January 14, 2013

Little Joey ~ A Life Changing Experience


It all began here. 

Several of you have asked what happened to our rescue horse. I want to thank you for remembering this sweet boy. 

To share the story of how a starving horse changed our lives, I'll review a bit of the past on my way to telling you what a remarkable experience this became.

The events as they happened are under "Our Rescue Horse".

~~~

His name was Shadow, but he didn't know his name. I don't think in his twenty plus many years that anyone had been kind enough to speak to him by name.  His irresponsible owner didn't have time to feed or care for him. He was basically ... abandoned.

Several equestrian friends brought this to my attention since Shadow was in a paddock near our home. I offered to feed him, call the vet and pay the bills. The owner said ... no.

This called for undercover action. My friends and I worked in shifts to secretly begin a feeding program. I had the night duty. So, dressed in black to go undetected, I arrived to a nickering horse that now knew the routine and nearly gave away this mercy mission.

We faced many bumps in the road. There was a great deal of trauma and drama. But the day finally came when I was able to take over and bought Shadow for $1.00 with a signed contract.

 
We chose to keep Shadow in his paddock as he was bonded to the nearby horse. We began a "back to health" feeding and exercise program. Our vet spent over two hours checking him over. When the bill arrived it was ... zero!  

There were so many wonderful people in this story, my incredible husband, my friends and the terrific Blogville friends who wrote in with their helpful advice and encouragement.
 
Shadow soon was gaining weight and strength. We even talked about changing his name to something he might like. We were with him at least four times a day, taking short walks along the trails, grooming and just talking.  He had a shine to his coat and a sparkle in his eyes. He was beginning to know what love felt like.



Things were looking good. 

That was until the fateful day when the horse next door moved away. Shadow was now alone. He panicked, he paced, he was frantic.  We knew all the strength he had gained was not going to last. Something had to be done, immediately.

It was decided to move him to our barn. That meant removing him from whatever security he had known. In his state of anxiety we chose not to use a van, but to walk the trails that were now familiar to him. Fortunately, it was a short distance to our barn ... and Royal. 

That was another matter. What would Royal  do when a frantic new horse abruptly arrived? However, Royal was a sweetheart, completely calm. He knew he was needed. 

Then one day
everything changed in the barn and in our lives. The new boy was calming down while we were stressing out. The vet was making three trips a day for Royal.


Royal was fighting laminitis and then he foundered. His situation was critical. He required quiet stall rest. Now, it was time for the rescue boy to keep Royal company. 

After what seemed a very long time, they were taking turns visiting each other, until the day came when both stall doors were opened and they stood side by side.




That was when I noticed the size difference between those two boys. Looking at our newcomer, I said ... why, you are just a little Joe.

That was it. Shadow became Little Joe and finally, Little Joey.

It was amazing, this little guy liked his name. He even came from behind the barn when I called his name. 

Joey loved following Royal around. Things were so calm, even the Canada geese never ruffled a feather.


Royal was very gentle with this little boy. And Joey loved being anywhere near the big guy. Joey was, at last, feeling happy and secure


And Royal was now making fast strides to complete recovery. He was our miracle boy.

Life was good.


Little Joey had an amusing daily habit. He loved to stroll into Royal's stall where there was a window view into the tack room. Joey enthusiastically watched while I put together his gourmet lunch. 

 
The boys were a wonderful pair, a rather odd combination, one might say. Royal was the big confident boy and Joey, his little puppy dog.

They spent their leisurely days wandering around together, standing in the sunshine, and sharing snacks of hay.  Royal got the feed box and Joey was thrilled to eat whatever, wherever.


How true the saying is: Time is a great healer.  


Joey had put on weight and muscle. He no longer looked his former emaciated self. He was a happy, relaxed, healthy boy. 
 
And Royal no longer wore pads, wooden shoes and wraps. He was overjoyed to be out of his stall. However, he was still confined to the easy pathways for an extended period of time. This would prove perfect for Joey. 

The time came when Joey began showing signs of arthritis in his hip. Moving about was becoming more difficult, getting up and down often required help. We had friends on call who helped when Joey needed assistance.

We spent a great deal of time in the barn, keeping our eyes on both Joey and Royal

It was bright and sunny that day. Joey was relaxing in the warm rays. This was his first time to lie down and stretch-out in a long time. As we watched, we knew Joey would not be able to get up

We had done everything we could for this little boy ... everything except making him young, again.

We told Joey good-bye that day.  We were with him talking gently. It was peaceful.

We knew then how much this little boy had been a life changing experience for all of us. Joey had helped Royal recover. And we had the reward of seeing a fragile life become strong, again.

Little Joey was our blessing. He said thank you every day. He was a happy boy. And at the end of his journey, he had finally known security, companionship and love.

 I think of the wonderful words of Ralph Waldo Emerson ...

You cannot do kindness too soon
For you never know how soon it will be too late.

Rest in peace, sweet Little Joey.

 

29 comments:

  1. Now I remember Little Joey...I commented about him before he was yours. Thank you for giving him such a beautiful home. He sure looked great and must have felt all the love you poured into him. Sorry for your loss, and I hope Royal is ok. You and your husband are my kind of people, to have saved his life. Rest in Peace sweet boy.

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    1. Thanks to you, Lori, for all your help during those trying days. Your words of advice were so helpful.

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  2. OMG he is so like Aero.
    What a wonderful story, well done on rescuing this horse and giving him a dignified end.

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    1. Thanks, Martine, We weren't planning on adding another horse. But Joey needed us ... so he became our project. It brought us so much happiness.

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  3. Oh my...this is such a happy, sad, heartwarming, gut-wrenching story. My heart breaks that poor, dear and sweet little Joey had to go. But then again, my heart is soothed and filled with joy that he had amazing angels who rescued him and showed him that he was valued! And he knew love and kindness and companionship, and food, a home. God bless you and your hubby and everyone else who loved and nurtured this dear and precious horse!! R.I.P. dear, sweet Joey. Thank you for helping him. :)

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  4. C-ingspots,
    You are right ... it is really painful when they have to go. Still crying. But we are so happy that he was with us and we could help him.

    Life is interesting. It puts things in front of us which don't fit into our schedule. And then that turns out to be exactly the thing that brings us the greatest blessings.

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  5. So heart warming and yet heart breaking at the same time.

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    1. Thanks ... you have said exactly how we feel.

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  6. So sad but so happy too. What a wonderful difference you made in his life.

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    1. He ended up to be a special gift for us. He appreciated everything.

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  7. You and your husband and friends made a very abused horse very happy and healthy. He had a good life when you all came into his life and made such a difference. It is so sad that he couldn't stay but in the time he had with you he learned what love and security felt like. I'm glad Royal was there for him and he for Royal. We humans could learn a lesson from the animal kingdom about how to accept and help each other. Rest in peace sweet boy.

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    1. Arlene, Thanks!! Interesting how unplanned things come into our lives. Joey will always be a happy memory.

      I especially want to thank you for your help during the long ordeal with Royal. We almost lost him, and your support was and is greatly appreciated. He was/is a miracle and I'm grateful every day.

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  8. How sad that Little Joey has gone, I'm glad that he finally had a time with love and security in his life. Royal must miss him a lot.

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    1. Rowan,
      Joey was a blessing ... sweet little boy. Yes, Royal has missed him. We spent a great deal of time with Royal. He's ok, now.

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  9. Thank you for sharing Joey's story. What a wonderful gift you were both for each other. I'm sure he treasured his days with you and Royal.

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    1. You know probably more than anyone what a rewarding thing it is to help animals in need. Wish we could do more.

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  10. Isn't it always the things we never thought we'd do that make the most impact? I am glad that you were there for Joey and he for you at just the right time.

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    1. Dancing Donkey,
      You are so right! Such happy memories he has given us!

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  11. I remember well how you rescued Little Joey. He was so lucky, and it's great to learn the rest of his story. I love the way that Joey and Royal took care of each other. If only they could all live forever, but they teach us so much during the time we have together. The older I get, the more I learn that kindness and love are what matters most.

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    1. Victoria,
      You were such a tremendous help to me during those days! And, especially, during the trials with Royal! I thank you so much.

      You are so right ... it really is love and kindness that matters most. Those are the memories worth keeping.

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  12. I have never been able to understand those who treat animals badly and it was wonderful for Joey that he had somebody who was prepared to put the time and effort in that was required to bring him back to health. Thank you for a special story.

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    1. Thanks Stephen. There are some people that should never have animals. Joey was a surprise blessing to us. He repaid us over and over.

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  13. Wow. What a beautiful, incredible, inspirational, and touching story. I'm so happy he had you. I do not have horses now, but hope to have room for two rescue horses soon. This story is pure magic. I commend your covert operations! I know a little about that myself. A friend's neighbor left his Keeshond (dog) left chained in an enclosure all day, everyday. My friend offered to buy him on many occasions and his owner always refused. Well she and I reached our breaking point one 4th of July weekend when he was left for days with no food or water in 100 degree heat. We *may* have cut the fence, nursed him back to health, and driven him to another friend in Indiana where he started a new life full of love. Again, maybe that happened, maybe it didn't ;-)

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    1. Hi Stephen,
      You are definitely my kind of Rescue Person! What a story! Amazing how fences just don't always hold together for some reason. So happy for the 4th of July rescue dog. I'm sure he is sending you "thank you" wishes every day!

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  14. It really is amazing what one person can do for a rescued animal and what that rescued animal can do for those special people that care enough to help them.
    We have a small farm and take in rescues here and there when we have the space or an open stall. We will help rescue, rehab and rehome .
    Of course over the years we now have three sancuaried forever rescues of our own: 2 forever equines, one best buddy canine in addition to ourexisting animal crew that weren't rescues. Yes rescue is indeed heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking, but always worth the effort. Thank you for sharing that story and for having been such a good loving home for joey.

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    1. Hi Willow,
      Always a joy to hear from other rescue friends! You certainly have filled your home with grateful creatures who now finally have a loving home! It's a reward we feel from them every day. Thank you, thank you!

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  15. Thank for being compassionate individuals who see the soul of a creature in need. Thank you for saving a dear and precious life. Seeing Joey's fantastic recovery and the spiritual bond formed brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for giving Royal and Joey the opportunity to heal each other and enjoy life together. They remain soul mates forever.

    Thank you for giving Little Joey a dignified, loving and healthy life. A single dollar has never been worth so much ♥

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    1. Hi Carmen,
      Many thanks for your wonderful message. You are so right ... that $1.00 gave us a treasure! All the best to you!

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