Saturday, May 29, 2010

The horses are here!

Submitted by EARS volunteer Debbie Ferguson of Kildeer, Illinois

Hello again from hot and sunny West Virginia. The UAN volunteers had a busy day today, even before the horses began to arrive. It turned out that the rescued horses, donkeys and mules had developed some strong social bonds; there was some concern about separating them into individual stalls, so a revised plan of action went into play.

Larger, open-area pens were constructed to allow for three to eight horses in each, and the volunteers had to put down new sawdust, food and water buckets. But in typical UAN fashion, the volunteers took it in stride and got right to work, completing the tasks in time for the first trailer to arrive.

The horses varied in size, color and temperament and arrived in various states of neglect. Some appeared to be fairly comfortable around people, others tended to shy away to the back corners. Some were emaciated, with ribs and hip bones jutting out.

Most of them had considerable scarring. Some had more serious injuries like open wounds and infections. But within minutes of each trailer being unloaded, the equines were happily eating their hay, drinking water and enjoying their salt blocks. 

You can already see their personalities emerging. There is a very noisy mule who loudly brays whenever there is a ruckus in any of the pens around him. One lovely mare has nubs for ears, the result of frostbite, and one especially stubborn mule has been named Chuck Norris due to his ability to strategically place his kicks. I am sure we will see many more personalities begin to emerge as the animals settle into their new surroundings.

To our delight, a surprise addition to our menagerie appeared this morning -- a small dog who appeared to have been dumped on the rural road near the temporary shelter and who immediately stole all of our hearts. She seems to be suffering from fleas, skin disease, worms and other possible maladies, but is remarkably sweet and well mannered. UAN volunteer Nova Keaton of Oak Harbor, Ohio will take her home to get her the veterinary care she needs and then find a new forever home for her.

I also did a little more research on the Mothman I wrote of yesterday. Some say that the Mothman sightings are a sign of impending doom and that he was spotted prior to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986, the 2004 Indonesian tsunami and other major world disasters.

I am happy to report that there have been no Mothman sightings since we arrived here, so I am confident that our animals are safe and will come alive with the tender loving care of the UAN volunteers.

Photos: Two very thin horses share some hay; HSUS staff and UAN volunteers team up to build new pens; the jutting ribs and hipbones of a yearling; three horses eat happily after the long ride; a stray dog who had the good fortune to stumble upon the temporary shelter; the Mothman statue in Mason County.

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