Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boston Marathon and Buggs

Last year, while we were all mourning the Boston Marathon bombing with the rest of the county, here in our horse community, we had our own sadness. 

We took in a mare from animal control hoping to find her a good home. Tracy Hunter agreed to foster her. She was very thin and in need of good nutrition. As time passed, the mare gained weight and Tracy had a suspicion that Bugsy was in foal. After a vet check, an ultrasound showed no foal. Bugsy continued to gain weight and became uncomfortable. Tracy called the vet again and this time confirmed the pregnancy. Bugsy was not a happy horse. She was getting everything she needed but seems unhappy. 
Feb 2013 and 2 months to go, Bugsy was growing bigger.
Tracy watched Bugsy gain weight at a rapid speed. After another vet check a few months later, it was confirmed Tracy was right, Bugsy was in foal. Once you know a horse is in foal, you look at her everyday, wondering if today may be the day. Bugsy seemed to be uncomfortable every day. Tracy gave her hugs and kisses but it couldn't take away the uneasy feeling something was wrong. The more miserable Bugsy was, the more Tracy was concerned. It became daily posts about Bugsy until the day came Bugsy was really in labor. Tracy, her daughter, Maddie and Jackie, who are all horse savvy were there to help. It wasn't going well. Bugsy was having a hard time, she was in obvious distress. Humans hands were there to tenderly help the foal be delivered. Another panic moment when the umbilical cord broke and the newborn foal was hemorrhaging. Humans hands again there to help. Many horses are left alone to have their babies but Tracy had the instinct to keep a close watch on this one, thankfully so. 

Bugsy was also bleeding. It was hard to tell if it was just from the birth or was she hemorrhaging as well. She surely was not a normal mare because she was not acknowledging her newborn as her instincts would call her to do. As she stood a few feet from her foal, her eyes were glazed. Her body trembling and her heart rate and respiration rising along with her temperature. The vet was on her way but it would be a while before she arrived. She told us what medication to give her to help make Bugsy comfortable but it didn't ease any pain for sweet Bugsy. Our hearts were aching for her. To stand their helplessly and watch was painful. All we could do it try and be gentle, stroke her and reassure her it would be better soon. 
Bugsy  quietly looked down at her new baby and gave her a quiet tender whinny but she didn't have the strength to do more than that. Not knowing if Bugsy would survive, Tracy started milking Bugsy to get the needed colostrum Baby Buggs would need to survive. A baby bottle was given to the baby and momma was milked again. 
Bugsy was suffering. The closest large animal hospital was 3 hours away and there is no way Bugsy would survive the trip. One the vet arrived, she knew the only way to relieve her suffering was to let her go peacefully. Now Baby Buggs was an orphan and her survival was up to us. Colostrum is so important the first 12 hours after birth, we had to put out a call for colostrum, fresh or frozen, because we felt that we didn't get enough into the foal even though Bugsy gave us 30 ounces, it was not enough. 

 Horse lovers sent out the word and we soon found 80 ounces of frozen colostrum nearby. Tracy set up a mattress in the stall and Maddie cuddled up with baby Buggs to keep her warm and give her a bottle every hour. To raise an orphan, you have to be dedicated,,,Sleepless nights!

Buggs sleeping in his bed. 
No Momma but still needs milk!
The next morning Baby Buggs' bloodwork was good, one less worry but we had to organize to get 24 hour humans to take the place of the mare. Baby Buggs was transported to the SaveTheHorses farm. Everyone volunteered to spend time with this little cutie. 
Everyone's heart was captivated by this little orphan.

She was happy to get all the attention she was being showered with. Everyone couldn't get enough of her cuteness! She is thriving on human love and good care giving.

 Our biggest problem is that she thinks she is human. She has no interest in horses. Why should she? They did nothing for her. It was the humans that gave her milk, gave her attention and loved on her. We hoped teaching her to lead may give her the idea that she was a horse.

Natalie asked her to take a walk.

Look at Buggs today... 
Beautiful young mare Buggs
As we still weep for Bugsy, we are happy that our little miracle is thriving in a good home. But every year, when we memorialize the Boston Bombings, We will also remember the sweet mare, Bugsy, and offer a silent prayer for her also.