Molly has lived on the sanctuary grounds for 3 years and still – to this day – she will not allow anyone to touch her. Yet, she is very kind, extremely playful and thoroughly enjoys her responsibilities as the barnyard animal guardian.
Mid-August, we noticed that Molly wasn’t her usual, jolly self. Her behavior was strange – she was not out and about, following her favorite pony around. Rather, she was hiding under one of the ranch trucks – something I had never seen her do before. Odd, I thought!
The next morning, she was still under the truck and, she did not eat her dinner from the night before. It took some doing to get her out in the open and when she did emerge, I was shocked to witness her condition. All 4 feet were extremely swollen and there was a glistening fluid oozing from in between her toes. Her muzzle and underbelly were red, swollen and they too, oozed the same glistening fluid. Finding Molly in such a concerning condition had always been my biggest nightmare considering that I can’t catch her.
Desperate for help, I called numerous wildlife rescue organizations, hopeful that they had a tranquilizer dart gun. No luck there. I called a local rancher – known for his roping skills, but never received a call back. Drugging Molly was not an option either. We tried this before with a negative result.
By Friday morning, her condition was alarming. She moved as if walking on glass – her body was swollen and she walked with her head close to the ground. Frantic for help, I called El Dorado County Animal Control requesting assistance from one of their field officers. She arrived shortly, observed the situation and concocted a capture plan. With the help of another HartSong volunteer, we were able to corner Molly in the back barn and when she bolted, she ran right through the Snappy Snare and we caught her.
Immediately, we rushed her to our local vet. Her condition was critical – temperature of 104 – severe dehydration and, she was in extreme pain. Once somewhat stabilized, Molly was transported to a 24 hour critical care veterinary clinic about 2 hours away – placed in ICU where she received the BIG GUNS of antibiotics and IV hydration. Four days later, she was stable enough to return to the ranch but she had to remain confined so that she could continue to receive another 2 weeks of antibiotics.
During this time, I entered her enclosure numerous time daily just to be close to her and her reaction was always the same and never changed. She would immediately retreat to a corner, bury her head in the wire framing – tremble and pee. Even though I tried repeatedly to gain her trust, she never came to understood that an outstretched hand was a kind, friendly gesture – leaving me to only imagine the level of horrific abuse that Molly most certainly endured before coming to HartSong.
Initially, the Vet’s thought Molly was suffering from Lymphoma or Leukemia but as it turned out, she was suffering from Adult Onset Juvenile Cellulitis – a fatal condition yet treatable if caught soon enough. Today, Molly is healthy, happy and back to her duties as barnyard guardian. We accept her “quirkiness” and adore her for who she is. We are so happy to know that her journey – as rough as it has been – eventually lead her to HartSong.