I have mourned the loss of many a canine friend and have been devastated by their deaths, but the story that I would like to share is of an animal that inspired me with her life. In May of 2006, we adopted a horse into our barn that we named Nelly. She was all of 800 pounds (she should have been more like 1200), could hardly stand and had severe laminitis in both front feet. Nelly could not be turned out with all of the other horses, she was too frail and weak, so I turned her out into the arena, which we later dubbed Nelly’s room and the aisle between the other paddocks. Even then, Nelly had such a sweet spirit and whinny and appreciated anything you did for her. I was advised by both of my vets to put her down , but after we all spent some time with her, we realized that she had a strong will to live and decided to give her that chance. After some research I found out that Nelly had been a champion racehorse and had actually been bred with the son of Spectacular Bid, the 1980 horse os the year.

Her registered name was Fool’s Rush, and she had led a fairy tale life. How she ended up hobbling around my back yard is anyone’s guess. Nelly started to thrive in her new surroundings, she gained weight, became more sure footed and made fast friends with the other horses, the whole atmosphere changed due to her presence. She was probably in considerable pain, even then, but never complained. There were days when I would be softly crying for her and go down at night to give her some extra treats and she would greet me with her sweet whinny, it was not one of impatience or need but rather, I am so glad to see you. More times , than not, she would nuzzle me with that soft nose, wipe my tears away and then convey that she would really like some more hay. Those were the moments when all seemed right with the world.

All of Nelly’s caregivers, those that helped me were ,completely taken by her, she has changed all of our lives. She continued to thrive and at different times we saw her both trot and canter, miracles in everyone’s eyes. I am so struck, with the dignity and class with which she went about her life. A thoroughbred is born to run, and she certainly knew how, yet never complained about her infirmity. In March of 2007 she started to decline, we did everything we could to keep her comfortable, yet she continued to lose weight and her feet could no longer bear her weight. We spent a few nights, laying down next to her in her stall, medicating her and comforting her, we would finally go to bed only to come down in the morning and she would be wide eyed and standing and ready to go out. She clearly had her own time table.

The worst day of my life was April 21, 2007 the day we had to put her down and it was her 19th birthday. She face this with the same dignity that she always displayed and is buried down by the pasture where the other horses graze. But that is not the end of her story, her influence is still felt. A few weeks after Nelly’s passing, I went to work one morning and there was a woman waiting for me, who asked if I was interested in rescuing a horse. I immediately felt nelly’s hand, or should I say hoof, involved in this. In sweet Nelly’s honor, we rescued Penny, who had been rescued from a flood, along with her dead foal by the SPCA. Nelly’s legacy will continue, as long as we are able to continue to save others like her.She was like no other animal that I have ever known, her soul lives on. Here is a picture of her enjoying time in “Nelly’s Room”

Cate from NY