Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dr. Miller Visits Argus

Today Argus saw his friend, Dr. Grant Miller. Argus may not know it, but he has Dr. Miller to thank for saving him from prison.

Dr. Miller is a large animal veterinarian in private practice, but he also provides veterinary services to local Animal Control agencies who are investigating abuse and neglect. He sees heartwrenching cases that make Argus' former life look idyllic.

Anyone who meets Dr. Miller senses his deep love of horses (he is a dressage rider and former Pony Clubber) and passion for justice. He started the non-profit (pending) organization CHANGE, which stands for Coins Helping Abused & NeGlected Equines just last summer, after euthanizing a badly abused older horse who was left tied to a fence in 100+ degree heat. Here is the mission statement:

The CHANGE Program is designed to be a community based, not for profit support network for the Sonoma County Animal Control department to call on during horse abuse, abandonment, or neglect cases. The program seeks to provide ancillary support services such as horse transportation, foster housing and care, veterinary work, farrier work, rehab and permanent adoption. Officers can call on the program 24 hours a day to step in and help with horse cases, and provide the funding needed to see to it that these horses get a fighting chance.

Argus is one of the first horses to enter foster care through the CHANGE program. Because of Dr. Miller's efforts, and the efforts of many other volunteers, Argus is getting his "fighting chance" here at Watermark Farm.

Today we wrapped up the last of Argus' routine veterinary work with Dr. Miller (who donates his time to horses in CHANGE foster care). He is now current on dental work, vaccines, and worming. In addition, Argus was sedated and had his right knee injected with medication that will help him regain better mobility and comfort in this joint (it is moderately arthritic) so that he can continue on with the wonderful progress he is making in his rehabilitation plan.

While Argus was sedated, Dr. Miller (who has training in equine chiropractic) adjusted his poll area, or "atlas." This area tends to be very painfully "out" for Argus. An adjustment works wonders.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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The sedation still in effect, I took advantage of my "drunk" friend Argus to bodyclip him a little bit. His heavy coat combined with some busy turnout sessions often leaves me with a sweaty, hairy horse --- tough to cool down for the day:

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Many people want to know if I will "keep" Argus.

Every year, I foster, rehabilitate and adopt out 1-2 horses. I do this because I love horses and feel that I owe them this for all they have given me. They do not leave my farm unless I feel they are going into a better situation than I can offer them. I simply cannot keep every horse I foster (or I would soon be a hoarder myself!).

I love Argus very much, more perhaps than any other horse I have fostered. At times my heart is heavy at the thought of placing him. But I know that somewhere out there is a wonderful lifetime home for him. My job now is to find that home. Argus is very friendly with other people, and he enjoys (more than most horses) interacting with new people. I feel confident that he will be able to transition into life with his new person eventually. We will be here to help him do that.

There are more horses out there who need my help. They are counting on me to keep that "foster" spot open for them.

What kind of person might adopt Argus? Here is my wish list:

  1. Someone with extensive horse experience -- a "lifer" who can continue Argus' rehab and training and who feels confident with larger sporthorses like Argus (someone with TB experience would be ideal)
  2. Own your own horse property with pasture and shelter and other equines in Northern California
  3. Be able to demonstrate a solid track record of stability with job, property ownership, etc.
  4. Can show a history of responsible, long-term horse ownership
  5. Have glowing veterinarian and farrier references, and then some...
  6. Have the time, desire, and compassion to love and maintain a retired horse in comfort
Could you be that person? We are actively looking for home possibilities for Argus. He should be ready to find his forever home later this spring. If you are interested, please contact Katie at for details.


Fire of the Phoenix said...

This seems a very strange comment, but Argus's bloody shoulder mark looks a lot like a map of lower Asia, or at least China

He looks BEAUTIFUl.

Anonymous said...

I hope Argus isn't too hung over from the party today!

Argus is looking so much better in his pictures.

Thanks for the updates, I really look forward to checking on him daily.


Anonymous said...

I found your blog just last week through a link from another blogger, and it has made me so grateful for people like you AND for the horses in my own life. I lease a little appy from a trainer who brings in off track TBs to her small, private farm. She currently leases one to an experienced adult rider, and is working with a second under saddle. The third is just learning to be a horse.

While his life was nothing like Argus' former horror/life, he, too, was locked in his stall for quite some time. Padlocked. The owner had him up for sale, but wanted payment in full before he opened the stall. The risk my trainer took in buying him was great, but he has turned out to be a wonderful boy, too. It has taken him some time to settle into his new routine, and he isnt always sure about people coming into his stall. But he is doing well and we are blessed that he will be able to have a career as a hunter or jumper.

I have bribed him with pets and treats and a good currying; we're buddies now. I hope that some day he'll be mine.

Thank you for all you do for Argus and all the other horses you foster/ed. They are such amazing and forgiving creatures.

By the way, I absolutely love the name "Argus".

Allison said...

I am always looking forward to posts about Argus. You do have a talent for writing and Argus must be an inspiring muse. I hope his forever home continues delighting us with his antics!

Elle said...

I hate to mention the almighty dollar, but I know that you will also want to be certain that whoever is lucky enough to be the one chosen to adopt Argus also has the monetary ability to care for him properly! We all know how much the proper care of a horse costs on a yearly basis... and there are many a kind heart out there who have all of the best intentions but who - because of the times, personal financial crisis, the cost of hay, etc - are having to let go of their horses. Many, too many, are ending up in not so lovely circumstances and even more end up at auction, destined for the killer.
So please, in your list of conditions, mention that one ALSO must be able to show that they are solvent enough to give Argus the Forever home and all of the proper care he deserves - and needs.
Thank you for ALL that you do!

Argus' foster mom said...

Don't worry, Elle, we will make sure Argus goes into a home with the financial means to support him over the next 15+ years!!

This horse is NOT leaving my property until the perfect local home is found. We are trying to place him thru word-of-mouth as much as possible.

Any of my adoptors can attest to the lengthy screening process I put them through! It includes some pretty nosy questions about money, marriage, job and other things that are normally none of my damn business.

Thank you for asking! I am extremely careful, and that is why typical adoptions take 6-18 months here at our farm.

kyryah said...

Argies looks handsome with his new haircut!

I really hope that you do the world a favor... And turn this story into a book! You have a very lyrical way of writing, your style is beautiful. This is the kind of story that needs to be told to the whole world, not just the ones that may stumble across it here. When most people think about "rescues" and abuse, they think of dogs and cats... and have no scope of the horror that humans put horses through.

Either way, this story is amazing. I check every day hoping for some small tidbit on how Argus is doing!

Fire of the Phoenix said...

kyryah mentioned making this into a book - I hope you do, I'd buy many copies, give them to my friends!!!

Anonymous said...

I meant to leave this comment ages ago....

"I don't have the means to adopt Argus, but I'll adopt Dr. Miller!"