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(January 12, 2012: Airville, PA)This is a story about a horse named "Scribbles" and one family whom I would have never met if it were not for a once in a lifetime chain of events that unfolded before my eyes. A few short weeks ago I was at a horse meat sale, the same sale I have attended for many years. Often times I look at all the horses who stand there ever so patiently for the most part and I wonder what their story is. This day was like every other day I visit the sale with so many horses jam-packed into kill pens. I happened to stay a little later this day than usual, and as I was walking past one of the kill pens for the last time I looked in and looked down, a horse was bleeding very badly from a leg injury. When we pulled her out it was obvious she had been severely injured. We looked around for some kind of help none could be found. After what seemed a very long time phone calls were made to the kill buyers to see which one owned her and a vet was called. As the blood was running she just stood there, ground tied with blooding pouring out of the wound, while she allowed me to apply direct pressure to her hind leg. I thought she would bleed to death before help would arrive. Finally a vet did show up, he looked at it and said an artery had been hit, apparently there was fighting taking place among the horses in the kill pen.
We moved her to the center of the sales barn ring where there was better lighting. Finally I could see her whole body, she was beautiful! Her mane had been pulled she was shod, groomed and had the best manners you could ask for. She had several wounds, cuts and scrapes on her beautiful dark bay coat. I had no idea who she was, how she had gotten there but at this point none of that mattered she was alive and we were trying to help her. During all of this I had taken some photos of her and the wound and they were posted on my fb page and the other rescuer had posted them to her page so people could see we had a horse that needed help. I called the kill buyer who owned her explained the whole situation in detail and he sold her to me.
The next day I was to meet the other woman who was coming back to evaluate some of the other horses in the meat pens to see if homes could be found for some of the others who had not yet been picked up by the slaughter trucks. She told me that she had a phone call from a family asking about the mare and wanted to know how she was, this family then asked if we could look to see if she had a horseshoe scar under her leg. They saw her photos on her fb page and thought they may have once owned this horse. Now let’s think about this. Hundreds of horses pass through this auction each and every week, from every part of the country. This was an almost plain dark bay mare with some white on her face. What would the chances be? But hey, it doesn't hurt to look, so we did. And guess what, the scar was there. Stunned, Lorraine the other rescue person, called the woman up and said yes there was a horse shoe scar up under her tail. I could tell things were about to get very emotional. After all, what were the odds of this happening?
Now here is where the story gets deep and emotional on many different levels. I will admit I was skeptical at first when I heard the story of how she was sold to a good home and how she ended up where she did, I have learned to try very hard to be open minded and in this case I am so glad I did. I spoke with Kay Wallace, the woman who owned the horse in the past, along with her daughter Brittany and the true story about what happened unfolded. Many, many, tears on both sides of the phone were shed, photos were exchanged as we waited to see how the horse would respond to treatment.
Get your tissues ready my friends, because here is how it happened: When Brittany saw the photos posted she was also writing a paper on horse slaughter when she saw the photos of the injured horse on facebook and thought this would be a topic she could use for her paper. She did not know at that moment that this was her beloved "Scribbles."
After a closer inspection of the sales barn photos Brittany went to her mother and said I have found Scribbles. She said she just knew it was her. You see they had bought Scribbles as a baby, they raised her, trained her and Brittany showed her for many years. But then as Brittany's riding goals were achieved it was time to move up to a horse who was more capable of doing different things than she had been doing with Scribbles. A decision was made to find her a suitable home because it was a waste for Scribbles not be useful and enjoyed.
Their search for the right home was a long one. They got vet references, asked lots of questions and thought they had found the perfect home for their horse. For the first several months things went well. Brittany was even able to go over ride and visit her. But after some time, the training barn where she was sold to, stopped returning phone calls all together and what they gathered from other people at the barn was that Scribbles was sold because she was not liked by the owner of the facility and they were told she had been sold to a "good home.” The Wallace family did everything right, from getting references to charging a good amount of money for their horse, to checking up on her. In the back of their minds they knew something was wrong and yes by now we all know things did not go well for Scribbles.
After Scribbles was rescued from slaughter the Wallace family continued to seek answers to how this may have happened. The woman refused to give details as to who she sold the horse to and was not at all upset to learn the fate of Scribbles. Not surprising because this happens all too often when people want to unload horses without being honest about where they are sending them.
Over the course of the next several weeks the Wallace family made a decision to bring Scribbles home and retire her.
The big day was about to arrive. Scribbles was going to go home where she belonged. I wanted this day to be extra special for everyone involved especially Brittany. I went to the store and bought red silk ribbon, kid’s craft paint and red sparkles :). I made a huge bow, painted sparkles on her hooves and drew a red heart on her butt. That day was long. It felt like they would never get here. They were coming all the way from MA to PA. Finally they arrived. Scribbles knew something was up and as I write this tears are welling up in my eyes. She heard their voices from outside, and her head was intently looking out her stall door. What happened next was incredible. When Brittany and her family walked in tears started flowing. Brittany had mentioned to me on the phone that she had taught Scribbles how to bow, I never thought much of it until what I saw blew me away. Once Brittany was inside the stall Scribbles started to bow over and over, I had never in my life seen such a thing, she knew her family was there to take her back home. We took many photographs that night and started what I hope to be a very long friendship.
Thank God for happy endings! But for many animals on this earth there will never be happy endings, sadly many will die in shelters and slaughter houses across this great nation we call America, land of the free, home of the brave. Omega Horse Rescue is just one of many small rescues doing our part. Saving and taking care of the neglected, unwanted, discarded is costly. Please you can do your part in helping, you can donate time and or funds to be part of the difference in those who don't have a voice. Thank you for reading our story. Kelly www.omegahorserescue.com