Molly: Shetland Pony, Katrina Survivor, Prosthetic Leg Success

Received this email moments ago from dear frient Charlotte (a horse owner).  Meet Molly:

A survivor with spirit!

Molly: A survivor with spirit!

Here is the text of the email as it was forwarded.

Meet Molly. She’s a gray speckled pony who was abandoned by her owners when Katrina hit southern Louisiana. She spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled. While there, she was attacked by a pit bull terrier, and almost died. Her gnawed right front leg became infected and her vet went to LSU for help. But LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case. You know how that goes.But after surgeon Rustin Moore met Molly, he changed his mind. He saw how the pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn’t seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her. She protected her injured leg. She constantly shifted her weight, and didnt overload her good leg. She was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic.

Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee and a temporary artificial limb was built. Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins there.

This was the right horse and the right owner,’ Moore insists. Molly happened to be a one-in-a-million patient. Shes tough as nails, but sweet, and she was willing to cope with pain. She made it obvious she understood (that) she was in trouble. The other important factor, according to Moore, is having a truly committed and compliant owner who is dedicated to providing the daily care required over the lifetime of the horse.

Mollys story turns into a parable for life in post-Katrina Louisiana The little pony gained weight, her mane felt a comb. A human prosthesis designer built her a leg.

The prosthetic has given Molly a whole new life, Allison Barca DVM, Molly’s regular vet, reports. And she asks for it. She will put her little limb out, and come to you and let you know that she wants you to put it on. Sometimes she wants you to take it off too.’ And sometimes, Molly gets away from Barca. It can be pretty bad when you can’t catch a three-legged horse, she laughs.

Most important of all, Molly has a job now. Kay, the rescue farm owner, started taking Molly to shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers. Anywhere she thought that people needed hope. Wherever Molly went, she showed people her pluck. She inspired people. And she had a good time doing it.

Its obvious to me that Molly had a bigger role to play in life, Moore said, She survived the hurricane, she survived a horrible injury, and now she is giving hope to others. She could be a symbol for New Orleans itself.

This week, Molly the Pony, a childrens book about the pony who has already inspired thousands of people around New Orleans, has been published. Its not a book about amputation or prosthetics, its a book about people and ponies.

Not very well-written, but you can read the snopes article here, which is a much more eloquent account of Molly’s story and provides some links to other articles about her.  The book, “Molly the Pony,” is available on

LSU’s YouTube channel offers this promotional video featuring Molly.  If you’re squeamish, be aware there are a couple of mildly graphic views of Molly’s wounds and surgery.

This is Molly’s most recent prosthesis, which has a smiley face embossed in it.  Wherever Molly goes, she leaves a smiley hoof print behind.  Last time I published a feel-good animal story, I was a little cantankerous, but I’m feeling warmed and inspired by this story, from the spunk of the pony to the compassion of the rescuer to the remarkable medical and technological teamwork that went in to giving Molly a new lease on life.  Her smiling hoof-print and her work with children make this that much more special.  Today, I am thankful for this opportunity to witness humanity at its best…and to read a Katrina success story.

Isaiah 63:13 Who led them through the deep, As a horse in the wilderness, That they might not stumble?” 14 As a beast goes down into the valley, And the Spirit of the Lord causes him to rest, So You lead Your people, To make Yourself a glorious name.


Lilly the Kid and Billy Boxer – Another Adorable Animal Story

I’m going to just confess right up front:  I’m blogging this for the views it will generate.  My early entry, “Moose Magic” continues to be my most viewed to date…by a wide margin.  A single picture of a hippo and a tortoise also ranks highly and my stats page tells me these two stories are searched on by a lot of people (a…LOT) every day.  Since this is still a fledgling blog, I’m not above giving the people what they want in order to get y’all over here to see that there are actually other fascinating things to read about in this world!  Sure, I think baby animals are adorable…so don’t get on my case about that.  I set up this blog to share things that show up in my email inbox, so this is a valid entry for that reason alone, but I really did consider skipping this one because…well, because I was concerned about the cuteness overload factor.  Still, the stats seem to indicate my fears are unfounded, so here you go, everybody:

Lilly and Billy

Lilly and Billy

Meet Lilly and Billy.  I have to admit, that is a striking picture.  My own dog (Benjamin the awesome black Lab) is off being neutered today, so I do have a genuine soft spot for this type of story at the moment).  Here’s what the email said that introduced me to these two:

A paternal dog has adopted an abandoned baby goat as his surrogate child.

Billy the boxer has become the constant companion of the 12-day old  kid called Lilly. He sleeps with the goat, licks her clean, and  protects her from any dangers at Pennywell Farm Wildlife Centre at Buckfastleigh, near Totnes, Devon in England.

Billy and Lilly have formed a close bond.  The kid was abandoned by  her mother when she was only a few hours old and adopted by paternal Billy when his owner Elizabeth Tozer began hand rearing the goat.
The unusual bond has developed over the last month and the pair are now inseparable.

Elizabeth said: ‘Lilly follows Billy around which is really quite  amusing to watch and Billy sleeps with the goat and cleans her mouth  after she feeds.’

Billy the boxer protects his little kid

Lilly was the smallest of a litter of three kids and her mother  abandoned her because she could only care for the two stronger ones.  The pair have attracted quite a crowd at the animal center and the staff are keen to see how their relationship will develop.

A Basket Full of Cuteness

A Basket Full of Cuteness

A very quick and cursory check of the google results for this story reveals it has been blogged ad nauseum since about February of this year.  No reason to doubt its authenticity, so a snopes check turns up nothing.  So, just enjoy the pictures and have a lovely day.  I’m going to go in the back room and watch my line graph spike.

I know I sound kind of chilly today.  That’s really not the case.  I’m a big critter lover.  I guess I’m still just scratching my head at the voyeuristic perspective I get from all the statistical information WordPress gives me.  Look at those two, will ya?  Adorable!

Romans 11:17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,

Things Every Pet Owner Should Know – Maybe

I read this article today in the September issue of a popular southeast US magazine. I’d tell you what the magazine is called, but I’ve already shown you my picture and I’d prefer you not show up at my front door unless you’ve been invited.  You know how the interwebz can be.

I have always been “a cat person.” I’ve raised a succession of them and currently have a 10-year-old red male “Ragdoll” and a very cranky 7-year-old female who can’t make up her mind whether she’s a “Tortie” or a “Tabby,” so we’ll call her “Calico.” Then, there’s the 2-year-old parakeet (a loud limey) we inherited from my husband’s mother when she felt she had grown too old to care for a critter.  And now, we have Benjamin, the awesome black Lab we brought home from a local back yard breeder at 9 weeks.  Hubby has a family that has raised birds and dogs forever, but this is my first puppy, so I have assumed the role of first-time-parent and taken it very seriously.  I’ve lived with dogs before, but never raised a puppy from scratch! I’m determined to have one of those dogs people marvel over because of his excellent behavior rather than one they are repulsed by because he just peed on their foot or jumped in their face while they were sipping coffee on my couch.  At 5 and a half months, Benjamin is showing real potential.  And, anyone who watches “Dog Whisperer,” or “It’s Me or The Dog,” or any show of that nature will tell you – that’s mostly due to the humans in my household raising their awareness of and building relationship with the critter.

Benj was the same size as the cats the day we brought him home (in the picture here), but he’s now large enough and strong enough to pull me off of my feet if he’s captivated by something…which he often is.  I work with him nearly every day, but I knew I didn’t know what the heck I was doing beyond teaching “sit,” “stay,” “down,” “come,” “leave it,” so we agreed to bring in a professional trainer recommended by our vet.  I’d read through some books on raising a “good” puppy, and understand that the current popular school of thought is that we don’t use “punitive” methods for training any longer…only positive reinforcement and ignoring “bad” behavior.  Well, that may work if you have a Yorkie but I’m going to have a dislocated shoulder and a lot of broken chachkies if I don’t scold and punish by crating every now and then.  Fortunately, the trainer we hired happens to agree that even a couple of fingers across the snout every now and then isn’t going to do any lasting damage.  So, if you disagree and you’re going to comment, please make an effort to keep your words civil.  If you cannot, you’ll just be deleted.  I’ll keep comments that disagree as long as they aren’t spewing hatred.

I teach a seminar about boundary setting which heavily encourages consequences as a necessary aspect of relationship building, whether between parent and child or husband and wife or any relationship. I teach humans that you cannot learn and grow if you don’t understand and experience the consequences of your choices.  So then, why would this not apply to our pets?  Naturally, I am not advocating beating or kicking your dog.  We are tremendous pet lovers.  Benj wakes up Daddy every morning with a lick of the ear and a snoot in the eye.  It is one of our favorite moments of the day. However, exclusively positive reinforcement didn’t work on me or him as children and we don’t believe it will get us where we all want to go here.  Our trainer has worked with birds, cats, lion, and elephants…dogs are a walk in the park for him.  I trust him, I’m seeing results, and I appreciate his knowledge and approach.  But, I was talking about a magazine article, wasn’t I?  Let’s get back to that.

Since I’m interested in raising a dog that integrates well into a human world, I’m doing a lot of reading.  The article I’m talking about here wrote a bunch of stuff under each of their “Things Every Pet Owner Should Know,” but each section started with a quote.  I don’t believe I’ll be plagarizing if I simply reprint those, so that’s what I’m sticking to for this blog. Here they are:

1. “Dogs are 35 times more likely to get skin cancer than  humans, four times more likely to get breast tumors, eight times more likely to get bone cancer and twice as likely to get leukemia. ~Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine

Get them their vaccinations and keep them current. Don’t throw them out in the yard to get them out of your hair unless they have water and shade. I use Advantage Multi for Benjamin…a topical application that protects him from heartworms, several parasites, and flea larvae all at once.  It is, by far, the most cost-effective way to deal with his needs.

2. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. At 110 degrees, pets are in danger of heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition. ~The Humane Society of the United States

This one is a no-brainer.  If you can’t take your dog with you wherever you’re going…LEAVE HIM/HER HOME! I want to socialize Benj to everything possible at this stage of his life, but often I am going to a store that won’t allow him inside, so I have to leave him safely crated while I’m out.  But, I do call ahead to ask whenever I think there may be an opportunity for him to come along and we do try to give him lots of custom-created social opportunities.  He’s already been to a pool party, the beach, a few doggie play dates, and walked the neighborhood to meet his neighbors.  He navigated his first flight of stairs last week. Good boy!

3. A 60-pound dog can cause an impact of 2,700 pounds slamming into a car seat, a window, or another passenger. ~Bark Buckle Up

We bought a doggie seat belt and tried it a couple of times.  Not only did Benj hate hate hate it, but it really didn’t seem to allow him to sit comfortably and look out the window from the back seat.  We’ve never had a policy of buckling up the dogs and hubby has a much longer history of traveling with them than I do, so we don’t observe this rule. In all honesty, I only wear my own seat belt half the time. Lots of room for criticism here, I know.  I will, however, take a stand against people who throw their dogs in the back of their open-bed pickup trucks and race down busy roads like maniacs.  That’s just wrong.  And, if you’re going to leave your dog loose in the car while driving and you want to give him a window to stick his head out, I believe you should be sure he can’t use that same window to leap out of the car when something catches his fancy.

4.  Between 2,000 and 3,000 animals died as a result of Hurricane Katrina.  Another 16,000 pets were rescued and sent to shelters. ~Discovery Channel

If you live in an area where a hurricane might strike (even if one hasn’t for some time), it is just as important for you to consider how you would keep your pets safe as yourself.  Understand that if evacuation is necessary during a hurricane, the best thing you can do to protect your pets (according to the Humane Society) is to take them with you.  Pets left behind are vulnerable to injury or worse.  If you have a plan, check out how your pets would fit into that now.  If you don’t have one…for criminy’s sake make one!

5. Dog bite victims requiring medical attention in the United States number 500,000 to 1 million annually. On average, about a dozen people die each year from dog bites. ~State Farm Insurance

Um…know your critter…know critters can sometimes be unpredictable…and be a responsible pet owner?  This article also advises knowing the law in your state.  In some states (mine is one of them) a pet owner is legally responsible for deaths or injuries caused by their dog.

6. If given unlimited access to food, cats will eat between 12 and 20 meals a day, evenly spread out over the 24-hour light-dark cycle. ~National Research Council

I’ve always kept my critters on a dry-only diet.  It’s easier for me and it makes their leavings much easier to deal with (I don’t need a gas mask to clean the litter box). The two cats get fed once a day, in the morning, and they take a good part of the following 24-hour period to consume that.  Works for both of us, I believe.  Somehow, my calico manages to be obese this way, but I’ve had this issue with female spayed cats before, particularly calicos. All critters are on quality food. The cats are on prescription Royal Canin Urinary SO for the male’s sake and Benjamin is on Science Diet Large Breed Puppy food which, my vet informs me, has been shown to reduce the chances of him developing hip dysplasia by 30%.  He is fed twice a day according to package directions and given access to water only at those two times so I can leave him crated during the day without him dying to get out and pee.  Both vet and trainer tell me this is perfectly fine for a developing puppy who is indoors all the time.

7. If the punishment is delivered too late, even seconds later, your pet will not associate the punishment with the undesired behavior. The punishment will seem totally unpredictable to her. ~The Humane Society of the United States

Sorry, but I’m just not buying that one. My vet told me that, but the trainer (the one who has dealt with everything from parakeets to lions) staunchly disagrees.  And, I have clearly seen evidence to the contrary. Benj understands he is supposed to tell us he wants to go outside to potty by ringing a bell tied to the sliding glass door.  He understands when he is doing something other than that, it is wrong.  If we discover his “accident” some time later and bring him over, firmly expressing our disapproval with words he knows (Benjamin, did you potty here?  You know you’re supposed to ring the bell!  No potty inside!), he clearly gets it and it shows on his face. When he was much younger, perhaps this was not the case, but it certainly is now.

8. The average veterinary expenditure per household for all pets was $366 in 2006. ~American Veterinary Medical Association

I believe one should be as selective about their veterinarian as they are about their personal doctors.  If the facility doesn’t look clean, the doctor isn’t personable, and you’re not comfortable with the level of care you are receiving, switch.  Also, if you have a pet that is clearly going to require considerable veterinary care, check into pet medical insurance programs.  They can end up costing much less in the long run.

9. Just one mothball containing naphthalene can cause serious illness to a dog or cat, including liver and kidney damage, swelling of the brain, seizures, coma and even death. ~American Veterinary Medical Association

It is important to be aware of what’s around the house that your pet might find fascinating – even irresistible – when you’re not paying attention. Almost all house plants are toxic to dogs and cats.  Cats usually munch and purge, but dogs will scarf down anything that looks inviting and then lay around looking at you like they really don’t feel so good. Look around for things like citronella candles, fabric softener sheets, and even food items in their reach such as avocado, chocolate, coffee, garlic, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, raisins and salt.  Did you know that?  If you don’t have a local animal emergency hospital phone number on your refrigerator, I recommend doing that today.  My 24/7 Vet ER happens to also be my regular vet and I’m glad for the fact that they know my pets there.  Not all Vet ERs have regular practices, but if you can find one of these, it’s a good place to consider.

I feel another scripture about having dominion over all the animals coming on!

Genesis 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

Moose Magic!

Baby Moose Cuddle Time!

Baby Moose Cuddle Time!

Got this in my email today from friend Pam.  This is clearly making the rounds.  Pam alone forwarded it to 55 people and the person who forwarded it to her included 11 others on her distribution list.  The text is pretty non-specific, but it gets the story across.  Here’s what it said:

A baby moose was in distress in a creek. A man got him out of the creek; tried to find the mother & send him on his way, but eventually the moose stumbled back into the creek & was rescued again. The baby moose followed the man home.

The man has only a small cabin so he took the moose to another neighbor, who took these photos. They took the moose the next day to a woman who looks after wild animals & she put it in a pen with a rescued fawn.

It doesn’t mention there are a couple of dogs around who seem cool with the whole situation as well.  The pictures are adorable…and plentiful.  I won’t include them all here, but here are the best ones.  Go ahead, make that silly face that says your heart is melting for these critters.  Mine did!

Who's A Big Boy?

Who's A Big Boy?

Looks Like A Party to Me!

Looks Like A Party to Me!

Are You My Big Brother?

Are You My Big Brother?

I don’t know what it is with the baby moose stories these days.  Just a few weeks ago, I was led to this adorable video in an email blast from GodTube (the Christian equivalent of YouTube). I can’t find it over there now, but here it is on YouTube.  Twin baby moose and their mommy, all frolicking in someone’s back yard sprinkler:
By the way, in case you were wondering, a scientist at the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (Illinois) tells us that “The word “moose” came to us from Algonquian Indians. Consequently its plural, instead of being “mooses” or “meese”, is the same as the singular. That is true of most Indian names whether of a tribe, such as the Winnebago and Potawatomi, or of an object such as papoose. It isalso true of many wildlife names not of Indian origin — for example: deer, mink and grouse.” There, now that’s settled.
What…you want more about moose?  Come on!  Go look it up yourselves!  It’s 11:00 p.m. here, guys!  I have to go to bed.  Anyway, thanks for checking in!
Genesis 7:15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.

The Hippo and The Tortoise

Here is a picture I received in an email yesterday accompanied by a touching story of two critters in Nairobi who overcame adversity and bonded to their mutual benefit. Awwwwww! Just figured I’d share the cutest shot with you.
Hippo-Tortise Love!

Hippo-Tortoise Love! says the story is true. Here it is as I received it (though I did clean up some punctuation):

NAIROBI ( AFP ) – A baby hippopotamus that survived the Tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said the hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean , then forced back to shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, before wildlife rangers rescued him.

“It is incredible. A less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a ‘mother’,” ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP “After it was swept away and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother . Fortunately , it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together.” the ecologist added. “The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it followed its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother.” Kahumbu added. “The hippo is a young baby, he was left at a very tender age and by nature, hippos are social animals that like to stay with their mothers for four years.” he explained.

Isn’t that nice? I just felt like posting a little fluff piece today. Let me know if it made you smile.


Genesis 1:28 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”