Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
James Strohm got his first horse when he was 12. He grew up raising horses; he broke them, and even did a little stunt riding.
"They're good buddies," Strohm said Saturday outside the Montevue Home in Frederick. Montevue is a county-owned assisted living center.
A resident at Montevue for about nine months, Strohm was among the first to take a turn stroking, hugging and kissing Oakmaide Black Satin, the horse that was brought there as part of an ongoing pet therapy program.
Wags for Hope was started in 2006 by Gabe O'Neill with his dog Charlie. The group of about 100 volunteers brings their animals for visits to roughly 25 nursing and assisted living homes and hospices throughout Frederick and Washington counties, as well as parts of West Virginia.
The visits help break up the monotony and loneliness many residents experience, while offering a meaningful activity for the volunteers.
"Interacting with animals makes them forget about their problems and the pain they're going through," O'Neill said.
Saturday marked the first time the group brought a horse.
O'Neill said Wags for Hope volunteer Meg Klackner had mentioned that many of the residents at Montevue were raised on farms, and missed being around horses.
"I thought that this would be a really nice thing," he said.
After a presentation about the group at a local Kiwanis Club, O'Neill said he was approached by Susan Vona, who owns a farm in Union Bridge and was willing to help with a horse.
Lillian Moneymacker, a Montevue resident, stayed by Satin's side for most of her visit. As a young girl, she would ride horses on her grandparents' farm after school.
"I love horses, and she's wonderful," she said.
Tollie York, the activities director at Montevue, snapped photos of residents as they mingled with Satin. She said they appreciate the company Wags for Hope volunteers and their animals bring each week.
"Animals bring out a lot of things people can't," York said.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
As you may have noticed, a site redesign is underway! Goals are to clean and lighten up the page for faster loading, and to provide easier more direct access to all of our content. You'll also find the site more cross-browser compliant, whether you're running IE or Firefox.
It may take a couple days to get the changes propogated throughout the site, so you may see some inconsistencies in design between pages.
As always, ideas and suggestions are welcome, and please let me know about any broken links you run across!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
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 didn't 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. She's 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.
Molly's story turns into a parable for life in post-Katrina Louisiana . The little pony gained weight, and her mane finally 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, and 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.
'It's 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.'
Barca concluded, 'She's not back to normal, but she's going to be better. To me, she could be a symbol for New Orleans itself.'
This is Molly's most recent prosthesis. The bottom photo shows the ground surface that she stands on, which has a smiley face embossed in it. Wherever Molly goes, she leaves a smiley hoof print behind.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Tropical storm Hanna didn't have much of an impact on the Salem area, and there was a great show out at the Green Hill Park Equestrian Center. The show was a benefit for the Astride With Pride therapeutic riding program and was sanctioned by the Blue Ridge Horse Force. Wayne Jones and Cindy Quick of Star-ro Trailers and The Tack Room did their always fabulous job of managing. Attendance at shows is not random, exhibitors are learning who runs a good show, and this show and the Star City Classic are getting well known.
Thinking about eventing? Be careful, this photo sequence of UK rider Zara Phillips will leave you with a sense of relief that she was not injured.