Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The early days of recovery

The Sunday after the fire Bobbi told me that several people were going to meet at the site of the fire. Because the indoor arena was still intact, temporary stalls were fabricated enabling the horses to come in from the heat of the July sun. I honestly don't know why I even agreed to go over that soon after the fire. Following my morning visit with Suki I drove to the barn.

The one thing that I clearly remember as I got closer was that I began to tremble, then shake uncontrollably. How was I going to get out of the car. When I opened my door, the smell of fire and burned rubble overwhelmed me and my legs actually buckled. Usually I do not react in this way to tragedy, but it struck me so hard. Several people came over and helped me to the barn, where I collapsed into tears (I am not really someone who typically shows that much emotion in public). We spoke for awhile, then Bobbi and I walked to the area where the barn once stood. I remember standing there just staring at the rubble. All that remained of the building was some melted equipment; the barn had burned to the ground. My heart ached as I thought about the fear and pain that Suki had endured. Not a religious person, I still found myself thanking God for the quick thinking firefighter that rescued my horse.

Often when we hear of tragedies and only one or two animals are injured or have died, we are relieved to hear that the number of casualties was not higher. My view has changed since that night, because my horse was the ONE that was critically injured. Now my thoughts go immediately to those associated with the one or two that were injured. While I have never been bitter that Suki was the only horse with such extensive injuries, I do occasionally look at her and ask "why did this happen to you?" As time marches on I realize that Suki has a new purpose and a new mission to help heal and inspire the people around her.

I spoke to many people during those first days and weeks of Suki's stay at New Bolton. Friends and strangers offered support. Dr. Mike Fugaro from Centenary College knew Suki from when she was at Heather Mason's for training at various times and had some experience with burned horses. We spoke about her current condition, the changes that would occur in her skin, and our hope for the future. He was an invaluable source of knowledge and support.

Suki's attitude and appetite remained intact. That is one tough girl! This is most certainly due to the phenomenal pain-management regimen that was used. When a horse is in pain of any kind they typically stop eating. Suki would walk around her stall with all of her IV tubing, and kick at the door for treats! Watching her behave like the diva that she is always gave me confidence that I had made the right decision!

The burned areas of skin began to slough off and her skin was cleaned followed by the application of a thick layer of SSD. We needed to keep the skin from drying, and prevent infection. But some areas of her skin were quite sensitive to the touch, so when extensive wound cleaning needed to be performed, Suki was sedated.

November 8, 2011
The bruising has pretty much resolved, so I am pleased. Suki received her full spa treatment, which she seemed to really enjoy. She had some pretty itchy spots, which she points to with her nose so that I can get them.
I also had a lovely ride on Nikki.
The book will contain more detail, as I continue to interview people and read through Suki's medical records.


  1. love to read how suki points out the itchy spots :)

  2. I can't wait for the book. As I already find myself waiting each day for the next post. Animals have always been close to my heart, especially, horses. And I thank you for sharing Suki's story. I look forward to hearing more about her past and about her future.

  3. Thanks Petoskystone...When I scratch the itchy spots, Suki starts to "groom" me at the same time!

    Thanks Layla!

  4. Just wanted to tell you that Suki is an amazing horse and has an amazing mommy. I am a senior citizen and I have enjoyed following Suki's story. Please give her a hug and some gummy bears for me. Sending prayers to both of you.

  5. Thank you Jean. I am so glad that you are enjoying the blog. I will give Suki some extra hugs and gummy bears for you tomorrow.

  6. that first anonymous comment was me, and now I have figured out how to get my blog ID name(Rapunzel) to come up! Yay! so comments by Rapunzel are from me, the blog author (Suki's mom)