Wednesday, January 21, 2009
They Shoot Horses Don't They - Or Maybe Not
Nikki, the woman who works diligently at Diverse City Press trying to hawk my books to the unsuspecting world, sent me an email with this picture and the following words. Nikki takes time off each year to do horsey things at the Royal Winter Fair and keeps up wit the horsey world. Nikki said that she didn't typically send along these kinds of posts but thought that I would like this one as a 'feel good' story that was making it's way around the horsey email set. She was right, I did. I'm going to present the writing that came along with the pictures and then, I'll see you again at the end ...
Meet Molly.She's a grey speckled pony who was abandoned by her owners after Hurricane Katrina hit southern Louisiana . She spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled. While there, she was attacked by a pit bull terrier and almost died. Her gnawed right front leg became infected, and her vet went to LSU for help, but LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case. You know how that goes.
But after surgeon Rustin Moore met Molly, he changed his mind.He saw how the injured pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn't seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her.She protected her injured leg.She constantly shifted her weight and didn't overload her good leg. She was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic.
Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee, and a temporary artificial limb was built. Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins there.
'This was the right horse and the right owner,' Moore insists. Molly happened to be a one-in-a-million patient. She's tough as nails, but sweet, and she was willing to cope with pain. She made it obvious she understood that she was in trouble.The other important factor, according to Moore , is having a truly committed and compliant owner who is dedicated to providing the daily care required over the lifetime of the horse.
Molly's story turns into a parable for life in post-Katrina Louisiana .The little pony gained weight, and her mane finally felt a comb. A human prosthesis designer built her a leg.
The prosthetic has given Molly a whole new life, Allison Barca DVM, Molly's regular vet, reports. And she asks for it. She will put her little limb out, and come to you and let you know that she wants you to put it on. Sometimes she wants you to take it off too. And sometimes, Molly gets away from Barca. 'It can be pretty bad when you can't catch a three-legged horse,' she laughs.
Most important of all, Molly has a job now. Kay, the rescue farm owner, started taking Molly to shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. Anywhere she thought that people needed hope. Wherever Molly went, she showed people her pluck. She inspired people, and she had a good time doing it.
'It's obvious to me that Molly had a bigger role to play in life, Moore said. She survived the hurricane, she survived a horrible injury, and now she is giving hope to others.'
Barca concluded, 'She's not back to normal, but she's going to be better.To me, she could be a symbol for New Orleans itself.'
This is Molly's most recent prosthesis. The bottom photo shows the ground surface that she stands on, which has a smiley face embossed in it. Wherever Molly goes, she leaves a smiley hoof print behind.
What intriqued me in this story was the vet's ability to see the horse, not the injury. His ability to notice character, and intellegence and will to live, not the cost of the treatment, the difficulty of the surgery, the 'uselessness of a horse with three legs'. I wonder how this vet comes to have skills that doctors seem often not to. If a person with a disability does not speak, there is often an automatic assumption that the life isn't valuable and that a DNR death is preferrable. Remember paramedics left Barry Baker to die because they could not see his value. This horse was saved by a vet who could see an animal's humanity, while doctors refused food and water to Martin Ryan, a man with Down Syndrome, with the intention to starve him to death obviously saw an animal where a human stood.
Viktor Frankl once said that any doctor who could not see the humanity of their patient was not a doctor but a veterenarian. I'm now wondering if that would be such a bad thing.
Thanks, Nikki, for the story, and You Go Molly!