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.
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:
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:
- 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)
- Own your own horse property with pasture and shelter and other equines in Northern California
- Be able to demonstrate a solid track record of stability with job, property ownership, etc.
- Can show a history of responsible, long-term horse ownership
- Have glowing veterinarian and farrier references, and then some...
- Have the time, desire, and compassion to love and maintain a retired horse in comfort