This moving story from south west France demonstrates why you should never walk away from a suspected animal cruelty case. Something can always be done.
Misty when she was found
In mid-February 2013, Phoenix PR volunteer, Jenny Marshall, had been alerted by a friend to the presence of a poor little pony in a local field, obviously in a terrible state. Jenny was horrified to see that the hooves were completely overgrown, making it almost impossible for the little pony to walk, so she spent most of her time lying down.
The terrible state of Misty’s hooves
Worse still, her only water was a stream at the bottom of a steep hill and so she had an agonising daily walk, just to stay alive.
What followed next was an incredible team effort from some determined, diplomatic and kind people.
Jenny and her friend Barbara consulted with both Phoenix and ASHA (Association Saint Hippolyte Aquitaine) and agreed to try to negotiate with the owners of the pony (now known as Misty) for her release. Laurence, Barbara’s husband, went out several times at the crack of dawn in icy weather, to take photos of Misty, so that the owners, who lived next to the field, didn’t see him. Then, containing their anger and negotiating very diplomatically, they finally convinced the owners to let their pony go.
Misty – all trimmed
Afterwards, they got a farrier to come and trim Misty’s hooves, and a local vet to examine her, to hopefully start her long recovery process and make her more mobile. For two weeks, Laurence and Barbara went twice daily to give her the necessary medication, special food and company, after which the vet was due to consult her again and give an assessment.
Despite very negative vet’s reports, eventually, thank goodness, all the efforts and time paid off, and she started to pick up and showed herself to be a really sweet-natured little pony.
Misty in recovery
It turned out that Misty had been bought about 25 years ago by the owners as a gift for their grandchildren to play with, and both children and grandchildren had since moved to Paris. Poor Misty had been unloved and totally neglected for all those years! Misty was taken to Barbara’s to rehabilitate, and once she had recovered from the initial problems and pain, and with much TLC and the company of Barbara’s two horses, she never looked back.
However, varying complexities had to be dealt with along the way. Misty had an infected foot, and a lot of time and work was involved in treating and bathing it. More worryingly still, it was suspected that Misty had Cushings Syndrome. This can be fatal and due to Misty’s many years of total neglect, her outlook was worryingly bleak.
Misty feeling better
We were all very keen to put the feelers out for a new home for Misty, since Barbara had only taken her on temporarily, but until a diagnosis was made, everything was on hold.
Joyfully, she was at last given the all-clear and a much happier and healthy Misty was put up for adoption, with a special appeal launched by us at Phoenix.
An experienced horse-owner called Rosemary spotted one of our adverts and her heart gave way to Misty, so she was at last successfully placed, and is now living happily ever after with Rosemary’s other animals. Rosemary says:
“She’s such a character, considering her hard life. She’s a very happy lady, loving the touches of luxury. Seeing her happy and enjoying a proper horse life, from the nightmare she had before has helped me through a difficult time also. She will always be handicapped, her walking is 85% normal but we are working on it.”
Because Misty can’t speak, thank you on her behalf to everyone involved in this rescue, especially to Jenny and Barbara who had the bravery to look cruelty in the face and not to walk away. It just goes to show that anything is possible, and everything is worth it in the end.