Thursday, September 24, 2020

Smoke inhalation almost did her in - CA wildfire victim


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Bunny 8-10-20 days before rescue

In late July our board secretary, Karen, at a house near her discovered three horses and a bunch of other livestock and poultry in desperate need. She contacted the family whose patriarch is a wheel-chair confined paraplegic to see if they would accept our help. Not quite willing to accept help, Karen advised them on feeding the skinny horses and recommended they have the veterinarian out. Sadly it took the death of the oldest horse before they were open to our help.

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Nutmeg (formerly Grace) on 8-10-20 in dire need of food and care.

Finally allowed in the property Karen and her ranch manager found animals without food and water, manure and feces everywhere and carcasses of deceased poultry. The family admitted they did not have the time to regularly feed the animals even though the hay and feed were right there.

It was agreed that we could come feed the horses while preparations were made at Karen's to bring the two pony mares. During that time it became clear that both ponies were fractious and fearful of people. After a few weeks of our care they still were not responding to human contact so Karen's daughter Hilary contacted her friend and trainer who offered to squeeze them into his training calendar because of the seriousness of the situation.

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Bunny groomed, gaining weight and getting basic training.

September 1st, Luke Castro and his fiance gently coaxed the two pony mares into their trailer and took them to the training facility. The first goal was to get them haltered and next was grooming which is always a great way to teach a horse that human contact can feel good and relax them. They both seemed to enjoy the grooming and were both putting on weight.

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Nutmeg groomed, gaining weight and getting basic training.

Things were going great till the wild fires in California pushed deep smoke all over the area. Within a short time Nutmeg was extremely sick. The vet was called immediately only to find her dehydrated and suffering from smoke inhalation induced asthma.

The worry was great that in addition to the inflammation in her lungs it could quickly turn into pneumonia. She was given several drugs, put on electrolytes and we started ulcer meds preventatively because of all the stress.

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Dr Esquivel's $1509 invoice for Nutmeg's care.

The heavy wild fire smoke continued and on the 15th, Dr Esquivel returned to give Nutmeg her second round of antibiotics. With her distressed breathing she was so dehydrated that 10 liters of IV fluids were needed. At this point things looked very grim and we were praying she could pull through.

After 12 days the smoke started to ease, the asthma and other meds were doing there job and finally on the 21st Dr. E felt she was doing good and could resume light activity which would help increase her lung capacity bringing more oxygen into her system.

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9-22-20 Bunny is doing awesome in her training and weight is good.

Nutmeg is doing better and back to a light training schedule. We are SO THANKFUL it did not get worse and to all who helped monitor both mares during the heavy smoke from the wild fires. It has been so very scary.

Luke posted this picture of Bunny who has continued her training on his Facebook page saying how thin and not confident at all she was on arrival and that she is now looking better and they are still working on her confidence.

Karen worked with the family to deal with the other animals needing help and all have found homes. We were able to step in and help before any more died making a huge difference for all the animals and to ease the owners pain that this happened because they were no longer able to handle everything on their own.

In our efforts to help these two sweet pony mares we were immediately hit with unexpected expenses, training $1100 for September, vet bill for Nutmeg's smoke inhalation $1509, Ulcer meds $250 and October first we will need to cover another months training to ensure they are both more confident, to see if they are saddle trained and more ready for possible adoption. Our goal is to raise the $5000 needed to cover their initial feeds, emergency vet care, training and other expenses. Please, please consider helping us with a donation of any size. This was a dire situation and the CA Wildfires made it even worse.

With your help we can change their lives and eventually find them homes were they will be safe and loved forever. Thank you, Thank you so very much!

Jake wears Khaki, not from State Farm


Originally published 9-11-20
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Jake tells Christine a secret.

Article by Laura Singleton 9-11-20 White Mountain Independent. SNOWFLAKE — A sturdy bay gelding named Jake has been convalescing at Equine WellBeing Rescue, Inc. in Snowflake. He does wear khaki but it's a khaki-colored halter, not a shirt like in the State Farm television commercial. either way, Jake wears his khaki halter well.

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Christine feeds Jake a small treat. Photo by Laura Singleton

The horse came to be in the care of the Snowflake equine rescue on Monday, July 27. Jake and a filly were hit by a car on westbound U.S. 60 around 5:22 a.m. near Summer Pines in Show Low.

The accident happened on the same day as police responded to a call about an armed man at the Walmart in Taylor. That morning, first responder resources in Show Low, Snowflake/Taylor and Pinetop-Lakeside were taxed, to say the least.

A 43-year old female from Gilbert driving an SUV that collided with the horses reported the Department of Public Safety (DPS). A trooper patrolling the area came across the woman's vehicle right after the accident happened.

"She was the only occupant of the vehicle. The vehicle was not moveable and was removed from the scene by a tow truck. This was not a hit and run," stated the DPS Public Information Office Supervisor Sgt. Kameron Lee in an email to the Independent.

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Filly The blue roan filly that was with the small herd of horses crossing U.S. 60 on July 27 did was euthanized after being hit by a vehicle on U.S. 60.

Jake's wounds required three surgeries and his aftercare and healing continues.

The blue roan filly had to be euthanized after it was determined by veterinary experts that she had suffered internal injuries from the accident.

Catching two injured, frightened horses in 90-degree weather was no easy task. But, boots on the ground from DPS, Equine WellBeing, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Navajo County Sheriff's Office and others worked in sync to get the job done.

The gelding was easier to catch than the filly since he was more accustomed to humans. Summer Pines residents alerted the rescuers to the filly who had run into the residential area.

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President of Equine WellBeing Rescue, Inc. in Snowflake feeds bay gelding, Jake, a treat. The 10-11 year old horse is in the care of the local rescue after being hit by a car on July 27. His left front leg was badly injured and required multiple surgeries. Jake is a BLM Mustang now owned by the rescue. It unclear how he came to be free-roaming in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests after being adopted from the BLM. Laura Singleton/The Independent

"It took several people, several hours to sedate, catch and get her loaded in the trailer to be taken to the vet," said Griffin who was on scene. "When we arrived we found her standing, pawing the ground and in shock," said Griffin. "She had large injuries to her left side and smaller injuries all over. It appeared, on impact with the vehicle, she must have been flipped over based on all the wounds."

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Several other horses at the rescue look on while Jake is getting all the attention. Jake is kept separate from the other horses to allow his wound to heal. Laura Singleton/The Independent

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Christine Griffin demonstrates how big the would was, initially. "Sweet Jake is doing so good," said Griffin. "We have discontinued the antibiotics and reduced the pain meds ... It will take many more weeks for it to completely heal. He no longer limps or has swelling along his ribs and left hip. We are so happy that he is feeling better. Thank you all for supporting him so we can provide for all his needs."

Equine WellBeing paid for his medical treatment as well as his feed, water and shelter. His medical expenses were in excess of $1,400 back early August and have probably increased since then.

Through the freeze brand on his neck, it was determined by the authorities that the Jake is a registered Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mustang who was adopted by someone at an earlier date. The individual that the horse was titled to was contacted and "denied ownership." Jake was then "determined to be a stray horse that had been roaming loose in the forest, giving the Arizona Department of Agriculture complete jurisdiction to deal with him," according to incident reports.

Had the agencies not worked together to get ownership of Jake legally transferred to Equine WellBeing, "he would have been taken to a local auction house, put in a pen to stand untreated for at least 7 days, when he could be auctioned as a stray horse," said Griffin. "That is 7 days to allow the owner time to claim the horse and if not claimed, by law they must be auctioned. As a newer vendor for the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Equine WellBeing Rescue could house him instead and he could be auctioned at our place if unclaimed."

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Dr Helzer doing surgery on Jake. Photo by Christine Griffin

Equine WellBeing is an approved vendor with the AZ. Department of Agriculture (AZDA) which is why they were contacted to assist with the injured horses. The horse also had to be examined by the AZDA-Livestock Division brand inspectors, Rudy Mejia and Kevin McFee. This is done to help determine ownership which was a BLM adopter in Jake's case.

"We knew (Jake) was coming and we are prepared to treat his injuries even though there were two days old," said Grififn. "Dr. Helzer arrived and after two-and-a-half hours of surgery, he was stitched up as well as he could be with the size of the injury and extent of the swelling. He was immediately administered pain meds and started on antibiotics and a treatment plan established."

DPS, Navajo County Sheriff's Office, the AZ. Department of Agriculture-Livestock Division, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests and the Department and the Bureau of Land Management were involved in the situation of how to care for the animal.

Equine WellBeing Rescue named the horse "Jake" after Jake Tormohlen, a sergeant with the Navajo County Sheriff's Office.

Sgt. Tormohlen "stuck with the situation, working with all the various agencies to help the horse get the needed care ... And yet, he does have a khaki halter," said Griffin

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Jake in the forest before being hit by a vehicle, a photo sent to Christine Griffin

Please don't feed the horses

It is theorized that multiple area residents may have been feeding the horses alfalfa, grain or sweet feed. Although done with the best of intentions, free-roaming horses can founder or develop insulin resistance by such feeding. It also encourages them to cross roadways they would not otherwise cross. To minimize the hazards to humans and horses, feeding free-roaming horses is discouraged by equine experts.

Huge thanks to Laura Singleton for visiting the rescue to meet Jake and the article on his journey to EqWBR.

Vehicle Accident injures several horses 8-14-20


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2 year old filly, one of several hit by a vehicle 7-27-20

On Monday, July 27, while I was out feeding the rescue’s equines I got a call from one of our adopters, Jake, who is a sergeant with the Navajo County Sheriff’s Department (NCSO). He was being dispatched to Summer Pines, the last housing development south of Show Low on Hwy 60 before FS300 (Rim Rd) because there was an injured horse that had been hit by a vehicle roaming the streets and was yet unsure what he would find, but wanted to know if we were available. I mentioned we had a dart gun if needed and also referred him to our contacts at AZ Dept of Ag, Livestock division because I was pretty sure it was a free roaming horse, perhaps one of them we provided water for around the Torreon area. When he arrived on scene he sent me a photo, which I forwarded to a friend who photographs the free-roaming horse near her house and she was able to find a photo of this filly from 2019, when she looked to be a yearling. Now we knew she was not a horse off the reservation and thus under the jurisdiction of local agencies. We were contracted to go assist in her capture and transport to the vet.

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Her left side took most of the impact and caused internal and external injuries.

When we arrived we found her standing, pawing the ground and in shock. She had large injuries to her left side and smaller injuries all over. It appeared on impact with the vehicle she must have been flipped over based on all the wounds. It took several people, several hours to sedate, catch and get her loaded in the trailer to be taken to the vet. Sadly, she had internal injuries and was humanely euthanized by the vet.

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Jake injured standing in the forest with the small herd.

During this process we learned it was a small herd of 5 horses that had gotten hit and there were others that needed assistance. One of which turned out to be a gelding with a BLM freeze brand. This required input from yet another agency, already the National Forest Service, AZDA (AZ Dept of Ag) were involved with NCSO as the lead agency, now the BLM (Bureau of Land Mgt) needed to be contacted to confirm whether they still owned the mustang or if it had been titled to an individual and no longer under their jurisdiction.

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Injury to Jake's shoulder from the vehicle impact.

After several hours in the 90+ degree sun and nothing more we could do at the time we headed home but stayed in contact with everyone. A family offered to place the horse in their backyard while ownership was determined so they could treat his wounds.

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On Wednesday, July 29th, the gelding was delivered to the rescue after the individual he was titled to denied ownership so he was determined to be a stray horse that had been roaming loose in the forest giving AZDA complete jurisdiction to deal with him. We knew he was coming and were prepared to treat his injuries even though they were two days old. (The white around the wound is cream to keep the flies away.)

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Dr. Helzer arrived and after 2.5 hours of surgery he was stitched up as well as he could be with the size of the injury and extent of the swelling. He was immediately administered pain meds and started on antibiotics and a treatment plan established.

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Stitching complete after initial surgery

Had he not been able to come to us he would have been taken to a local auction house, put in a pen to stand untreated for at least 7 days, when he could be auctioned as a stray horse. That 7 days is to allow the owner time to claim the horse and if not claimed, by law they must be auctioned. As a newer vendor for AZDA, EqWBR could house him instead and he could be auctioned at our place if unclaimed

Jake and Christine by Leslie Brucker 8-4-20

Photo by Leslie Brucker Photography

We treated his wounds several times a day and monitored his condition. In addition to the obvious injuries he also had impact bruising so it helped ease his pain to massage those areas a few times a day also. We assisted Dr. H as he had a second surgery to remove skin flaps that were dying off as the huge wound started to heal, additional surgery would be needed and more tissue died.

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Jake after his 3rd surgery 8-10-20

On Monday, August 10th, Rudy Mejia, the initial responding brand inspector and Kevin Mc Fee both arrived to auction off the mustang. Flyers had been posted in the area of the hit and run, and local post offices and no one had stepped forward to claim him. With a few volunteers gathered in support and no one else showing up, we bid on and purchased the mustang allowing him to remain in our care so he could continue his treatment and heal. Shortly after Dr. H arrived for his 3rd surgery to remove the larger surrounding skin so the wound could continue to heal, a process that will take another 6-8 weeks for the surface to close and then longer for it to fully heal.

Jake by Leslie Brucker 8-4-20

Photo by Leslie Brucker Photography

Meet Jake, we named him after the NCSO Sergeant that stuck with the situation, working with all the various agencies to help the horse get the needed care after being struck by a vehicle which left the scene never calling in to even say there was an accident. He is now safely with us where we can continue his care and give him much needed love as he heals. And yes, he does have a Khaki halter.
So far, his medical expenses for 3 surgeries, pain and antibiotic medicines, topical treatments and other needs are in excess of $1400 and we are asking for donations to cover those expenses and provide for him into the future while he heals. It is clear to us from the time he has been here that he has been trained at least with the basics of haltering, being handled and such and he has the sweetest personality and patience as we treat his wounds numerous times a day.

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Jake in the forest before being hit by a vehicle, a photo sent to me.

There are many things we don’t have answers to, why he was turned loose in the forest, who hit the horses and kept going, where was he originally gathered from (Herd Management Area)? Some questions we will be able to answer in time, others we will probably never know. In the meantime, this guy needs us and we are here for him with great thanks to all the agencies that worked together to help him.

You can help too by sharing his needs and donating if possible. Together we can teach him to trust again, heal his wounds and give him the love and care he needs and deserves. You can donate by clicking the Donate button below for links to PayPal, Venmo, Debit/Credit Card and donations by check. We can’t thank you enough for helping us help him.

He will never be abandoned and left to fend for himself again!!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Rimson-the difference a year makes.

20190707 Lary carrying the foal
Stall seven made into a make-shift surgical suite at the break of dawn, well into repairing the many deep punctures and scrapes from a cougar attack this week-old foal was fighting for his life. So weak was he that no anesthesia was needed, the shock and dehydration zapped all the strength he had. A year ago, we were not sure he would survive but survive he did and today Rimson is a strong, healthy horse who hopefully doesn’t remember that attack and the pain of recovery that followed.
20190707 Rimson at Marinellos
Who would have thought that a late phone call would change the lives of so many people? Just as Lary and I were settling down to have a bowl of ice cream at the end of the fourth of July holiday weekend I got a call, a plea for help from Gail who had called the authorities and several other places for help and had no where else to turn. A young horse, attacked by a cougar the night before was in their yard and the Marinello’s did not think he would make it through the night. His herd had run off and left him behind, he wandered off the Apache Indian Reservation and into their yard and they desperately needed help. An hour later we arrived at their house to find this tiny foal, wet because it had been raining and in shock from multiple wounds. In the misty dark of night Kyle carried him into our trailer as Gail, Dennis and he told us about the attack and how they had been trying to help this little guy all day. With a myriad of emotions, they watched as we drove away.
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We were lucky enough to find Milk Replacer for livestock at our local Walmart as the decision was made with Dr. Helzer to bring him to the rescue feeling he would not survive a long drive to the equine hospital hours away. She would get there a quickly as we could and, in the meantime, we made him a clean dry place to lay, put a wound cleaning gel on his injuries, dripped milk into his mouth with a baby bottle, patiently waited and prayed.
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365 days later and the memories are so clear, the details of the moments come back to me as though it was only hours ago. I am sure the same can be said by Dr. Helzer and the Marinellos, memories that will be with us for years to come. Now we share the joy of watching Rimson grow into a healthy young horse with seemingly no residual memory of the attack. I suspect it is back there, somewhere in his sub-conscious but the many good memories of all the love and care he has received since keep them locked deep inside and don’t define his being.
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At the time we just did what needed to be done. Round the clock feedings, nursing and wound care, worrying and praying with the support of so many. It consumed our lives but every minute was worth it to now see him living a normal life, happy with his best friend Buddie and the two of them growing into fine horses. He still needs to be massaged regularly where the scar tissue is that adheres to the muscle in his neck as he grows. He was castrated this spring and that took a long time to heal and he also injured his leg which required a short hospital stay to help with the wound management for a few days. He has been home and it is almost healed no only requiring daily observation and covering with Sox for Horses, Silver Whinny to keep the bugs and dirt out of it till fully healed. His days are mostly normal for a horse his age. He turned 1 year old on July 1st.
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7-8-20 Rimson
Rimson has brought together so many people who daily look for pictures and updates of he and Buddie on Facebook and through our emails and watch his journey with so much love in their hearts. In these tough times of Covid-19, unrest in the country and worries that so many have he is a beacon of light for us all, a reminder that tough times happen in life and they can be overcome and survived as long as we try every day with a positive attitude and can-do spirit. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, but with love and support, kindness and optimism, it is the trying every day that gets us through. Together we can over come so much and we thank you for being on this journey with us.
Happy Anniversary our little hero.
You bless us everyday with your happy spirit and love.
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