I ran down the stairs, through the tack room, and into the barn aisle. As I cautiously approached her stall, preparing for the worst, I heard the sweetest sound in the world. Soft nickers from her stall, the first sound I had heard out of her. I walked up to her and she came to the door, another first. As I slid her door open, she nicely pointed out that she was out of hay. And she wanted more. Now. I went back the way I came from and returned with three big flakes of hay. She couldn't wait for me to throw them into her hay rack, and inadvertantly knocked them out of my hand. I let her eat for a minute and then reached down to pick them up. She laid her ears back at me; I was not only in between her and her food, but I was taking too long.
After breakfast I went back downstairs, pulled her out of her stall and brought her for a short walk. Our driveway was a sheet of ice, but the road had solid footing, so it was our safest bet. We walked towards our neighbors house and back a few times. Walking away from the barn Faith lagged behind me, bumping her nose on my shoulder every few strides. On the way back, she was in front of me, begging me to walk faster. When I turned her to head away from the barn again, she'd stare deep into my eyes. She didn't want to be out walking around - she wanted to eat.
Walking her a few times daily was necessary to keep the fluid buildups out of her legs. She had massive swelling in both hind legs due to the malnutrition, and walking was the best remedy. She didn't believe that though. She was sure that hay cured everything.
Back in the barn, she led me right towards her stall. Passing all the open doors before hers, she knew exactly which one was hers. Dumb, she was not. I let her eat as I brought in warm water, betadine solution and rags to clean the open wounds on her hind legs. She would occasionally pull away if I overstepped my boundaries by touching a sore spot too many times, but for the most part she was well-behaved and let me get her cleaned up. Fura-zone, an antibiotic cream, was then put on her wounds to help prevent further infection. A little dab of vaseline was rubbed on her hair below the abscesses so that the fluid draining out of them wouldn't irritate her skin and cause more issues. After that, it was time for her oral paste antibiotics that she so dearly loves. This time she not only allowed me to put it in her mouth, but I was also allowed to press the end and release the entire tube into her mouth in one shot. The catch? She blew most of it back in my face. Tomorrow I'll be prepared... (Score: Faith 1, Julie 1)
The afternoon was quiet time for her to eat and relax. I tried to get caught up on the mounds of paperwork quickly accumulating on my desk. Every so often I'd check in on the online bulletin board where I had first learned about her. I did my best to keep everyone informed on her progress and posted pictures of her, and in return I received an outpouring of support.
People that I had never met, that didn't know me from Adam, joined together and offered to help Faith! I was overjoyed, and extremely humbled. Never in my life had a stranger - or shall I say, group of strangers - come together to help me like this. I was overwhelmed.
A kind woman from Maine offered to buy Faith a brand new blanket and ship it to our farm. A lady a town over from us offered to buy grain. A few people donated money towards our account at our feed supply store. People who themselves were not rich, were struggling to get by in this economy, were so generous that they would agree to help a horse that they had never met. It was inspiring. It literally brought tears to my eyes.
I knew how special Faith was when I realized that her story touched the lives and brought out the good of so many. She had a hold on my heart the first time she looked into my eyes; now she was doing the same to others who hadn't even met her. Inspiring, to say the very least.
*UPDATE* We have received a few emails requesting information on where donations can be made to help Faith during her rehab process. I figured it would probably be easier just to post it here:
59 North Broadway
Salem, NH 03079
Deerfield Vet Clinic
150 South Road
Deerfield, NH 03037
*Just make sure to tell both places that the donation is for "Faith at Greenwood Stables" and they'll apply it towards her feed and veterinary bills.