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.
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 than usual, and as I was walking past one of the kill pens for the last time I looked in and looked down. What I saw was scary to say the least.
A horse was bleeding very badly from a leg injury but at this point I couldn’t see how bad until I asked another person to help me get her out. When we pulled her out it was obvious she had been severely injured. We looked around for some kind of help but 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.
I must tell you that for a horse this injured she was amazing. She just stood there, ground tied with blood pouring out of the wound while she allowed me to apply direct pressure to her hind leg. I could not get it under control with what I had so when I saw a coat hanging nearby I grabbed it. (I’m sure the person who owned it was none too happy.) Once again I applied my direct pressure but blood continued to soak through. I thought she would bleed to death before help would arrive. Finally a vet did show up,? looked at it, and said an artery had been hit. Apparently there was fighting taking place among the horses in the kill pen. This happens all too often when you put 40 + horses who don’t know each other in a pen.
We moved the horse 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 or how she had gotten there, but at this point none of that mattered. She was alive and we were trying to help her.
The office manager of the sale, along with another rescuer, the vet and I all worked on her. I was the person holding her. She placed her head in my lap as I stroked her face. She was quiet. People passed by and would look in and a few asked questions. Several of them were shocked by the amount of blood she had lost. The vet stitched her inside and out, put medication on her wounds and said to let her spend the night at the sales barn. At this point I had to make a decision about what to do with her. Certainly she was NOT going back into the meat pen.
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 as well so people could see we had a horse that needed help. The office manager was very helpful. He brought hay and a water bucket to the arena and said if we needed anything to just ask. So I did ask if she could stay overnight, saying I would make the trip back in the morning to pick her up. I called the kill buyer who owned her and 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-shaped scar under her leg. They saw her photos on her fb page and thought they may have once owned this horse.
We thought about it.? 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 wouldn’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? scar up under her tail. I could tell things were about to get very emotional.? After all, what were the odds of this happening?
Boy I was in for a bigger story than I could have ever dreamed of. I spoke briefly with the lady on the other end of the phone and assured her we would catch up later that day when I had the horse home and she had settled in. Once outside the sales barn she was dream being loaded and unloaded from the trailer and taken to Omega Horse Rescue. I had to purchase a neck cradle so she didn’t open the stitches on her leg and she was on meds to fight off a possible infection plus a little bit of bute for the pain and swelling.? Over the next several days I was so impressed with how well she behaved, allowing me to clean and treat all of her injuries. Someone had obviously spent a lot of time training and taking care of her in the past.
?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 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 and 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 having an already devastating day. One of their beloved family dogs had just passed away and 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.”? She and her mother had been looking for ?Scribbles? for a long time (more about that later).
After a closer inspection of the sales barn photos Brittany went to her mother and said she had found Scribbles. She said she just knew it was her. What does one say other than a miracle was occurring. The Wallace family and I were overwhelmed. 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 she was sold to stopped returning phone calls altogether. 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. Supposedly 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. Donations, love, support from their friends and family came in, but there were also friendships lost over this situation as some people feel it’s best to leave things alone and not to get involved.
Eventually 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 seemed long. It felt like they would never get here since they were coming all the way from MA to PA. But 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 really started flowing. Brittany had mentioned to me on the phone that she had taught Scribbles how to bow, but 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.
One thing I did not mention in this story is that the same day I rescued Scribbles and brought her home I had also saved a very thin, scared kitty from the sales barn. This kitten had grown to be very loving over the few short weeks she had been with me. After much prodding by Dad and me the Wallace family left the Rescue saying they would take “Penny” home until they found a suitable home for her. But I later heard that within an hour the father had said he loved her and Penny the rescue kitty now had a family of her own as well.
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.? 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? do your part in helping; you can donate time and/or funds to be part of the difference for those who don’t have a voice.
Thank you for reading our story. Contact Kelly Smith www.omegahorserescue.com for more information.