Thursday, December 27, 2012

Worth Waiting For The Right Home

Jester is a 20 'something' Thoroughbred/Appaloosa cross. 

 As you can see by the pictures, Jester does not want to be a white horse. He loves mud stuck to him and he can then pose as a paint. There have been many times that I glances out in the pastures and would say to myself, "Who is that horse?". Then I'd realize, it is Jester. 

He has been here since 1998. His owner loved him but being transferred to Arizona wasn't ideal for a white horse. After looking around AZ, most horses turn out was a 12x12 paneled stall in the sun. Jester loves to be out and run around, play in mud and flirt with mares. In the summer in GA, he is the last one out and the first on in so he doesn't get cancer. It's always a problem with white/gray horses. His owner decided he would be better off living at the rescue farm. All these years, the right person never came along to adopt Jester until now. He has upper and lower ring bone so he can't be ridden and needs special care and supplements to keep him comfortable. One of our young volunteers, Stephanie,  has always loved him but she went off to college and hasn't visited much lately. To my surprise, her parents gave her permission to adopt Jester and move him to a near by farm so the family can care for him. I am so excited for Jester and Stephanie. What a great adoption to end a year. He'll be moving about Jan 6th. Come and kiss him goodbye if he is one of your favorites. Be happy for him. He will have 50 acres of grass and many new friends. I am sure he'll find a nice pretty mare to flirt with.  It is always worth waiting for the right person to adopt a horse. It is what makes a truly happy ending. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Rest In Peace, Albert the Great Goat!

December 3rd seemed like a regular night at the rescue farm. The moon was making shadows of the trees. It was cool and crisp, just like winter nights setting in. I mixed food for the old timer horses that get special night feedings. Albert, our Nubian goat, was begging for food so I handed him a few broken up alfalfa cubes. He was just Albert that night, normal...or I thought.
Albert, the Great goat!    Lovely photo by Julia Lewis. 

The next morning, Albert was in his regular bed, the shaving pile. Something was wrong though. He couldn't move his head forward. We later found out it is called 'stargazing'. He spent a week at University of Georgia large animal clinic. They were able to do blood work, test spinal fluids and through elimination, decided it was goat polio. We brought him home with medications and iv fluids, sub.q injections and everything needed to see if he'd get better, The many volunteers who came helped out so much. We picked him up with a sling, did physical therapy, every kind of treatment we could find. People from around the world sent prayers and good wishes for him. Some days we thought we were making progress, then he would take a turn backwards. Everyone spent time with him, comforting him, loving him, feeding him and offering him treats. When you have a critical animal you tend to become very close to them. Your heart aches for them. You lay beside them, you think of all the times they made you smile. You want desperately to make them well. You search for answers, cures, ideas. You try to realize you may have to make a decision you never want to make but you have to know you can never let them suffer. You look for a sign, you hope they tell you. You can't be selfish but it is a decision you cannot reverse so it is vital to weigh every positive sign  as well as every negative sign. You look for hope constantly. After 22 days of not walking, Albert was losing all muscle even with our efforts. He still stargazed, he lost weight. He wanted so badly to get up and walk away. Now he seemed to have discomfort. We washed him, kept ointment of him, made sure he didn't get a rash by keeping his under pads changed and cleaned. We looked to make sure he didn't get bed sores. We moved him from side to side and he fought less and less. We could not let him die from dehydration or letting his organs shut down. The last thing anyone wanted was for him to have any pain. 

Dr Amanda knew Albert for several years so I asked her to come by this morning and help Albert leave us in peace. It was gentle and fast for Albert. It is hard and painful for everyone who knew and loved him. We sure will miss the 280 pound goat of love! Rest In Peace, Albert. Dec 26, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Santa and Mrs Santa help Sandman

Sandman at what we hoped was his new home.

It finally happened. Sandman found his family. All they had to do was find the right pasture for him. He needed a smaller pasture for a few months until he was willing to trust his new human, Mom, Laura. Once he knew her, he would be able to go to a larger pasture. Sandman is a 'special needs' horse. After meeting Sandman, Laura feel in love. She has no problem with special needs, she and her husband, Jim, adopted 6 special needs children. Jim told me how Laura really needs a horse to love and to care for. She's always loved horses and is such a giving person, she'd be the perfect partner for Sandman. After searching for the perfect farm, the called and asked me to deliver him to a boarding stable in Calhoun, GA.  When I drove down the driveway, I could see big smiles on faces big and small. Sandman is a big horse and handsome. He would make anyone smile. Everyone gathered around as he stepped out of the trailer. I walked him into his paddock and met the owner of the farm. He was a sweet older gentleman, then his daughter, Angela, introduced herself and told me she recently took over the farm and is in charge. She asked about riding Sandman and I explained he should be ridden. Then she asked about lunging him. I said he is big and small circles can hurt him so I discouraged that for now. She asked a few more times about riding him and I kept saying 'No'. Then Laura told her she didn't want to ride anyway, she just wanted to love him. Everyone was happy, including Sandman. He had his own roll of hay. 

About two hours later, Jim called me to tell me, Angela, said she doesn't want Sandman there or all the children. It was a big disappointment for sure. Jim, Laura and I all started calling other places to bring Sandman. We all wanted a happy ending, it was such a great start. 

Jim and Laura dressed up the children and took them to see Santa. Knowing they all wanted electronics and toys they were surprised when Santa asked Ben, who is in a wheelchair, what he wanted for Christmas. Ben's reply was 'Sandman' He told Santa that Sandman needed a family and they needed him. Jim had tears in his eyes as he told Santa and Mrs Santa about the plight of them trying to find a place for Sandman. Santa and Mrs Santa got involved and helped find a place so Sandman can be part of this wonderful family that sees perfection instead of imperfection.  As soon as some fencing is repaired, I am going to bring Sandman to his new home. I am sure Sandman is just a useless burden to Angela. She doesn't seem to see the beauty in giving love in it's purest form. 

sandman chapman family.jpg
Some of the Chapman children telling Santa they want Sandman.

Poor Sandman. his fetlock joints are not strong enough to carry a rider. Under 4 years old, already discarded like trash. He had a bad start nutritionally which caused problems so he was being sold for meat prices per pound. Why would someone breed their animal then not take care of it?  

Very thin on arrival to rescue farm

He is a big Belgiun draft horse and sweet but you need to take time to win his trust. He was treated unkindly because the owner saw no other value in him except a few hundred dollars. Volunteer Elizabeth McPeek put out the word on this guy needing help. Thanks to generous donations from compassionate people, we were able to save him from death. We were able to buy him from the kill pen. He was very underweight, dirty, had bad feet and was terrified of humans. When I arrived at the auction barn, only one man was there. It wasn't an auction day so not much was going on. He told me he knows very little about horses but he would help me get him. He thought he should chase the horse around the pen to catch him so he continued that for a while. I am sure he saw this done many times and knew no better way. All it did was frighten the already frightened horse even more. There were a series of shoots and gates to get horses through to the auction so I went in and got behind Sandman and just guided him by being behind him. He finally got to a small shoot area and the man helping closed both the front and back gate. It restrained him but the poor horse was trembling bad. I had to climb the side fencing to try and get a halter on him. He was so large and fearful. He kept going up and down with his head, it took about 10 minutes to finally get the halter on his head and buckled. I climbed down the side of the fence and held tightly onto the lead rope. Gently touching his face, I whispered, "You are going to be safe now, I promise." With his eyes wide with anxiety of what was going to happen to him, he let out a nice deep breath and walked with me out the barn door. I had the trailer door opened and showed him the good hay waiting for him. There was no hay or water in his holding area so he walked right in to the trailer. I guess he was starting to believe my words about being safe. An hour later, we arrived at the Chickamauga, Georgia farm. He unloaded well, we took some pictures to document his progress. In the pasture, he found another draft horse to buddy up with. The kind volunteers at the farm give him hope that humans are not bad. He has come a long way in the year he has been with us. He gained weight, learned to pick up his feet for the Farrier (hoof trimmer) and is going to get his teeth worked on soon. Yes, horses go to dentists too. 

Volunteers showing kindness

 Our goal is not how many horses find homes, it is to improve the life of each horse, get to know it's needs and search for the best home possible. We get to know each horse and can honestly let a prospective adopter know the needs of each horse. We want long term forever love each horse deserves. That is our mission to Save The Horses. With all the wonderful volunteers, it is done 365 days a year. No one gets a salary, everyone gets more than they give. It is a little sad to send a horse to to a new home but it gives your heart such a lift knowing you are part of something so much bigger than yourself. Some of our volunteers have been here several years, if brings such joy. It make humans human.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

TACK SALE Dec 15 11-2 PM

SaveTheHorses Rescue Farm cleaned out the barn so you can find a great deal on our tack. It is all priced to sell! 
Lunch Available! 
Stop by and grab a dog, a hot dog that is!

While you are here, enjoy Pete Dillingham train some horse and riders. Pete owner FireFly Acres in Sparta, TN.

Saddles, mostly English. Blankets, halters, buckets, hay racks, bits, saddle pads, English and Western, bridles, leads, wraps, and more. 

Walk around and meet the horses at the rescue. 
Have you ever seen a dwarf miniature horse?

All Proceeds Benefit the Horses!

1768 Newt Green Rd 
Cumming, GA 30028 
770 886 5419

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Life Is Short, Often Too Short

Albert the Great Goat

Weinie the Wonderdog

Starting the day unrested was bad enough. Tossed and turned all night mourning the loss of our beloved 'Weinie' our weiner dog. He was a little hound dog with a big personality. Everyone was his friend unless you were  a varmint. 

Something attacked him Sunday. The Emergency vet said it was an animal attack. He was on the porch with Lea and Bella, 5 minutes later bleeding and wounded. No sound, no screaming or growling. After moving two horses Sunday, driving for 4 hours to almost Alabama then Tennessee, we stopped on the way home and picked up Weinie. The vet explained what he suspected about the wounds. He went over the xrays, said his heart and lungs sound strong so I took him home with a compression bandage. He was painful all night but quiet and at home. We went back to the vet in the morning. He was going to stay until 5 to get another look to make sure everything was healing, possibly stitch the lacerations.  We were pretty confident he'd recover.  I was ready to go pick him up when Dr Cipullo called and told me that Weinie was fine 5 minutes ago but now he's is dead. It was heartbreaking. Life can change so fast.
Getting Albert into the sling

This morning Albert was in his usual resting place in the barn but was in a strange position. He head would not come forward nor could he stand. I gave him an anti-inflammatory. After talking with a few vets and goat people, we decided to rush him to UGA Veterinary Hospital in Athens. First we had to get him up into the sling and into the trailer. He weighs 280 pounds! The wonderful volunteers who are dedicated to all of these animals were there to help every minute. Alisha, Sam and I headed out for a long day. I am going to let the pictures (Thanks for taking them Alisha) tell the story. 
Now moving him through the barn

Gently getting him into the trailer
Placing Albert in a comfortable position . 2  hour ride to University.
Gurney ready for Albert
Looks like a Code Blue, the are serious about his health
Albert weighing in at 280 pounds
Examining his eye
Getting a catheter put in
Albert's head still up
Getting medications
A spinal tap test is painful but necessary
He was starting to eat hay. 
Comforting pillows for his head
Albert's tests came back fairly normal. We hope to see improvement with in 24 hours. He is being treated for 3 suspected problems that have similar symptoms. There is no test that gives an exact diagnosis. I am trying to be hopeful but it is scary to not be realistic. I really thought Weinie was going to be with us for a long time. I am hoping for many more years for Albert. Life is short.