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One horse, two very different futures

Kancia’s story begins the same as nearly all the horses Swingin’ D Horse Rescue takes in: We didn’t have the space or the money, so when Susan called looking for a place for an older mare she’d intercepted from going to auction, I had to turn her away.

Looks are deceiving

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I told myself the mare didn’t look so bad in the pictures. Her right eye was already gone, so there was no longer a rush to save it. I decided I’d at least pay to have a vet come look at Kancia and maybe prescribe some antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory. Maybe with a little financial assistance, Kancia could live Happily Ever After without having to move from her familiar surroundings.

After spending thousands of dollars building a climate-controlled shelter for Anastasia, a 15-year-old Missouri Fox Trotter that’s as high maintenance as she is breathtakingly beautiful, we’re so deep in the hole and so indebted to veterinarians, there was no way we could take in another special needs horse. Not to mention, Ani’s new swingin’ bachelorette pad is our quarantine pen, so there’s absolutely no room at the inn.

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Life or death

But then I saw Kancia in person.

This was not the same horse I turned away after determining from photos she could survive without us. This was a very sick horse with a body condition score of 1 and dropping rapidly. The putrid stench nearly knocked me over when Kancia exhaled. Clear brown fluid dripped from her mouth as she slobbered in palpable pain.

I met our vet at Susan’s farm, where she and her family care for a herd of plump sheep, a flock of fluffy chickens and two healthy young cows. Kancia snuggled and shadowed Susan like a faithful companion – without a hint of fear or disrespect. Kancia’s feet were a couple weeks from their next farrier visit; and other than looking like pancakes after months of neglect (prior to landing with Susan), would quickly shape up with routine trimming.

This wasn’t a case of neglect. I’ve seen neglect. Something else was going on with Kancia.

Dr. Barnett took one look at the eye, which Kancia had clamped shut like a vice grip, and said it was too far gone. The infection had festered for too long, and if we wanted to relieve Kancia’s pain, it had to be removed.

But that wasn’t making Kancia lose weight. A look inside her mouth revealed one likely culprit: Fox tails embedded in every crease and crack of her gums. The round bale that fed Susan’s menagerie was also shredding Kancia’s mouth, making each bite a choice between starvation and searing pain. Jagged teeth were only compounding the problem.

 

With hundreds of dollars in emergency care and a long recovery looming, the decision of whether to accept Kancia was now a question of life or death. Kancia could stay with a well-meaning owner who lacked the resources and experience to care for a critically ill horse, or Swingin’ D could take control of her future.

When God wants something...

I’ve been praying a lot lately for God to light His path and give me the wisdom to recognize it, the strength to follow it, and the resources to make it all make sense. I’ve also been praying for God to let His light shine through us and our mission.

I believe God always expects me to do the next right thing; and in Kancia’s case, the obvious right thing was to say yes. It doesn’t matter that we don’t have room or money or time or energy. If God wants it – and I believe He does – He’ll make it happen, often through other praying believers who seek to do the next right thing.

Within hours of deciding to take Kancia in, generous donors had given us enough money to pay for her surgery, and a local woman had agreed to donate a 30- to 60-day quarantine. One of our preferred adopters expressed interest in giving Kancia a permanent home where we know without a doubt she’d be pampered and loved for the rest of her life.

The only way to describe all that has transpired over the last 24 hours is miraculous; proving that when God wants something, He makes it happen. All we have to do is ask and open our hearts to the answer. 

Happily Ever After

There will always be another Kancia. Another Anastasia. Another Ralphie. Our generous supporters help us give abused, neglected and unwanted horses the Happily Ever After every horse deserves.