aftercare to offer the gift of free grief counseling to all of our equine cremation clients.

For more information, call 888-845-7555 or visit www.thanicare.com.