The Miracle Worker.
Did you ever see that movie? Anne Bancroft played Annie Sullivan and a very young Patty Duke playing Helen Keller.
This isn’t a story exactly like that, but sort-of. Hershey was deaf and blind.
He is a 15′, 24 year old quarter horse. Gorgeous. Dark brown with a lovely blaze. Hershey spent his younger years as a lesson horse. He is described as incredibly kind and gentle. He even took his previous owner on trail rides up to her 8th month of pregnancy! Hershey got along with every other horse she had. In fact, his previous owner ran all 7 of her horses together and they all loved Hershey.
And then, suddenly, Hershey was struck deaf and blind. All of a sudden, with no preceding illness or upset, Hershey could no longer see or hear. He wouldn’t come in when he was called nor did he respond and come in at feeding time as did all the other horses. Hershey just stood there out in the pasture, not moving. His previous owner was distraught.
So, she contacted The Golden Carrot because she knew that TGC was known for taking in the old, forgotten, dumped aged and otherwise manageable but disabled horses. It was worth a try… After all, Hershey was such a good horse, was up to date on all of his shots and was otherwise a healthy gelding… he deserved a home to live out the rest of his life.
At first, when TGC heard about Hershey, they were reluctant. Yes, they took in many disabled horses, but they had no experience with blind horses let alone blind AND deaf horses. And, donations have been down in this bad economy so taking in another without sponsorship was a risk. After consideration, Casey from TGC declined taking Hershey in, but did offer to help re-home him.
In the ensuing weeks, Casey didn’t have any luck re-homing the deaf and blind Hershey… and she hadn’t heard back from the owner. Hmmmmm.
A month later, Hershey kept popping into Casey’s mind so she contacted the owner to see how Hershey was doing… The owner answered the phone and said that Hershey was the same. She offered to send a photo of Hershey to Casey to help with re-homing him.
Casey got this photo from the owner… Not good.
Heartstrings a tuggin’, Casey immediately agreed to take Hershey. She guessed it was time to foray into the world of blind and deaf horses! At least, she thought, with all the older gentle horses at TGC, somebody would hook up with Hershey and be his eyes and ears.
So, Casey met Hershey. Hmmmmmmmm.
He didn’t seem blind. He also didn’t seem deaf. But, he did seem really sickly and really skinny. Hmmmmm. This was all very odd. On a hunch, Casey separated Hershey from the other horses at TGC, which she would anyway with a new horse, and whaddyaknow… he watched her bring his food, had no trouble finding it, and ate every last speck. In fact, he ate like a crazy horse. He ate everything. He ate and ate and ate and ate…
He wasn’t blind or deaf. He was simply the lowest guy on the ladder rung. He wasn’t getting enough to eat and he became weak. He couldn’t fight the other horses for food (and I guess the food wasn’t separated) so he didn’t bother any more. Hershey just gave up. He was resolved to not eat and just wither away. He was deaf and blind to the world around him because it had turned on him.
Oy. None of that! “We will make you well!” was Casey’s battle cry! No wonderful old school horse who has given his life to teaching kids and giving rides to pregnant ladies is going to die such a miserable and lonely starvation death! Here is a direct quote from Casey:
Hershey has no vision or hearing problems – when it’s time for his bucket, he could find me if I was in Afghanistan. He has blossomed with 4-5 buckets a day, spread out over the day. After 5 days, he was looking to join the herd, although still freaked at the numbers facing him. He is slow to heal the little booboos he gets but is tolerant of being treated; he had a little fungus going on in his coat so has had a nice medicinal bath and a soaking with anti-fungal solution has stopped his tail rubbing. He did get some fly eggs laid in his right eye, and under the influence of some mighty drugs, he stood quietly while Dr. Zadick cleaned them out and injected his eye tissue with antibios and steroids. After a few days, he started to be impatient with the daily application of antibio ointment in his eye, so now I have to enlist the help of my neighbor. Once caught, he stands resignedly…. Dr. Z also had me give him another dose of Ivermectin to prevent fly eggs laid in his booboos from burrowing in ….. at this stage, he’s just too frail to fight off the usual stuff.
And, look at Hershey now!
No longer deaf and blind… Hershey has filled out and is just getting better and stronger with each day! The herd has assimilated him easily and he eats well with them. And, he has fallen in love with Savannah. Wow! Nothing like good food and a new love to give one a fresh start in life!
Oh, and Hershey has a job! As a school horse, he reigns SUPREME! As the number one academic at TGC, Hershey truly is a lovely older gentleman that has lots of life left to bring to the children. In fact, Casey has used Hershey to help a young girl who was shattered by a horrific horse accident. Riding Hershey has rebuilt her confidence. Atta Boy, Hershey, Atta Boy!
I tell this story because I would love for you to support THE GOLDEN CARROT this month. As you know, TGC is our Bucket Fund Charity for the month of July.
Any amount (from $1 to infinity) helps and will be added to the bucket to create a combined donation at the end of the month. To read more about THE GOLDEN CARROT, here is their website. And, here is the story we wrote about them previously.
Please click the DONATE button and help the wonderful owners and volunteers at The Golden Carrot who take in the old and forgotten horses. Many of their sweet and forgotten 35 horses need support and sponsorship. Please consider sponsoring (here is the link to TGC page for all the horses who need sponsoring) or donating here. Bless The Golden Carrot for doing what most would rather not…
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!