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Dory is a tiny Welsh pony, weighing in at only 400lbs, who found her way to Sanctuary on a very convoluted path. There are so many difficulties out in the world for a pony limping and going blind.

She found herself at a livestock auction with a young colt son just over 4 years ago. Livestock auction horses are not always fed, and she was extra hungry because she had a secret: she was also carrying Squirt, her now 4 year old son.

Someone wanting a pony to work in a lesson barn in Connecticut bought her and her son, only to realize that young Dory was pregnant, lame, and partially blind. Although that barn kept her older son, Dory and her newborn son Squirt were not “useful”, so they posted them for free on Facebook.

Unity Farm Sanctuary Farm Manager Tyla Doolin rescued them 4 years ago (before she was even Farm Manager at UFS). Tyla saw an ad on Facebook: “Free mini mare and colt” then drove to Connecticut to find Dory and Squirt, who may be small but certainly are not minis. Dory was underweight and giving everything she had to her “butterball” son Squirt. Squirt was just 3 months old at the time and had little handling AND had never even left the inside of the barn. With a little patience, Tyla got the ponies loaded onto the trailer and headed back to Massachusetts. Tyla brought them home and quarantined them until they were vetted. No major issues were discovered aside from Dory’s blind left eye, and her need for some extra calories. Dory was cherished at Tyla’s barn by everyone who met her and Squirt. From the start, she had difficulty picking up her feet, which at first seemed behavioral. Dory’s stifles also began “locking up” despite the hill exercises the vet recommended to help build up her muscles to prevent this.

Last year, we all agreed that the Sanctuary was a perfect forever home for Dory and Squirt, a safe place for them to live out their lives despite Dory’s orthopedic issues and partial blindness. So many people love to brush and pamper them here!

But life kept dealing new blows to Dory’s health. Shortly after Dory's arrival at UFS we realized her reluctance to pick up her feet was not behavioral, in fact it was due to pain. Dory has a bone spur on her left knee, which causes severe pain when she picks up her hooves. She suffers so much pain silently, and after repeated efforts to pin down the source of her pain, we now know what must be done. We cannot let her continue in pain. Without surgery, there would be no kindness to let her exist in that state: we all know in our hearts that Dory deserves the best chance at a pain-free life.

After two failed attempts to achieve pain relief by injecting her knee with steroids, our veterinary consultants all confirm that a special operation to fuse and plate the bad front knee will solve her pain with an excellent prognosis. The knee is made up of three joints, and lucky for Dory only one appears to be affected at this time. The fact that only one of her three knee joints is affected, paired with her small size gives us great hope that the surgery will be a success. During her surgery, two locked rear leg tendons will be clipped to unlock her stifles in the rear legs (a very quick procedure), allowing her to move normally for the first time since we have known Dory.

Dory is a spirited sweet mare, and not a quitter. She adores her son Squirt and hates being separated even a little from him. He has always been able to sleep deeply in the paddock, utterly unconcerned because he knows his mother looks out for him with her good right eye, no matter what.

Because of your donations on Giving Tuesday for the specialty surgery at Ocean State Equine, a pain-free future is now possible for Dory! She will have a cast on and must stay at the clinic for an entire month - the clinic has approved her to have Squirt stay with her too. She is young and strong, and she can't wait to be pain-free for the first time in a very long while.



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