By Tommy Clarkson from the June 2013 Edition
(Having begun in last month’s issue of the Sun, this is the continuation of the amazing resurrection of a filly named Catrina – an act that came about through the selfless efforts of some rather remarkable people.)
“When Philip and Sharon brought Dr. Horatio and his team to where I remained bound, they – like the
Chandler’s had been, when first they saw me – were overtly dismayed. My “home” consisted of conditions of the worst sort – a dirty, desultory, demolition site …my place of incarceration.
Apparently, I had not realized just how bad of shape I was in as this animal medical team decided right there and then that they needed to operate – immediately. So with saline drip hung from a nearby tree, their operating theatre was my packed soil field. From what they later explained to me, it was quite the operation ordeal. But it was followed by my very first bath. (I just wish I’d felt a bit more like enjoying it at the time!)
Not owning me, Philip and Sharon had far surpassed what they probably should have done. But at least, finally, they were able to get an official written warning delivered to my captor who ultimately bought me some meager rations. (I really feel the need to insert herein that he was not, by nature, a truly vile and evil man – merely a poor and uninformed man who felt little concern for creatures such as me.)
That all having been said, luckily the Chandlers continued to visit and it fast became obvious to them that I was not only not recovering but was nearer death than ever before. Unbeknownst to them, I was actually allergic to the very antibiotic drugs that everyone thought should be helping me!
I felt dreadful and finally – after all I had been through – had to lie down . . . something my parents told me, when I was only a wee filly, was one of the worst signs of failing health that we horses could ever do.
When Sharon saw me on my side she was beside herself. Maybe her mom and dad had told her the same thing. While Phillip stayed and talked with me, I learned later that she drove home like a lady possessed and through copious tears of concern called Dr. Horatio asking what they should do.
It should be said that while all of this was transpiring Philip was in pain too. He had recently undergone surgery for kidney stones on one side and was to soon have the procedure repeated for the other one.
Now even we horses know that one must stay hydrated when one has kidney stones. But he stayed by my side from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM with no water until sharp, nearly debilitating pains drove him to briefly leave my side in order to sate of his acute thirst .
While Sharon was frantically calling any and all she could think of in a desperate search for help, Philip stoically remained with me. He continually patted and reassured me finally saying, after five continuous hours by my side, that he was going to cross the street to find a drink of water to hopefully alleviate some of his great discomfort. As he left, I heard him praying for me to find the strength to get up.
“Well,” I thought, “if they care for me this much and all believe in me as they obviously do, then I mustn’t give up either.” So I struggled to my feet – much to Philip’s great amazement and delight when he returned.
They knew that I needed an antihistamine injection to counter the problems I was incurring from the drug reaction, but no one – anywhere in the general Manzanillo area – seemed to have any. From one veterinarian location to after another Sharon raced. Finally at the very last one with which she was familiar, one single vial was found on their shelves. Back to me she flew, Philip gave me the shot and soon I felt much better.
Later that day, Sharon confided to me that Dr. Horacio had called to say that he had found a place for me in Guadalajara. But they had to get me up there and I was certainly in no condition to walk, cantor, trot and/or gallop there . . . that’s some more horse humor, ya’ see!
Well, as is often the case, ya’ gotta’ know somebody who knows someone else. The Chandlers spoke to their House Manager who talked to their gardener who knew somebody who was familiar with someone who could get me there! And in high style it was. If ever there was a Ferrari of horse coaches this was it. Though I felt pretty puny, I must admit, it felt awesome to travel (anywhere) in style like that after the previous several months of abysmal bondage.
“Well if there is such a place as that – and I, for one know there is – then Dr. Reuben’s clinic is certainly a part of it. My “room” was, perhaps, the most spotlessly clean, immaculately scrubbed and pristine of places imaginable. And, while seeming to be an elegant hostel for horses or a five star equine spa, it was, in fact, a hospital owned and operated by yet another of those angels who saved me – Dr. Rueben! (I learned later that it is renowned as the foremost of its sort in the world.)
After examining me at length, he – not knowing I well understood “human talk”- told Philip and Sharon – “This is one very sick and ailing horse and what with those parasites Well, let me tell you, after all these folks had already done for me I decided right there and then I would, absolutely, not only survive but show them all that I truly could be!
With those parasites eating her very flesh, (I think he called it phytosis) she may not survive – I give her a 50/50 chance of making it.”
This most kind and gentle of veterinarians told my Chandler angels that if they would just pay for my keep he would be pleased and honored to contribute the upkeep, treatments, and drugs free of charge. What a kind, considerate and caring man!
The handling I received – I later came to realize – was nothing short of amazing. In fact, such was my condition that Dr. Reuben has discussed it and my recovery in international seminars, showing pictures of the process.
Ya’ know, I’m hard pressed to decide, but if I could be re-incarnated as a human man, I don’t know whether I’d prefer to be Philip or Dr. Rueben!
The next eighteen months were a blur. I became acquainted with several other ”Puny Pony Patients” – as we called ourselves. But most of my time was focused on recovering. Much to my delight, the Chandlers were regular visitors, bringing me apples and other treats – of course Kai and Duke, their giant Schnauzers, came along. Being multi-lingual I was able to communicate with these two canines and we, too, became fast friends.
After several operations, gaining 200 kilos of my weight back and a year and a half I was pronounced “fit ‘n fine!” the only thing lacking from my luxurious hospital chambers was a mirror so I really had not been wholly aware of my appearance. However, in my latter stages of regaining health I was taken for walks and on no few occasions several of the stallions who were in nearby residence kicked up quite a storm of appreciation whinnying and smacking on their stall walls with their hooves . . . those naughty, horny boys! (Later, one of those most handsome of studly steeds became my lover and soon, I hoped to become a mother.)
But at that time I began to wonder, what might come next?
As it appeared there wasn’t, after all, an imminent glue factory in my future, what would become of me? Obviously I was now well and whole – affirmed by equine, canine and human friends alike .
Dr. Reuben and the Chandlers told me that they wanted to find the perfect person match for me. Having only my original owner and the three of them by which to judge I could only hope but for someone reminiscent of the latter trio.”
My Re-Birth Completed
“At this time, into my life strode Carla Gabriela Chavez Ruiz , a 25 year old veterinarian who had been working in this professional field of endeavor since she was 14 who, after her university graduation interned with Dr Reuben.
Interestingly, her favorite sporting activity is the escaramuza (the performance of precision equestrian displays), Mexico’s – national sport. This is all the more interesting in that none of her relatives are “charros” or have ever had anything to do with horses. But,
I’m proud to say, she is very good. In fact, even though she is still quite young, she has already competed in 3 national charros championships
Early on she told me that she had always wanted a horse of her own but simply could not afford one until
Dr. Reuben asked the Chandlers if they might allow her to adopt me. And, now, am I ever glad that she did!
But at first –given the abuse to which I had originally been submitted, I must admit I was a bit skittish, temperamental and not very easy to touch. In fact, once I was fully healed, I wouldn’t even let anyone in my pen. But with Carla’s love and tenderness – to say nothing of apples, pilonsillos (brown sugar cakes), sugar donuts and obvious, massive amounts of true care and concern for my well-being – she conquered my heart.
Carla had hoped that I could join her in Charro routines. However, as a result of the several tissue removal operations caused by the phytosis – while I’m now in perfect health – I can’t do all the necessary skips, struts and steps as would be required of me.
So now my home is in “la primavera” a small forest close to Guadalajara. After a short period of unease, I now comfortably live and play with a herd of other horses which – I must admit – has done wonders for my earlier nervousness. I sleep indoors in my stable and whenever Carla whistles I race to her so that I might take her for a ride.
She, clearly, loves me as much as I have come to care for her and now we take rides often, after which she carefully and always soothingly, brushes me.
But a bonus is that now I can return the love and attention the four of my angels have given to me!
Carla has a six year old niece, Mariana Gonzalez Chávez, who suffers from Down Syndrome, who she loves like a daughter. Mariana and I have totally bonded and I don’t know who enjoys it more – her or me – when she takes rides upon my back. Why she even likes it when I gallop! Carla tells me that these times together are therapeutic for her – whatever that means.
But for me, it’s simply giving and getting love.
Dr. Ruben concurs. Recently when asked about Catrina he replied, “She is in the best possible condition living in La Primavera in Guadalajara – almost in the wild during the day but in comfortable, protected environs at night. Karla rides her regularly which makes both of them very happy.
Sadly, as she has “hyperplasia reproductive organs” there is no possibility that Catrina can ever have a foal but she is very much beloved by Karla and will be well taken care of forever.”
So now, my life truly is whole and meaningful. But it’s certainly been quite the adventure getting here!
However, now there are problems on yet another front. Not long ago I learned that when Sharon returned to the United Kingdom with Kai, not only was he badly mauled and scarred when attacked by a German Shepard, he was diagnosed with Shar Pei Fever – a ticking time bomb of a health problem. What a worry.
But after all that the Angels Chandler did for me – the seemingly impossible – I dare say, who knows, what they may be able to do for Kai, yet another of their dear and much loved animal friends.
If but all humans could be as caring of their fellow creatures as are they.
Tommy Clarkson is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s lived and worked in locales as disparate as the 1.2 square mile island of Kwajalein to war-torn Iraq, from aboard he and Patty’s boat berthed out of Sea Bright, NJ to Thailand, Germany, Hawaii and Viet Nam; He’s taught classes and courses on creative writing and mass communications from the elementary grades to graduate level; He’s spoken to a wide array of meetings, conferences and assemblages on topics as varied as Buddhism, strategic marketing and tropical plants; In the latter category he and Patty’s recently book, “The Civilized Jungle” – written for the lay gardener – has been heralded as “the best tropical plant book in the last ten years”; And, according to Trip Advisor, their spectacular tropical creation - Ola Brisa Gardens – is the “Number One Tour destination in Manzanillo”.