Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Lil' Girl"

In 2001, my neighbor released three wild fillies into one of my pastures. He rescued the fillies’ pregnant mothers from the Bureau of Land Management. As I had 30 animals of my own, several of them rescued farm animals; I did not pay attention to these new additions. The only horse I wanted was a gelding with a sorrel body and a flaxen mane and tail. The horse I wanted would be tame.
On May 10, 2002, I was walking the pastures with my neighbor and he commented the dark bay filly looked very thin. He said she probably swallowed a wire. We compared her with the other two fillies and they looked fine.
A week later, the dark bay filly fell very ill. It was necessary to bring her in to the closest corral. My large animal veterinarian visited a week later; however, his evaluation brought us no closer to the nature of her illness. He prescribed oral antibiotics and on the bottle he gave her a name, “Lil’ Girl.”
 By the beginning of June, Lil’ Girl lost a tremendous amount of weight. Her flanks caved in, showing all her ribs. Her head hung low, the illness consuming her energy. She drank copious amounts of water, yet urinated about a teaspoon at a time. Everything she ate turned to clear diarrhea shooting from her as if she were attached to a hose.
 Toward the middle of June, Lil’ Girl’s owner and his wife came over to observe the young, dying filly. From my bathroom window, I overheard their conversation. I heard the husband say the horse needed to be put down. After he departed, I went outside to speak with the wife. In my heart, I could never let the young filly be put to death. I talked with the dying Lil’ Girl, asking her what was wrong. With the wife standing by, Lil’ Girl offered no information.
Finally, my neighbor’s wife went home. I called Bonny, a close friend, and fellow energy worker. I asked her to do Quantum Touch, a form of healing, on Lil’ Girl’s heart, remotely. We worked together over the telephone for 10 minutes. When I hung up, I once again approached the young horse. I put my hands to her nose, requesting she tell me what was wrong.
Slowly she began to turn around, all the while keeping her hind end very close to me. I knew she did not have the strength to kick. I noticed tiny red dots trickling down her back legs. I became alarmed she was bleeding internally. Suddenly, in my mind, were the words “look closer.”  When I did, I was startled to see the red dots moving. Worms!
I raced into the house, grabbing my dog-eared copy of Keeping Livestock Healthy. I flipped to the section on parasites, locating the reference to bloodworms. The written description detailed exactly what I observed. Continuing to read, I identified the appropriate medication and ran outside to tell Lil’ Girl I would purchase the IverCare Ivermectin wormer the next day.
I told her to hang on; together we discovered the problem and help was on the way. I called the owner’s wife to tell her. She confided when she heard me talking with Lil’ Girl as if she were human, she thought I was crazy.
That night, in a deep sleep, I dreamed about a cowboy driving a white pick-up truck, hauling a white single-slot trailer. He backed up to Lil Girl’s corral, jumped out of his truck and opened the gate, attempting to get her into his horse trailer. In my dream, I raced outside in my nightgown, yelling at the man to stop. I asked him what he was doing and he replied, “Her time has come to go home and I’m taking her there.” I pleaded with him for more time and told him, “I know she can be saved.”
With a bolt, I awakened with my heart pounding, pulled on my cowboy boots and raced outside in the same white nightgown I was wearing in the dream. Lil’ Girl was down on the ground lying very still. Kneeling in the dirt, I picked up her head, holding it in my arms. Stroking her face, I once again begged her not to leave. If she willed herself to live, I would do everything in my power to help.
  The next morning, June 26th, at 6:00, I raced outside to find Lil’ Girl standing at her gate, as if waiting for a visitor. I could not believe my eyes. I told her as soon as I dropped Spencer, my son, off at preschool, I would purchase the medicine. I assured her I would be home by 2:00 p.m.
Once I got into town, I called the Redwings Horse Sanctuary, requesting further advice. I was put in touch with Michelle, their Registered Veterinary Technician. She was receptive and helpful, giving me a list of options.
Later that day, I gave Lil’ Girl her first dose of wormer and within four hours she was excreting white worms. Each of them was transparent, approximately six inches in length, with thousands of tiny worms encased within. I gasped in horror. It was no small wonder this emaciated horse headed downhill so rapidly.
 By July 2nd, and even with the medications, Lil’ Girl was not recovering. She could barely hold her head up and once again, I called my large animal vet. He examined her, saying he did not think she was going to make it. He brought an assistant who agreed with the vet. I told the gentlemen I would not give up and to take the necessary steps on her behalf.
The vet said he needed permission from the owner. Unfortunately, the husband was out of town for two weeks and I could not reach his wife. I said I would incur the financial costs for Lil’ Girl’s treatment. Assurance he would be compensated, the vet proceeded.
 Lil’ Girl was first given two intravenous liters of fluids, when I indicated to the vet Lil’ Girl requested one more. Next, she was given an injection of Naxcell, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, and Nuflor, another antibiotic. Over the next four days; I gave Lil’ Girl 10 cc injections of Naxcell, once a day.
It was difficult giving her the intra-muscular injections, so my next-door neighbor helped with the insertion of the needle. This neighbor also said he did not have hope for Lil’ Girl’s survival. My vet ordered lab work checking for salmonella and E. coli. I assured him the results would come back negative, which they did.
 The next day Lil’ Girl’s head rose slightly. Over the next few days her diarrhea subsided and she deposited actual manure. I put her on a diet of Equine Junior grain, mixed with acidophilus, to instill healthy bacteria in her intestinal tract and organic molasses for extra nutrition. Her hay was a mixture of grass and oat. She drank fresh water with Apple Elite Electrolytes added. She was placed on Continuex, a daily wormer, along with Vita Plus supplements.
Each day produced dramatic results with Lil’ Girl becoming stronger. The owner’s wife called to say they wanted to give their horse to me. She told me they knew I would love her and take care of her. I was thrilled.
With time Lil’ Girl grew strong enough to halter train. The former owner said he would help. During one of the training sessions, he told me to lead Lil’ Girl up to the pasture where she once lived with the other horses. I cringed in fear of Lil’ Girl’s possible desire to live with her own kind.
Lil Girl’s former owner sensed my hesitation, encouraging me to lead her to the other horses. She stepped up to their fence line, whinnying with familiarity. I felt sick to my stomach; knowing my new love would not want to be with me anymore. A few moments later, with a gentle tug of her lead rope, she walked toward me.
 I was raised in the country with horses of my own. Lil’ Girl entered 30 years later; rekindling a passion in me. She now has pastures of her own, where she roams at leisure. The sunlight accentuates her beautiful mane and tail. I have laid my eyes upon a vision of beauty in Lil’ Girl, my wild new horse.
Lil’ Girl’s former owners will not know the value of their gift. When the sorrel gelding, with the flaxen mane and tail did not materialize, I gave up hope of owning a horse again. Lil’ Girl is a powerful reminder to never give up on my dreams. It is best to let go, allowing them to manifest on their own.

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