Tuesday, June 30, 2009

6-30-09

This is an incredibly emotionally charged blog. It was one of those days Jason and Tawnee just had to grit their teethe and push through it, thinking the whole time "Why am I doing this? This has to be a nightmare." The truth is, it's a reality. Rescuing and putting yourself on the front lines can lead to stomach churning days like today. Consider yourself warned dear reader.

This morning the trailer was unloaded, all of the Cal Skate fundraising items were still in there. Soon it was empty, clean and ready for the road.

We had received an email about some pregnant mares who's owner was wanting to give them away. We contacted them and they were happy to give them to us, so we headed off to pick them up.

Jason and Tawnee arrived at their neat, clean beautiful place. They were a very nice older couple who want to fully retire, so they are cutting back on their herd.

Tawnee was talking to the lady, and she said "So, 5 mares and 3 babies?" Tawnee smiled and nodded her head, she thought she was meaning maybe only 3 of the mares were in foal? It turned out the lady had other ideas. They led the mares down the barn breezeway to the waiting trailer.

They all loaded up beautiful and were such good girls to work with. After the 5 mares were loaded, the lady asked Tawnee for 3 more lead ropes. Tawnee was a little puzzled but got the lead ropes out and began to follow her.

It turns out there really were 3 yearlings that were going along too. All in all they surrendered 5 mares (4 believed to be in foal) and 3 yearlings.

Then it was off to what Tawnee and Jason knew would be a tough rescue. Little did they know how tough.

First a little history. At the last auction Tawnee attended, a man by the name of Dave knew that Tawnee had purchased one of the horses he ran through, so he came up and befriended her. He asked if we would be interested in purchasing some more horses from him, he announced he had about 50 he needed to get rid of. He had brought 3 that were not ran through the auction, they were in a holding pen behind the auction. He started working out a deal with an out of state person who had bought a lot of big, chunky horses during the auction.
Tawnee realized what was going on and soon was working out a deal with him as well. Eventually a price was agreed upon and a thin mare was pulled from the kill pen. The thin mare was seen on our blog on Sunday, she is Malibu. She is a very sweet horse that was just in the wrong pen. Thankfully, her life was saved by your donations!

There was a fence dividing the soon to be out of state horses with an unknown fate and the rescued horses. Just by looking at them, it was plain to see why they were chosen to be in that pen: they were all fat. Dave had given Tawnee his phone number and asked her to give him a call to work out a deal on some more horses.

Since then there have been some phone calls going back and forth. Dave called up and said he had some horses that were going to be heading to Fallon, he would like us to get them. He said their price was $250 each. Tawnee said "That's too high, we can get them cheaper at auction, $150 is what I'll pay." It was really hard to say those words, but we had to let him know up front that he could not take advantage of the rescues resources as so many in the killer buyer business love doing. They buy a horse for $150 at auction, turn around and sell it to a rescue for $500, preying upon rescue and donors emotions. Why not take that $500 and buy several horses just as worthy at auction that would go to slaughter anyway?
It wasn't long before he called back up with an offer of several horses for $150 each. Tawnee agreed. He said he had been in southern Ca, took some along, bought others, and now only had 40 horses.
Since we were heading to the same area to get the pregnant mares today, we called him up and arranged to see his horses that he had for sale. We said we could buy about 4 of them. As we pulled up, Animal Control was there. There were definitely some thin horses. Animal Control was preparing to leave, so Tawnee jumped out and talked to the officer. Tawnee explained everything she knew about Dave, but the Animal Control officer simply said there was nothing that could be done, and hoped we would take them all. Tawnee told him we couldn't take them all, but we would do our best.
Tawnee and Dave headed across the field to the trailer where the horses were waiting. He started explaining to Tawnee that the reason Animal Control was there was there was a foal, no water, someone complained, something died. He just wasn't making much sense.

Tawnee walked up to the waiting trailer, the horses were unloaded and then Tawnee's stomach began to roll. She walked away from the trailer in horror and disgust.
Dave said "I put the dead foal in the trailer, see here it is." All the poor horses were standing there in the heat with the dead stinky foal laying there. It was utterly terrible. "The foal was found dead this morning, someone drove by and complained to Animal Control. So I drug it over here. Not sure what happened to it. It was born at my place the other day, but I didn't have any shade at my place so I brought it over here so its mom could take it up in the hills were shade is, but it died here. Since you're taking the momma you need to take it too. You can skin it and graft an orphaned foal onto the momma. She's got a good bag of milk." Tawnee agreed merely for the fact she wanted our vet to look at the poor little foal and try to figure out what happened to it. It's one of those times when you feel like screaming and yelling, throwing up your hands and walking away in utter disgust. But one very wise person once told us "You must bite your lip until it bleeds, you're there to help the horses." Sometimes it's so hard to do.

Finally Tawnee put everything behind her and started loading the horses we purchased into the trailer. Two young horses, a pack mule and the mother of the dead foal.

After everyone was loaded Jason and Dave put the dead foal into the back of the pickup. As the foal was being put into the truck you could see a large gash on its neck and blood flowing out of its nose.

It was wonderful to have all the horses loaded up and be headed away from that terrible place.

We hadn't driven 150 feet when we noticed a herd of horses standing around in a circle. Since we stopped, Dave stopped.

Tawnee got out to ask Dave about some pricing on the thinner horses in the herd. "You can have that one for $150 since its thin, but the heavy ones have to be more ya know." The water trough was empty and they were all thirsty. As we drove away he was fiddling with the water hoping to get it to work.
Finally the open road lay ahead and we were on the way to the vet. It was hard leaving those other horses there, but our trailer was about full. It's definitely one of the hardest things about rescue, not being able to save them all.

It was good to be at the vet's office with the bright green grass, and a trailer full of happy horses.

One of the little guys from the first stop is about a year old and needs to be gelded. Since we were at the vet, we decided to unload him so he can get his brain surgery. It was cute opening the door and seeing all the little faces looking out in amazement. Anyone want to donate to help cover his gelding cost? Click here. Gelding typically costs about $150, due to his age and size it should be the lower rate, any additional donated funds will be used to care for the horses.
He is such a cute little guy. The vet examined him and said he is mature enough for his operation.

The vet also looked at the dead foal. She says her best guess is that the foal had been attacked by a stallion or gelding. It had been grabbed on the neck and shook, breaking its neck and causing paralysis, and finally death. It is so very sad.
Finally they were back at the rescue and trailer was being backed up to the loading chute to be unloaded.

The trailer door opened and a little face looked out with wonder. A few hours before, the poor little guy was standing in a hot trailer with a dead foal at his feet. Now he was at the rescue, fresh food and water were awaiting him.

All the babies came piling out one after another into their waiting pen.

Then it was the adults turn.

Soon all the horses were settled, but it was heartbraking to see the mare that had lost her foal looking longingly at the trailer gate. You could see it in her eyes "Where's my baby? What has happened?" It's so hard to see a horse grieving, wondering what had happened. You wish you could tell them that it's ok, not to worry, but the only way you can do that is through time and love, proving to them that their troubles are over.
Please help us help them, click here. You can be a part in saving lives.

7 comments:

Leah said...

Thank you so much for being so strong for the horses. As a mother, it absolutely killed me to read this blog, it breaks my heart. I thank God there are people like you working so diligently to save the horses. I hope to help out all that I can. God Bless You
Leah
BanditBlue

JediMom said...

Oh that sucks! But I like the line "bite your tounge" it's tough but makes a lot of sense. That guy could have been an even bigger turd than he was. It's so miserable the way some people treat horses. Thank you for helping as many as you can.

Rhonda said...

YOU BOTH ARE TRULY REMARKABLE PEOPLE
YOUR LOVE FOR HORSES CLEARLY DRIVES YOU EVERYDAY. THANK YOU
I JUST CAN'T BELIEVE SOME OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD HOW COLD THEY CAN BE. I'LL BET THEY DON'T GO WITH OUT WATER OR SHADE.
YOU ARE A BLESSING

redmm97 said...

People who work animal rescue are some of the strongest, most courageous people that I know. They see and experience things that most people don’t even want to hear about. They often stand strong for themselves, for the animals, and for those around them and shed their tears in private after the rescue is complete. At times they are ridiculed for their decisions to stand up against the cruelty of man and are chastised when they choose to speak out against hideous
forms of animal cruelty that is prevalent in our society today.
This essay is to help our friends in animal rescue keep a good attitude, be compassionate toward the people who do not know how to be compassionate and to keep focused on bringing peace and kindness to our world on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves...

If you worry that you have not made a difference, you have, for only those who do not worry about it have not.

If you feel overwhelmed, if the weight of their problems is too heavy to bear, remember it is a shared burden and the strength of numbers can accomplish much.

If you think society and government are blind, it only serves to remind that we need to change one mind at a time, one law after another.

We effect change by cooperation, not by isolation. If you consider that we cannot save them all (and what difference does one make?), you ought to know the joy of the one who is saved.

Mourn those we cannot save; it is a eulogy to their being.

Do not let their loss be in vain.

Be proud of your accomplishments, not your opinions.

The quality of your efforts is more important than the quantity.

Forgive your own deficiencies--sometimes your caring is sufficient.

Everyone can do something; it is up to you to do the thing you can.

If anger wells up within you because people are the problem, remember your humanity and that people are also the solution.

All species, all beings, share this Earth in a chain of life.

The Animals are our brethren learn from them.

Nature is our legacy - protect it.

Thank you for all that you do.

Marge Mullen
New England Saddlebred Assoc.
New England Saddlebred Rescue

QHluvnmom said...

I feel so sorry for them horses. Breaks my heart. Makes me sick! How can people be so heartless!
As for the two ofyou Tawnee and Jason god bless both you!!

ProjectSpirit said...

What a terrible time it is for our beloved horses these days. I am so glad you guys are there doing what you can. We are all trying to make a dent, and you are doing such a great job at it.
Keep up the good work.
Nadine Hoy
www.projectspirit.org

hppyappy said...

Tawnee, I remember the last auction and that man "Dave" and all his bragging about his big herd of horses, he went on and on about how very few of them had any training at all. He bragged about how he let the studs run with all the mares and his statement of "by now, most of em should be bred" about made me want to throttle him. And when he said that poor mare you bought had to be "run into a chute" to be caught or handled, I knew "Dave" was a lost cause, (I had already been in that pen petting that mare, earier) And after he watched me walk right up to the mare and halter her and lead her out of the pen with no problems, he came over to me and said... "Da*, I should have asked more for her" it was all I could do to bite my tongue and hold back my thoughts...

I have been doing animal rescue work for 22 years, Tawnee.... it never gets easier to see, but it does make you more determined to make a difference...even if its only one animal at a time.
Keep you chin up girl!

your friends always,
Judy and Percy Perfect!!

 
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