October 4, 2008

Four Weeks Later ... Part 5

Click on photo to enlarge

A Day At A Time

This heroic boy is on his way!

With four feedings a day, lots of grooming and a tremendous amount of love ... changes are happening. Here he is only four weeks since that first photograph.

So far, he doesn't have a new name. I've saved all of your great suggestions. Thank you, so much! I'm not sure which one will fit. I'm thinking in time his personality will emerge and perhaps he will name himself.

At the moment, it is the sound of my voice and the bucket that gets his attention.

During the past few weeks, I've been leaning against the fence watching in amazement as this boy has gradually lost his depressed, starved appearance. I now see a handsome, sweet horse starting to emerge and growing stronger each day.

The first major change I noticed in him was ... trust.

I'm not sure why he would ever trust a human being again, but that seems to be what he is all about. He is forgiving and simply loves people.

Since I'm at his paddock several times a day, I've discovered he now has a fan club. People stop by to admire his progress and give him words of praise.

There is the little 3 year old carrot girl who waits to give him a hug.

Then there is the van of young school kids that stop, roll down the window and give him a cheer. The mother says this is the best part of the day for her girls.

It is a wonderful sight to see my boy putting on weight, filling out between those bones and seeing strength gradually building up in his legs.

Being very clever, he has learned to walk faster from the gate to the feeder. In fact, he seems to have acquired the energy to be a little too eager at times.

I said, well, look at you ... you're in school now.

We've worked on patience, no pushing at feeding time and a quick learner, he is! Now, he politely steps back and waits for me to add the food and all the healthy things that go with it.

He seems to honestly believe there will be more food coming, again, in a few hours. What a wonderful thing that must be for him.

In a few weeks, he will slowly start his exercise program. This means walking a short ways up and down the horse trail in front of his paddock. Dr. Secor wants to build muscles without burning the fat we are working so hard to put on him.

Speaking of my vet, let me say he is a gem. Being one of the best vets in the area, he is much in demand. He works with the top competitive horses, as well as some child's favorite pony. He is an expert, efficient, thorough, and very compassionate.

When he heard about my rescue horse, he came as soon as possible. He spent nearly 2 hours going over this boy, building my hopes that we could save him and establishing an on going plan for the years he had remaining.

I knew the vet bill would be a big one. And when the bill arrived, I braced myself, but knowing it would be worth every penny.

Much to my surprise, at the bottom of the list of procedures performed that day, there was written ... N/C. I was stunned ... no charge!

Yesterday, I printed a card for my vet showing the first photo taken of one starved horse. On the inside I printed the "4 weeks later" photo above, with the following message.

Dear Mark,
It is difficult to find words to describe how much we appreciate you.
We always know that we can count on you.

You've been a part of the best times and the tragic times with our horses,

but you've always been there as a source of trust and comfort.

We want to express our gratitude to you for your generosity

in helping us with our most recent addition.

It is our hope to give this poor soul a few more years,
only this time filled with care and love.

With gratitude and countless thanks to you!


On the way to the vet's office,
I picked up a big bouquet of red roses,

not from me, but from our boy.


  1. Oh yeah!! I am so happy for him. He looks sooo much healthier!! The way to any horses heart is through his stomach. It's good that he is a quick learner.

    And that was so very nice of your vet. What exactly do you feed the new horse? I have a sister in law that has a hard time keeping weight on her 20+ year old TB/Walker cross. IT would be neat to know what you feed your horse, he looks great.

  2. Wow, this post is such a good vibe. Your vet truly is a caring person, as are you. You've both made the world a little happier place to believe in. For horses and people.

  3. What a turn around, he looks fantastic. I'm sure he is so thankful to you for his rescue and his on- going care. You've done a wonderful thing and it's so good to hear that he has a fan club, especially the children. Your vet is remarkable too. Keep us updated on his progress.

  4. This journey is turning into a true love story. It is so uplifting and inspiring to see him gain strength and to also read your account of all the people that are cheering him on. Your vet has to be the most amazing professional I've ever read about! It's very heartwarming. Thank you for this great slice of inspiration this Saturday evening.


  5. That is so heart warming. I'm sure your vet valued your response to his kindness way more than a payment. But the best reward is giving that horse another chance at having a happy, healthy life.

  6. We've been waiting to hear the next part of this amazing story and I'm so glad that it just keeps getting better and better! This horse is so lucky to have you -- there are so many other horses in this country in trouble right now who are not going to be rescued that it breaks my heart. I know money is tight, but even a few dollars for a bag of senior feed really helps the rescue organizations. And how great that your vet did what he did - I believe that there are many compassionate vets around the country right now who are really worried about this problem. I know my vet is. We should all be. You've done a wonderful thing, Marvel, and the picture here proves it. I hope you inspire other people in the horse community to step forward and help.

  7. Sounds great! I have wondered how he was. Your vet is truely a gem! Now I'm going to cry and give myself a headache.

  8. Oooh, I've got quite a lump in my throat. What a truly wonderful thing you are doing.

    Kim x

  9. Your horse looks so much better already! He is a lucky boy to have you! It's nice to know there are vets out there that truly love horses and want to help them.

  10. Ive been lurking in cyber-space , just knowing you were nursing this guy slowly back to health and heart!! Thank you for the update.

  11. I have been waiting (not so patiently...I think I could use some lessons from your New Boy)for an update. I kept thinking, no news is good news and I was right.

    What a wonderful gift your vet gave you and the new boy! I am so glad you sent him a thank you card and a gift. I think all too often the good things go unappreciated and the bad things are noticed.

    your new boy looks so much better! Keep up the good work.

  12. Awww, now i'm all teary. I am so touched by your vet's generosity. What a wonderful man he is. Those good things we do have a way of coming right back around. :o)

    Your boy is looking soooo good. I'm sooo happy for him. I still vote for Victor or Victory. :o) *smile*

  13. oh happy day - this made mine - yes, virginia there is a santa claus

  14. Awwww! This is such joyfully wonderful news!
    You also have so many supporting you and this handsome fella on to a successful outcome.

    I'm just so happy for youand he that I am smiling HUGE!


  15. Ooh he is so handsome!!! After all that he has been through, he deserves all the attention and love. Good work!

    Your vet sounds lovely, can we borrow him?! It is good that you had that extra support there for you.

    Whatever you call the horse, I'm sure it will be a great name for him.

    Sending you (and him) all the best wishes in the world,
    hugs from Meg and cats xxx

  16. Wow, Good for you! He's looking so much better!

  17. What a wonderful job you have done to change this horse's life around. I cannot imagine anyone who would happily let a horse starve in front of her as his last owner did. He looked so depressed in that first photo and now he has hope again, and faith in you. I think your vet is a very special person too - not many professionals would waive the fee . . .

  18. Love your blog. I hope you keep the new guy!

    Katie, Argus' mom

  19. oh this post just made me cry! I was so happy to hear that you got him! I started to well up when I saw his picture...he looks so great now. He looks just like this wonderful horse I used to work with back when he was in his 20s. We lost him last year at the age of 42. And AJ (apple jacks or andrew james depending on who you ask) was happy every single day. I think that is part of what I see in that picture, the joy at just being alive. You have done wonders in such a short amount of time. And yay to your vet. That was very nice of him. I hope you find a name for your wondeful find!

  20. How absolutely wonderful to hear of people who would make a difference in the life of a horse. Your vet is awesome.

  21. Hey, we are all waiting for more news!! you might think you have better things to do, or more important people in your life, but i disagree!! i am checking Strawberry Lane every day looking for my updates. what about me? what about my needs?
    ok, im only sort of kidding. i hope things are going well with everyone there.

  22. I've only just read Shadow's story as I've been absent from blogland for a while. I'm so glad that he is looking so much better and finally getting all the love and care that he deserves. I'm amazed that this girl could get away with such shameful neglect of an animal - in UK she would have been reported to the RSPCA and prosecuted. I can never understand the minds of people who neglect and illtreat animals, if they don't want to care for them properly then why do they have them in the first place? It's good to know there are people like you, your friends and your vet in the world.


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