I was trying to start getting rid of some of the "tons" of saved articles I have
accumulated since the 70's. Okay, tons is an exaggeration, but in 40 years you
can amass a great deal of paper and magazines, unless you are lucky like some
people I know who don't save much of anything except their income tax returns,
bank statements, etc. At this point in time, I envy them.
My friend Vicki told me about her 79-year old friend starting to downsize. Yes,
it's about time I did too. But then while sifting through some of my saved
material, I came across the post about Mente which I found so inspiring that
I had to stop "work" for the time it will take to share her story with anyone
who is a horse lover or animal lover for that matter.
In the animal world there aren't too many happy endings like Mente's and she
certainly faced a number of man-made trials so far. Her owner kept her as a
"puppy mill" horse. The article said she had become a "baby factory." During
her 26 years of life she delivered 15 foals for him until the age of 24. I believe
that giving bith is difficult for both humans and animals and here poor Mente had
absolutely no voice in the matter.
When she arrived at Best Friends, she wasn't in good spirits and who could blame
her? Aside from being so ill used by her owner, she was suffering from a large wound
on her back end caused by a stallion who had taken out a large chunk of muscle.
That must have really hurt, and it was certainly obviously still painful. The wound -now
a deep hole, was filled with pus and maggots. The one good piece of news was that
the hole- though next to vital structures such as the lumbar vertebra and colon did
not cause defecating- problems for Mente. However, immediate action was needed
so that she would not suffer irreversible damage.
Dr. Deb sedated Mente so that the painful wound could be addressed. The first
matter of business was to dig out the maggots, pull away dead tissue, and flush
out all of the pus. She was placed on an IV catheter to receive IV antibiotics
and fluids. Finally, after 6 hours of copious flushings, the wound was packed with
sterile gauze and lap sponges. This was only the first of many treatments to come
in her long journey to recovery.
I think Sally who kept a journal on Mente gives us a feel of what it was like to work
with her. She wrote: "When Mente came to us as an Animal Help case, she had
one of the yuckiest wounds imaginable and it had gone untreated for approximately
20 days. However, she also had one of the kindest spirits imaginable. I was immediately
struck by her timid yet obedient demeanor. She would show emotion only by throwing
her head if a human hand came too near to her face. Yet, despite her fear of humans,
she willingly would follow me on her lead rope and even went into our stocks without
issue. It was obvious that she wanted to please and not do anything wrong."
That first day of initial wound debridement and maggot removal was the only time
Mente was sedated. After that she would stand still and quiet while her wound
was cleaned and repacked. One regret of her handlers was that after she underwent
what was obviously still a painful procedure, they could not reward her with cookie
treats at the end of the treatment because she had become too leery of people's
hands being anywhere near her mouth. Finally, they put the cookies on a dish and
she gratefully accepted them this way. It was not long before she began accepting
the treats from their hands as well.
In the whole body approach, Dr. Tara observed that Dr. Deb and her team did a
great job of removing "the devitalized tissue and preparing the wound for a healthy
granulation bed." In her initial exam, she noted that Mente -not only had a serious
wound but that she was thin and had multiple abrasions covering most of her body.
To address this, Mente was given a high quality balanced diet with supplements
to enhance her immune function. She also received lots of love and attention.
Though it will probably take 3-4 months for complete healing, a happy moment
occurred for the healers when they noticed her fly sheet which was use to protect her
bandage and keep flies away had sawdust bedding all over it. This showed that she
had finally felt comfortable enough to lie down in her stall.
And around this time, Sally experienced something very touching from Mente. She
was standing near her shoulder and facing her body to listen to her heart. She
happily reported that "This once "mouth shy" horse, turned her head to look at me,
paused for a moment, then proceeded to lick my arm! This display of trust was by
far the happiest moment for me! She knew that she was in a good place after her
exhausting life as a neglected broodmare." Agreed. Best friends have earned their
appellation from not only this account, but in their treatment of all animals.