description: gruella and white Paint mare
type of rescue: City of Snohomish Animal Control Seizure
intake date: 12/14/2008
adoption date: 7/17/2009
length of time with SAFE: 7 months
ADOPTED!! by Sabra G of
We have a wonderful update and some photos to share of Whisper, who is now called “Domino” by her adopter, Sabra, from their site check in early April this year.
Sabra and Domino seem very comfortable with each other. Domino ran up to us in the pasture and was easily haltered. Sabra has decided to give her one more year before breaking Domino to ride as she had such a hard start and she feels she needs a little more time to grow and for now she is happy just being a horse. She is planning to use her for a riding horse for her mother, who is smaller, and her nephews, and perhaps train her to drive. They do work a lot on the ground and do Parelli exercises.
Domino was much more interested in grazing than having her photo taken, but here are some photos:
To read Whisper’s rescue story, click here.
To read Whisper’s detailed saga with SAFE, click here.
Sentencing in Whisper’s case: Ineligible to Carry Firearms, or Vote. 12 months community supervision, 90 days electronic home monitoring. Do Not Possess, Own or Board ANY domestic or exotic animal. $600 in Court fees. Restitution to be determined.
The gal that surrendered Whisper (Rose and Skye) to the City of Snohomish was found GUILTY of 1 Count of Cruelty to Animals in the First Degree. Not quite everything she deserves, especially since a fourth horse died in her care, but at least it’s something. Sentencing will be November 5, 2009.
Whisper’s adoption has been approved and she should be going to her new home in the next week or so!
Congratulations to Sabra G. of Deming, WA on your adorable, sweet new filly!!!
Visited Whisper today, and wow! She looks amazing! She has grown a lot in height (she was 13.3 a few months ago, and I sticked her today at 14.2 at the wither and 15h at the butt — she is going to end up a good sized horse I think!). She also has filled out a LOT…you can see the QH in her now! And she had to be cut back because she really was getting too fat. Amy (foster mom) has done a wonderful job with her and she has great manners! She is fine with tarps, plastic bags, big blow up swim toys, and just about anything. She is very good in the halter now and not pushy at all. She’s just adorable and the sweetest thing. Love her!
And here is Whisper practicing to do halter at the SAFE show!
Update on Whisper’s case:
Although we asked for at least 2 Counts of Animal Cruelty against Whisper’s previous owner, we learned today that Snohomish County has charged her with 1 Count of Animal Cruelty. A bit disheartening, to say the least, but at least the gal is being charged. Michelle Esteban (KOMO) has been notified, so there may be some sort of public announcement made.
It just grates me that you can kill one horse, almost kill another — and severely starve two more… and this is all that happens.
Thank you to everyone that has helped Whisper, Skye and Rose. All three horses are now safe and healthy — this couldn’t have happened without you.
I’m currently Whisper’s foster mom and here’s a quick update. She’s doing very well. Healthy, curious, and friendly. Very level-headed and just sensitive enough. I find her very easy to train. She was a bit pushy when she arrived a month or so ago, but is quickly becoming a well-behaved lady. She knows to give me room when I bring the food and she doesn’t apporach until I give the ok/all-clear. She leads much nicer, just occassionally needs a reminder about my space. She walks, trots, and backs well on the lead, and does nice turns on the haunches and fore. She’s doing well with plastic bags shaken all around her, and when asked for the first time to walk across a tarp tonight she didn’t hesitate. With the right guidance and training, I think she’ll make a great kids horse one day. Next weekend I’ll try to get some updated video and photos. She’s a gem, and should bond nicely with the person who steps up to give her a permanent home.
One of our supporters, Barbara, posted this update:
So I took Sera for a ride today, to make up for her being “neglected” while I was on my month-long Europe/Egypt trip. As we were coming back down the trail, I noticed a familiar rear end through the trees.….
From Monica Bretherton:
I used some less lovely pictures I took on Friday of Whisper yesterday as a lead up to the art show:
Guess she’s not so sylph-like after all underneath that blanket!
It was a sad day for me yesterday, as Bonnie and I hauled Whisper to her new foster home in Duvall. However, she’s healthy, and just needs a nice place to grow up and hang out and because she is so sweet and easy to handle she was the logical choice for our new foster home. I have to warn people, there is something about this little filly you can’t help but love. She’s a pushy little thing, but so sweet and friendly and full of life. She’s going to do great at her new foster home, where she will be a companion to a huge draft cross gelding who already adores her.
Here are some photos we took just before we moved her. Is she amazingly beautiful or what??? Almost all shedded out, and almost…dare I say it..chubby? It amazes me when I look at her to think of the pathetic scrawny thing she was just a few months ago. She has made a truly amazing recovery, literally from death’s door.
At my farm, before we left, and at her new foster home
I need to take some new photos of Whisper! She is back at my farm right now before she moves to a new foster home in Duvall. She looks so amazing, hardly even recognizable from the mess she was in December. She is almost FAT now, she even has a little bubble butt! She is just the sweetest thing and is going to make someone a fantastic little horse. She is almost all the way shedded out and looks great…nice healthy coat has come in.
Today Dr. Hannah did her shots and her teeth and Daphne did her feet. She got her wolf teeth pulled so she is ready for training next year when she is three. But the best news was that she got a completely CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH! Her heart rate was completely normal, and it appears that whatever issue she has is resolved. There should be nothing stopping her now!
I am so pleased to say that Whisper is now ready to be made available for adoption. She’s looking absolutely wonderful and is ready for that special home to take her home! She does still have a higher heart rate than normal and the vets do not know what the cause of it is…all her heart tests and bloodwork is normal and it is not arrythmia or a heart murmur it just beats fast. We don’t know if or how this may affect her in the future, but it doesn’t seem to affect her at all now. She’s a healthy weight, active and playful like a filly her age should be, and is very personable, affectionate, and trusting. She’s also practically bombproof after everything she has been through!
Whisper’s adoption fee is $500.
I was grooming our sweet Whisper tonight and she is really filling out in her body and I am actually going to be cutting her food back. She has shoulder muscles forming and a nice round rear, and a bit of a belly, too. She has changed so much in just this last week, since Komo 4 was out here. She is shedding out and becoming this glossy coated beauty. I sticked her and she has grown a good 1 1/2 this last week. Whisper is blossoming and really getting quite pretty. She has some black points coming out in her grulla and pinto coat. I wish I didn’t have my foal coming this year because I am falling for her and would love to have her as my trail pal…but I need her like a hole in my head and she deserves a person that has fewer horses competing for attention. Honestly, she is one of the easiest, least spooky horses I have ever worked with. She will make anyone look like a super horseman/trainer. Can you tell how proud of her I am? She is truly a special girl…I am so happy you all fought so hard to keep her alive, so I can have this special time with her. I am a better person for knowing Whisper.
Ok, the camera adds ten pounds…at least I hope it was the camera:-)
I tried not to cry, but that sweet Whisper has a way of getting into the hearts of those who have had the priviledge of working with her. I swear I had many profound statements on Whispers behalf, but they played the tear jerker card-go figure. I really thought it was a nice story on Whisper and SAFE and I hope it brings more awareness to the cause. Thank you to Michelle Estaban from KOMO4, for her continued coverage of Whispers story.
I hope everyone enjoyed seeing her in action and in color…she is getting to be quite cute, isn’t she?
LINK TO STORY ADDED:
Another video clip of Whisper, look at her now!!!!
Whisper wanted me to send a note out to her people, oh yes-she has people. She is doing well and getting more energy by the day. I am looking for some ideas about hay…she is picky. Some days I worry she isn’t eating enough hay. For awhile she appeared to not want anything but timothy..today there was lots of extra when I got home. HMMMM… otherwise she devours her mashes, and grain. Should I start her on Alfalfa pellets???
Beyond her hay issues she is gaining weight, her manure looks great and her attitude is fabulous. She always greets her turn-out with a buck and a toss of her head. She is not a spooky horse and is very willing learner. She loves kisses on her nose and is being so good about letting me treat her ears and other scabby areas. She has some very stubborn scabs on her legs, but they are improving and do not appear to be sensitive.
She still breaks out in random sweats, which I believe may be when her heart rate increases, although I don’t see the rapid breathing with it, so she could just be getting a bit warm under her blankie.
I have moved her to a stall with a 36x36 turn out. Previously she was in a 12x36 paddock. I turn her out for 15 minutes in a 30x72 paddock, but she still wants to play and run too much . I don’t want her heart to get too rapid and her muscles are still weak-she came this far, I don’t want her to have any set backs.
She loves to have visitors! I will do a video tomorrow to show her progress. All best, Monica and Whisper.
Whisper got promoted into a 15 turn out in the large paddock today. We are limiting her turn out until her strength increases. In the attached video she shows her joy with a buck and a lope across the paddock. She is quite impressed with herself…she is such a hot to trot girl.
I washed her legs and hind end again today, since those are worst areas covered in mud fever. The scabs are falling off easily now and new, shiny hair growth is coming in.
She is turning into a food snob, deciding she no longer cares for grass or alfalfa hay and instead prefers timothy hay. The princess gets what the princess wants.
Last night I turned the clippers on to see what she thought of that…clearly she did not like clippers, but she let me trim a bit of the goat hair off of the underside of her jawline.
She is blossoming into quite a beauty.
While she is improving daily she continues to have an elevated heart rate and only time will tell if she has permanent heart damage. Regardless, I don’t think there is anything that will hold her back in life. She is a tough girl.
She sends her best to all of you and special thanks to all whom have sent well wishes her way.
Hello Whisper fans, my name is Monica Carlile and I am Whispers foster mom. I’m sorry I was not savvy on this site, but now I am up and running and will do daily Whisper updates.
First and foremost, she is doing great! She is so sweet and appreciative of anything I do to or with her. She loved her bath! As a matter of fact I was washing back under her tail and teet area and thought she was going to cow kick me but then I realized she was lifting her hind leg up and out, so I could get in to scrub her under there. I finally read all of this blog and Whisper just has a tremendous amount of fur on her face, it is not big compared to her body. She is actually put together pretty well, just very small for her breed and age. She is about the size of my yearling Arabian. I love how big and bright her eye is getting…they used to be so hooded looking. She is full of energy and is bucking and playing in her paddock daily. She has even thrown her tail up over her back trying to be all hotsy totsy. She is a total delight to be around. Whomever adopts her will end up with an amazing horse with a ton of heart and soul. I will keep up on photos now that I know she has a fan club.
From Monica, Whisper’s foster mom:
Whisper had her first worming, first turn out into a paddock, her feet done and now a bath, too.
I was nervous about the worming and did not know what to expect, but she didn’t have any problems at all. I honestly had never seen so many varieties of dead worms in a pile of horse manure before, it was pretty icky.
I had a friend come by to see her and asked me if there was a dead animal in the stall with her, I had to break the news to her that it was Whisper that smelled so stinky. I actually nicknamed her, Stinky. The weather warmed up and with the aid of six heaters, three coolers and Anti bacterial shampoo. I took this on without the help of anyone else, but she was a perfect angel and loved having her body scrubbed with the warm soapy water. So, she is officially not a stinky horse. YIPPEE!!!
She loves to buck and play in her paddock located off of her stall. She has been jogging in and out consistently and today, I saw her lope a couple of strides. It is great to see her energy level increasing daily.
And photos, doesn’t she look great???
From Monica, her foster mom:
Whisper is doing great! Here are photos of her out today…the weather is finally good enough she can go into a small paddock. She bucked and tossed her head in delight upon being released-it wasn’t glamorous but she thought she was coolJ. She is alert and wide eyed and feeling great. She is pictured here with her next door neighbor Wishes(aka-Star) .
The access road to where Whisper is is flooded, so I haven’t been able to visit her, but here was the update from yesterday:
“I can’t wait until the time I can give Whisper a bath-she is one smelly girl. What a sweetheart too! I let her loose to wander the barn aisle way while I cleaned her stall and she was a great helper cleaning up the loose hay and stray apples. She is starting to feel great!”
Whisper went down tonight and gave her foster mom a scare. But I had her bring out the grain, give her a few bites and then take it away and sure enough, Whisper got herself right up. Crisis averted. Good girl, Whisper!
Monica checked on Whisper every couple hours throughout the night, and while she was usually down, she jumped right up when Monica came in as she now understands that Monica is the food lady. She’s getting up quickly and gracefully now — no problem — just like a big girl! I am so proud of her and so relieved (for a while there I thought she was going to have to go back to Pilchuck…)
a little birdie just told me that Whisper is on her way home this afternoon!!
We have received a tremendous amount of support for Whisper’s care, and it is thanks to all of you that we were able to send her to Pilchuck when she needed to be sent there. The outpouring of concern over the fate of this little filly was incredible. Thank you from the bottom of my/our heart(s)!
And an extra special thanks to Dr. Evergreen for going to pick her up for us on her day off!!
Whisper will be fostered by our kind new foster mom, Monica, who is also fostering Star, in Sultan. She has a nice heated stall waiting for Miss Whisper.
Whisper is doing just great…loaded and hauled great, is settling right in, and is very perky and bright. Monica’s hopefully going to send some photos tonight.
I have the MOST excellent news from Pilchuck! Whisper got herself up, all on her own, THREE times yesterday!
We are giving her one more day and if she continues to do well, we plan on bringing her home tomorrow!
I went to see Whisper today at 11:30. She was standing up, and munching on her hay. The little Miss was very bright eyed, and met me at the stall door. (She must have known that I was accompanied by an apple.) After she ate her apple, she promptly attempted to mug me for another one (which I did not have.) I don’t advocate a horse being pushy at all…but for Whisper I have to make an exception
I also noticed that the rented sling was hanging outside her stall, so I ran it back to Mt Vernon after I left Whisper.
Dr. Mollott called me and said Whisper had gotten up mostly by herself (she did have someone at her head and another holding her tail but she did most of the work herself). It wasn’t pretty, but she did it and I think it is a huge accomplishment! So far our bill is at about $1200, so not too bad and I am hoping that after a couple more days she will be getting up and down on her own regularly and we can bring her home.
She wears the sling still all the time. At night she is hooked up and she seems to know when she is and does not try to lie down. During the day they unhook her so she can lie down and rest at will, and help her up as needed.
Also — she still has an elevated heart rate of 50–60, but her heart enzyme tests came back totally normal. There are still a couple of tests they are waiting for but so far they are chalking it all up to her extreme weakness and the effort it takes her to stay up and around. All in all, she is doing fairly well. No more issues with her body temperature either now that she is in a heated barn!
From Monica Bretherton:
I too got to visit Ms. Whisper today.
Forget champagne, New Year’s from now on will be about the sweet smell of alfalfa!
Met, Whisper was up and eating, so there was no need for her to be wearing the helmet while I was there. However, it was standing by outside the stall, so presumably they are still putting it on when she is in the process of being gotten up. It is still a major effort, Dr. Hall said..
The real turning point will be when she shows more use of her hind end in getting up. She is still only working with her front legs.
It’s still a mystery, but one that is being closely observed for small signs of improvement.
I had a very exhausting day (more on that later), but I wanted to give a quick update for the Whisper fan club. Whisper was down 3 or 4 times last night (I am beginning to lose count). After much discussion, the decision was made for Whisper to go to Pilchuck today. She is now safely in their ICU unit, in a huge heated stall where she doesn’t even need to wear a blanket. While she was there, she laid down for us, and then we were able to watch as they hoisted her up with our loaned firehose sling and their hoist system. It was the most seamless, low-drama lift ever — no one even had to touch Whisper and she glided up to where her feet were on the ground and then she just stood and bore her own weight. That alone almost made me cry with relief. I know Lisa and her husband Jim were exhausted as even when they were not getting up at night they were woke up each time the noisy electric hoist was used and could not get much sleep. And now Dr. Hannah gets to go visit her family for a few days, and we all get a break. They will be running some tests on her to try and figure out what is going on with her heartrate — cardiac myopathy is certainly a possibility that is being looked into.
I’ll post some photos tomorrow of her at Pilchuck, but she’s doing well. I am feeling hopeful again that she will make it.
Whisper shortly after arriving at Pilchuck and deciding the soft bedding was just too inviting, she needed to have a rest, while Dr. Mullott and Dr. Hannah work on putting her new head bumper that she gets to wear so she doesn’t hit her head when she is down and struggling. Once the hoist was installed, up she went!
I stopped at Pilchick on my way home from Jaime’s last night to drop off Whisper’s Red Cell and supplements and she was standing in her stall, still attached to the sling, but was eating and very alert. The vet tech in charge reported that Whisper had not indicated that she wanted to lie down, had drank some water, was cruising around her huge stall checking out all the corners and had passed firm poopies. I popped into her stall to give her some scritches and have a lil chat.
This filly clearly has a strong spirit and is not done with the world yet!
Just got an update from Pilchuck. Whisper is doing very well this morning. She was up all night, and although she was attached to the hoist she did not try to lie down during the night and stayed up and ate most of the night. This morning they unattached her and she lay down to rest — they will probably continue to give her the choice during the day and then keep her up overnight when they are not as staffed. She is not showing any colicky symptoms and her manure is still cowpie-like but she did not feel it was a major concern.
Her bloodwork came back for the most part normal. Her anemia is improving and she feels is associated with her current state and not a chronic problem. She got a Vit E/Selenium shot yesterday and they also ran tests on her levels which we should get back today. We are still waiting for the cardiac troponin (sp? I am sure I butchered that one) test which tests for a particular muscle enzyme which should only be present if there is muscle damage in the heart (cardiac myopathy). They are also going to take a Coggins on her today, as a precautionary measure.
All in all a pretty positive update.
Additional thanks goes out to the following people who made donations for Whisper:
Rosalie K. of Mill Creek, WA $20.00
Veronica K. of Monroe, WA $100.00
Lilianne K. of Monroe, WA $150.00
Margaret and David S. of Snohomish, WA $30.00
I also want to call out a very special thank you to Tami Jennings, the owner of Cascade Meadows, a large boarding and training facility here in Monroe. She collected donations at her barn and brought me out 8 bales of hay during the worst weather when I was almost out of hay and had no truck. She also brought bags of senior and several jugs of oil and cheerfully took me to town to buy extra supplies when I had no way to get to the feed store. She is the one that put us in touch with Joni Sorita, another very kind person who is helping us with Whisper and is an equine massage therapist that is going to do some work on some of our horses as well. Joni is also the person who knows Olivia Newton-John, whose husband’s company donated the special herbal formula for Whisper.
My thanks to all of you that have offered monetary support, time or feed donations, or simply sent us a note of encouragement or are supporting us by reading this thread. I hope that I am not leaving anyone out, but it is quite possible with the craziest of the last few weeks that I have, so if so please accept my sincere apologies, your donations are no less valuable and appreciated.
Thank you all!!
CSO Davis and I ran out at noon to visit Whisper. She was laying flat out in her stall, but looked very comfortable. We started talking to her, and she rolled into the sternal position and attempted to get up She made a huge effort, but wasn’t able to stand, and laid out on her side again. She’d only been down for an hour, so probably wasn’t quite ready to get up (although she thought she was.) The attending Vet and techs, hooked the pulley to her harness, but it appeared that Whisper was content to just rest (again in the sternal postion).
I must have just missed CSO Davis and Msclarkee at lunch. I was out at 1pm to visit Whisper and she was up and patiently allowing the techs to adjust her harness to fit, it seems our little one has taken to wiggling out of the harness. Now she is securely in place and continues to be very interested in her food and water. I havent seen Whisper since I went on leave to get some rest as of last Friday so I think she was a little surprised to see me, she lifted her head and went “wait a minute I know you!” I was sure to tell her how loved she was (pretty sure she has caught on to that by now) and that everyone is supporting her recovery efforts. She is a very lucky girl, who personally offers me inspiration everytime I look at her!
Whisper was down again yesterday evening..not sure yet how she did overnight. Unfortunately, I threw my back out badly and am lying on the couch in misery after a very restless night. It’s my turn to do night watch tonight, but not sure how much help I am going to be.
Equinevet — I know that cardiac myopathy is one thing that is being discussed with Pilchuck right now. We are running some extra labwork today to see if that could be the problem.
I don’t think at this time we have any reason to believe it is neurological. This filly simply just has no muscle, nothing at all, so therefore no ability to lift herself.
She has been on probiotics since the very beginning. She’s also on Echinacea, and we just started giving her red cell, Biosponge for the loose manure, and we were donated a very expensive herbal formula from Peru, by a company owned by Olivia Newton John’s husband. Yes, I’ve been told Whisper even has celebrities pulling for her! So she just has to make it. You can read about the product here: http://www.amazonherb.net/ProductInfo.aspx?ItemID=4629. I don’t know much about herbal therapies, but Dr. Hannah looked over the ingredient list and approved it. At the very least it cannot hurt, this poor little girl needs all the help she can get.
I have not heard anything on whether or not charges are going to be filed, just that the case is “under review”. Perhaps msclarkee can shed some insight on that, or provide us with a contact to whom we can politely apply pressure to pursue the case. It is very important that this is not dropped. We have already proven that animal cruelty cases can be won successfully — in fact in both cases there were guilty pleas and no trial necessary. This case should be as cut and dry.
Whisper went down at about 8:00pm last night. Valerie came over and sat in the stall with me until Dr Hannah could get here. Dr Hannah, Dr Brad and Daphne got here and got her up at about 9pm. Poor Whisper was very nervous and wanted to get up but still lacks the strength to do it on her own, and she is getting harder to hold down while getting everything ready to hoist her up. Dr Hannah spent the night here again last night, hopefully Daphne or Jaime can take an overnight shift tonight so Dr Hannah can go home. I have to admit this is getting quite tiring — emotionally exhausting! Today Dr Hannah will be drawing more blood for some more tests, it will take a few days to get these results. Laura Clarke came by and visited Whisper yesterday and brought her an apple which Whisper loved. I do believe this little filly knows we are all trying so hard to help her.
Oh no..this case is not going to be dropped! CSO Davis is diligently gathering the final statements from witnesses, Officers on scene, folks that are willing to testify on the condition of the horses when the gal received them, etc. The pictures alone are very graphic, even without a narrative. This is a very STRONG case, and will soon be sent to Snohomish County Prosecutors. We are just making sure that all the T’s are crossed, and I’s dotted — because we can’t let Whisper, Sky and Rose down.
Whisper update, but its not a very good one. When Valerie, Hannah and Lisa got Whisper up last night, she had hit her head against the wall during her struggles and took a big chunk out of the inside of her mouth. Then while getting her up she swung her head and smacked Valerie right in the bridge of her nose pretty badly, and also smacked Hannah in the back of the head. Everybody’s ok, but the new sling system wasn’t quite as seamless as we had hoped. Overnight she was down three times — the most yet — she just doesn’t want to stay on her feet anymore. The good news is Hannah was able to get her up by herself two of those times. We are now talking about using the other sling and leaving her in it for a while, if for no other reason but to give us all a break and some sleep.
The other concern is her heart rate has continued to go up and is hovering around 72 right now. We still don’t know why — as this is even after she is up and appears calm. I think Hannah is going to confer with Pilchuck today about possible causes.
This has been such an emotional up and down with her…right now things don’t look so positive.
I have several checks at my house as well I need to post (tomorrow, too exhausted tonight).
Brief update: Whisper was down at about 8pm (?) yesterday, just before I got to Lisa’s for my night duty so Lisa and Kier could get some much-needed sleep. Her temp was going up and down but her heart rate was up, she was gassy and looking at her stomach, sweating and seemed much more uncomfortable, so we called Hannah and Brad and Valerie out and got her up at 11:30pm. Dr. Hannah gave her some Banamine, did a rectal and cleared her out, and gave her some Miracle Clay as the manure she has been passing has been very soft. I checked her at 2:00am, 4:00am, and 6:00am and she was up but at the 8:00am check she was down again. She seemed fairly calm at first and her temp was good but she quickly became distressed and was trying to get herself up and flailing quite a bit, and still very gassy and uncomfortable. Her eyes continue to do the weird flickering back and forth thing at times when she is down, usually when she is getting stressed, and she will shake all over. On a positive note, her efforts to get up were stronger than she has shown before, but she is really only getting her front feet out and then lunging forward, her hind end just does not have enough strength to do the job. We got her up again and her gut sounds were good but we gave her some more Banamine, and Hannah took some blood which showed that her white blood cell count is improving but her hemocrats were low so she is going to put her on Red Cell now.
We are doing 12 hours on/12 hours off with the leg wraps to give them air — she is pretty much covered with scabs and does not tolerate the removal well, especially on her legs. Right now it hasn’t been the primary focus with everything else going on and needing to keep her warm and dry being very important.
Today Bonnie brought the other sling from Hobby Horse Haven and we also had someone out that has experience in animal and human rescue and might have some suggestions on how we can improve our current situation. We need to get the beam raised as well. I had to leave after we got her up the second time to care for all the horses at my place so I haven’t heard how she did the rest of the day. I know Dr. Hannah was staying over at Lisa’s tonight for night duty. One current concern is Dr. Hannah is going out of town on Tuesday, and at this point we still need her on a daily basis. Will post another update tomorrow.
Whisper update: She was down at 3am last night and again at 8am. The new sling from Hobby Horse isn’t going to work, it is designed for a horse that is going to be kept in the sling for long periods of time, and we need something that we only use when we need to get her up, and preferably can be unhooked from the hoist and stay on her. We do have something that was rigged up by a friend of Hannah and Daphne’s that does professional rigging…it is made out of fire hose and very strong, and she can wear it all the time as it is not too heavy or cumbersome. However, we cannot get her up high enough with it, so we have to use it to lift her enough to get the other sling on her, set her back down and attached the other sling to the hoist, then lift her again. Today they are working on getting the beam itself higher off the ground — if that can be accomplished then getting her up may get much easier and may only take one or two people. One concern we have now is Whisper’s heart rate is staying up around 50–60 even when she is up and calm and we aren’t quite sure why yet. Today Hannah was able to put sweat wraps on her legs to help soften the scabs to see if we can get them off easier.
One day at a time…
As I type this Doug and Scott are in Whisper’s stall elevating the beam four feet. Hopefully this with the latest sling will be the answer to elevating her readily.
Miss Whisper is down again.….She went down at about 7pm and I am waiting for Dr Hannah now.…. Will post again later.
more donations for Whisper and the other SAFE horses, via Paypal:
Phyllis Stroh donated $100
Jodycat donated $103
Alison Jones of Redmond WA donated $100.00
Robert Adkins donated $75 in the name of Dorothy Adkins of Marysville WA
Kyle Wohlers of Marysville WA donated $100
Ruth Okamoto of St Louis MO donated $75 in honor of Monica Bretherton
Kay Thompson of Sammamish, WA donated $50
David Williams of Puyallup, WA donated $200
E Hazelett of Buckley, WA donated $27.50
Kelley Guiney signed up to Sponsor Whisper at $10 per month
Charlotte Yarkoni of Gig Harbor WA donated $200 in Honor of Melvin & Harriett Bell
THANK YOU ONE AND ALL!!
In addition to the Paypal donations listed above, we have received over $2,600 in the mail since the Everett Herald posted the first story about Whisper. Many of the donations were accompanied by Christmas cards and notes — wishing Whisper well. This little filly has a lot of people praying for her!!
Christmas was a rough day for little Whisper. She went down around 3:30 in the afternoon, Lisa, Kier, Valerie and her husband got her up around 5:30. Then she went down again about 1:15am last night. What we are doing now is letting her stay down until her temperature falls to 98 or below, so this time she was able to stay down until 5am and then Lisa called Mike and I to have our turn at helping get her up to give Valerie and her husband a break. Unfortunately, Kier, Lisa, Mike and I got her in the sling and got her up but she dangled there and even when we got her feet under her would not stand, so we let her back down and called Geri and Doug to come and help. While we were waiting for them Whisper at least got herself into a sternal position and ate some of her mash before getting tired and lying flat again. With the extra help, we were able to first get her back to a sternal position, then lift her again and this time, thank goodness, she finally put her feet down and lifted herself to a standing position.
The sling is incredibly helpful but does have its drawbacks. For one it cannot be left on her so it has to be positioned underneath her first which is no small effort to get it out of the way of her front legs and not rubbing anywhere. Second, it has no hind end support so much of that has to be done by people. Thirdly, because she is lying flat when she is lifted she ends up being sideways (as you can see from the picture) and you have to physically try to position her vertical to get her feet under her and she will not help you at all. Lastly, it is not mounted high enough so even all the way up, she is only about 3 feet off the ground so while we can get her feet positioned underneath her, she has to not only bear weight but do a bit of lifting her own body weight that last little bit to get herself standing.
We have now used the sling 5 or 6 times and are getting the hang of it, but we are beginning to think she needs to be in a sling all the time, or get a different type that can stay on her so we can simply strap to it every time she is down.
And to top it all off, Mike and I got stuck in Lisa’s driveway so at 7am we tried digging him out, then Kier tried to pull him out and almost got stuck herself, and finally Doug had to pull him out with his truck that has chains on.
Dr Hannah and Dr Brad dug out again today to come and see Whisper. She was doing pretty well this afternoon and even went for a walk around the snowy paddock. Whisper loves to rub her face in the snow! Very cute until she decided she wanted to lay down and roll.….Dr Hannah reacted quickly and kept her from going down (that would be hard to get her up in the snowy, slick paddock) Needless to say that was the end of her walk for today and she went back in her stall. Dr Brad worked on some adjustments to the hoist and we discussed some changes that might make things a bit easier, but will require someone coming and moving the beam up a few feet. Kier has gone home to get some rest and tonight Jaime will be spending the night to help out and relieve me for a few hours of sleep.
Thanks for everyone’s help and concern for Whisper — she really is a sweet girl and deserves a good, happy, safe future. I truly hope this woman can be prosecuted for what she has done to Whisper and the three other horses. It is absolutely unbelievable to me that someone could allow an animal to get into this condition.
It is great to see the horse community come together for Whisper and fight for her! Thanks!
It is now 5am.….We found Whisper down at about 2:00am and her body temp was dropping again. Called Dr Hannah (who I think was thrilled to hear from us again ) She jumped in her truck and was here pretty quickly. It was time to try out the newly installed hoist system. Whisper was not bothered at all by the commotion of getting the sling under her body, the noise of the electric hoist and even seemed fairly calm as she was being lifted. Once she was to her feet she immediately began eating again. I took a few pictures with a cell phone and will post those later. It really was quite a sight.…the hoist worked great and Whisper is up again. Thankfully this can be done with 2–3 people instead of the 8 or 9 people it takes to lift her manually. Hopefully she will start to gain some strength soon and will be able to get up on her own.
Well, we found Whisper down again at about 8:00am — her temp was dropping and she was shivering. Poor girl — she had only been up about 4 hours since the last time. So (again) we called Dr Hannah to come out. In the meantime Kier had to go to work — so Valerie came and stayed with me and Whisper. My husband and Valerie got the sling in place before Hannah got here and we were all ready. This time Whisper was not putting any weight on her hind end and was just “hanging” being supported by the sling (and Hannah and Valerie) It took a bit more work this time to get her up, but once she was up she was ready to eat and acting much better. The sling is incredibly helpful — but still a bit unnerving to me, especially if she is scampering when trying to get to her feet and get balanced. Dr Hannah will be back in the late afternoon to give Whisper her next injection. In the meantime it is every couple hours to check on her and make sure she has plenty of food and water in front of her. We are hoping to get her out for a brief walk later today — she needs to build up her muscles. (If only the weather would cooperate)
Lisa I am so incredibly frustrated that I am stranded today and unable to help thanks to my truck breaking down. As soon as Mike comes home with our only snow-friendly vehicle I can come and help. Thank you so much to you, Kier, Valerie, Hannah, and everyone else that has been pulling “night duty” and dropping everything to come and help Whisper. I know we have all come to love that little filly and her incredible spirit and want nothing more for her to recover. I have had at least 4 people now that want to adopt her, but all I can tell them is that its going to be a while before Whisper is ready for a new home. But do tell her that she has a HUGE fan base and hundreds of people are rooting for her (my phone has been ringing off the hook for days now) and willing her to pull through this.
Here are the photos Lisa took of Whisper being lifted by the sling:
This particular sling is not designed to stay on them. It is rubber and will rub and irritate her. Also, we didn’t think we needed that kind because she is fine when she is up, able to walk and bear her own weight just fine — the issue is she gets tired, lays down, and then is too weak to get herself up. We actually want her to be able to lay down for short periods so she can get the REM sleep she needs, but not for hours and not when her body temperature starts dropping to dangerous levels.
Whisper just got some more of her mash buffet style. If she is not pawing at her bowl to knock it over, she is swirling her nose around in it.…you know just incase we didn’t mix it well enough. She was very good for her IV antibiotics and seems very bright eyed, awake, and as energetic as she can be considering her situation. I was sure to tell her of her fanbase and let her know everyone is pulling for her this xmas eve. She sends her xmas wished to you all with a big thank you!
Whisper is doing well today.…..She hasn’t been down since early yesterday morning, which is very encouraging. (Of course as Murphy’s Law tells us — she won’t go down again now that we have this incredible hoist system in the barn) She continues to eat like crazy and is always happy to see us come into the barn. We are very grateful for the help getting this hoist system in place for Whisper, what an amazing group of horse people that have really come together to make this all possible. Dr Hannah will be here in an hour or so to check in on Whisper and give her antibiotic injection for the day. We will keep you all posted on her progress.
Here are some notes that Dr Hannah emailed me yesterday after Whisper’s bloodwork.
Whisper’s blood work showed that she is well hydrated, her kidney and liver function is normal, her muscle enzymes are slightly elevated (this is expected based on what she’s gone through and so not of concern at this level), she is mildly anemic (in her last blood work her HCT was in the normal range, likely has gone down with better hydration, we have started her on ulcer meds and the anemia is mild, so not too concerned. Her white blood cell level is overall low, (was within the normal range on last blood work), with low lymphocytes and low neutrophils. This combined with her fevers tells me she is fighting off an infection, so I’m glad we have her on the antibiotics now. It may take a few days to see some changes, she’s not quite over the hump yet. When her fevers stop and her white blood cell values start to go up, we can take a deep breath… Her glucose levels were within the normal range, but at the low end, so she may be dropping below normal during her episodes of weakness. Giving her the molasses then will be a helpful blood sugar boost when we (or you…) try to get her up. I saw on the board a few people posted about oil- I do think that is a good idea, and she is now to the point where we can start adding those things in- we need to make the changes slowly because we’ve already been increasing/adding beet pulp, senior, alfalfa pellets, etc. Lets add a tablespoon to each of her mashes and slowly work up to 1 cup per day over the next week. Thanks for all of your hard work!!
The Herald posted an update today:
At this point we have rented a sling from Mount Vernon Animal Hospital. An electric hoist, after trying in vain to find one to rent, was purchased by a friend of Geri Vincent’s of Equine Aid and loaned to us to use, which is incredibly generous of him. As we speak, Geri’s husband and the friend who purchased the hoist are working on figuring out a way to install it overhead.
In other news, the pipes have finally given way at the farm and we had to shut our water off until we can get a plumber out to fix it. We did get the horses watered (we had some water, but very low pressure) so they are good for 24 hours or so. Also, please send your condolences to Geri today as she lost one of her long-time equine friends today, who had a seizure today for unknown causes and died. It’s been a tough day all around, but like Whisper, we will perservere!
Lisa and I just came in from staying with Whisper while the sling system went up in her stall…She seems to know everyone is reaching out to help her. Even with all the hammering, wood cutting, ladders, etc in her stall she patiently stood with me in a corner and took the opportunity to rest her head a moment. Dr. Hannah and Dr. Brad are on their way to administer some IV antibiotics and look over the pully system.…its going to be another long night though I am happy to report Lisa and I both managed a 2.5 hour nap today. We feel optimistic with the added system to lift her in place…and Whisper seems to be content nickering each time she gets her warm mash…Keep Jingling and thank everyone for their support!
From Geri Vincent, Equine Aid:
The folks who purchased the winch are Val and Scott Wonhoff. The winch and support beam were installed by Scott, Jim Dobbin and Doug.
A big thank you goes to Nicole and Trinity who spent most of the day Monday driving up to Mount Vernon to pick up the sling and get it to Monroe.
My admiration and gratitude to the women doing the cold, constant visits to the barn to check on Whisper and feed her warm mush and water: Lisa, Kier and Jaime.
A few more names for you, coconut!
Whisper stayed up overnight but has been down twice this morning, and the last time her heart rate was up and she was breathing hard, but they got her up after one failed attempt where she was up and then fell down again. Her temp went up to 102 overnight and has been hovering around 101 so she’s definately fighting something. Keep jingling, please.
What a long night! Kier and I started out the night going out every hour.…..then we cut back to every two hours because Whisper was doing great. We were in the barn at 4:30 and she was up and eating, nickered at us and was generally looking good, so we came in the house and set the alarm for 7:00am (we figured 2 1/2 hours she would be fine).….…I woke up at 6:45 and just felt like something was wrong — we went straight to the barn and poor Whisper was down, shivering and grunting. Started making calls to get people to help get her up (oddly friends aren’t as excited to hear from you at that early time on a Sunday morning when no one has slept much at all due to the extreme weather conditions) Thank goodness for Valerie and Rita, Doug and Geri and their neighbors — they all came right away and it took some time but Whisper is back up and eating again. In the meantime Dr Hannah and Dr Brad got up and slowly made their way here. Quite an adventure — sounds like the roads aren’t very good! Dr Hannah drew some blood and they headed off to the clinic. We are waiting to hear those results. We started Whisper on Ranitidine three times per day and we are continuing the every two hour feeding of warm mash and warm fresh water. Will post more after we hear back from Hannah. Hopefully Kier and I will get naps today! Keep Jingling for Whisper!
Lisa and I got a quick meal in thanks to Jim and we are prepping for what’s expected to be another cold and snowy evening. Whisper’s happy to be getting her warm mash and even nickered at us last time we came down to the barn (an hour ago). Her temperature is at 101.8 and I continue to check regularly…her temperment and attitude are great. We are waiting on lab results from Dr. Hannah and then Lisa and I will post again. Keep Jingling!
Our window of opportunity to move Whisper even if Pilchuck’s heaters were fixed is closed for a little while, but she is actually on IV antibiotics, and our vet is able to get out to where she is at least once a day. We took bloodwork today and she is not dehydrated, just a little anemic, her blood sugar was a bit low so we are mixing in some applesauce and/or molasses in her mash to give her a boost, and her white blood cell count was up which we expected given the fever.
We did finally get an offer for a heated enclosed barn on Fales Road (Hilltop Farm) but at this point the roads are too bad and her needs too intense to want to move her again until the weather clears. They were able to get their barn up to around 40 degrees which is significantly warmer outside so all in all she is doing as well as can be expected, I think.
Whisper went down again and I was making phone calls at 11pm tonight. We got her up again, once again she perked up but I am pretty depressed that she went down again so quickly. It’s going to be a long, cold night.
She managed to stay up all night. Thank goodness. She’s perky and eating this morning despite the icicles on her chin.
We’ve put a call out to the media for a heated barn for her to go to through the storm.
If nothing comes up, we are taking her to Pilchuck for the next 1–2 days, and putting her in their heated surgical unit. It will be expensive, but at this point I do not know if she will make it otherwise.
I have good news and bad news. The bad news is, we were all ready to take her to Pilchuck but then found out their heaters are broken — so their barn wasn’t going to be much warmer. We decided to haul her to Lisa’s (clearlybluebreeze), where she can at least close her barn up and get some heaters going and hopefully keep it above (or even close to) freezing. It’s better than here. She loaded and unloaded great and had some perk to her step walking to her new temporary home so hopefully she will hang in there. She’s sure a tough little girl!
Just checked in on our girl — she’s been down once and had to be lifted up and she continues to run a low-grade fever, so we’ve started her on antibiotics. She has a third blanket on, and with the heater in the barn they have the temperature up to around 40 degrees, so that’s so much better than here. She’s getting a warm mash every two hours, and is getting hot water brought out to her every two hours, and she is drinking and doing well. Keep jingling for her!
We have been checking on Whisper every hour and making sure her water is warm, she has plenty of hay, etc. Every two hours she gets a bowl of hot mash and lots of lovin’ and reassurance that she will be just fine. She seems pretty unaffected by the wind — she is warm and toasty. My fear now is that we might get blown away in this wind on one of our many trips to the barn! This weather is INSANE! Will keep you all posted through the night.…Keep jingling for this little one.…..she isn’t out of the woods yet.
SAFE has received the following donations earmarked for the care of Whisper:
$100 from Dana Lim of Marysville WA
$200 from Dede Renne of Kirkland WA
$50 from Drue and William Coats of Bothell WA
$400.00 from Djer Embacher of Marysville WA!!!!!
THANK YOU to all of you for reaching out to help this filly!!
Whisper gave me a big scare this morning. She was down when I went out to feed this morning and appeared to have been down for a while. Her temp was 97.2. I tried to get her up but she wouldn’t budge, her gum color was poor, and she appeared to be checked out…dying. I started making phone calls — Hannah and Brad were snowed in and trying to dig their car out of their mile-long driveway (literally). Lisa was able to dig up Valerie, and Daphne and her friend Jesse, and Kier and Kendra who work at Dr Brad Evergreen’s clinic to come out and help. I called Pilchuck and they sent Dr. Miller out, and also the animal control officer from the city of Snohomish that was involved in Whisper’s case came out with another officer. With all of us, plus a reporter from the Everett Herald who happened to come out this morning to do a story on Whisper that then stayed and helped, we literally lifted Whisper to her feet and held her up until she decided to stand on her own. By this time her temp had dropped to a very alarming 95.5. But once she was up, she immediately perked up again. She wanted food and Valerie got her a hot grain mash which she started eating voraciously. Within minutes her temp was reading at 97.7 and rising. and the rest of her vitals were good.
For now, she is ok, but we are very, very worried about keeping her warm with the coming storm. My stalls are not wind-proof, unfortunately, and they are expecting up to 90 mph wind and where I am at is notorious for very very strong winds. We nailed some pieces of plywood to the front of her stall. What we really need is a place for her in a heated, enclosed barn. I don’t know if any even exist around here, but if we could find one, that would help. We are also on the hunt for a bucket heater or two — every place in Monroe is sold out of them. If anyone has an extra they are willing to lend, and can get it here, please let me know.
In the meantime, please continue to jingle for Whisper. She’s really struggling.
Thanks everyone for the thoughts on Whisper. Hannah finally made it out today after digging herself out of her driveway and checked her out, she is back to having a low-grade fever at 101.4. I actually would rather have her too hot than too cold…but she’s taking blood tomorrow to see if she has something viral or bacterial. We also talked about how when Whisper was down her eyes were doing this weird flickering back and forth thing while they were open — I forget what Hannah said the technical name for that it is — but it is an indicator that she was very near death, its a sign of late-stage hypothermia. Thank goodness we got her up when we did, and its amazing how fast she recovered once she was up.
She’s not supposed to be on any concentrates yet, as remember we are still treating her like a starved horse. However she’s close enough to the two week mark that we are going to start making her small mashes with senior feed and not just alfalfa pellets (which she has been getting several times a day in addition to grass hay). While its hard not to want to throw a lot of high carb/protein feed at her, we do still have to be careful not to shock her system.
The fleece shipping boots would probably be overkill over the standing bandages and we don’t want to make it harder on her to get herself back up if she does go down. We tried putting a hood on her as I had a few of those but they just didn’t fit right and when she put her head down would fall down on her face so she couldn’t see (she didn’t like that at all), so we had to give up on that idea. We did board up the front of the stall and we have some other ideas for keeping the stall warm when the storm hits tomorrow. One thing I am hoping is that she does seem to know that she can’t get herself up when she lays down so she avoids it — so I am hoping that she will be up for at least a few days and through the storm this weekend. I think she stays up as long as she can until she just gets too tired.
I’ll look into the Thermacare wraps as well, good idea if they are safe we might try them.
Our little girl definitely has some opinions about things. She would like her food NOW and she would like to get out of the stall NOW and yes I will just push you over if you are in my way. She’s really quite cute with how pushy she is…she is obviously gaining her strength back quickly and its wonderful to see.
Little Whisper had a bit of a fever today, and a little bit of snotty nose and a goopy eye. Hopefully its just a little viral thing with being in such compromised condition she is succeptible to, we will keep an eye on her and make sure it doesn’t get worse. However, she continues to be very bright and happy to see us and LOVES her food.
I wanted to clarify that I originally posted misinformation — the owner of the horses did call a vet out for Whisper but put the other three horses in the neighbor’s pasture and told the vet they were not hers when asked about them.
Yesterday Laura brought Whisper a beautiful new heavyweight Weatherbeata blanket for Whisper. Last night when Hannah was out to check in on her, we took off the canvas blanket and the blanket Hannah had loaned her and put the new blanket on over her pretty plaid blanket (also donated by Laura). We didn’t do up the leg straps on the top blanket because the bottom blanket hung a little lower and I really didn’t think she needed them as she wasn’t lying down (or at least I didn’t think she was). Imagine my surprise when she greeted me as usual with her head over the stall door with a whinny this morning, but wearing only her bottom blanket. Her brand new blankie was in a neat pile in the middle of the stall. It was completely intact and unharmed, belly straps and chest buckles still in place. She also appears completely fine. I was able to get it back on her and this time put the leg straps on, so hopefully this will be the last of the Houdini tricks.
I am sad to think of her struggling to get out of it, but also VERY encouraged by the fact that she obviously was down and was strong enough to get herself out of the blanket and back up again! I think she’s doing well!
Dr. Hannah was here this morning to check again on Whisper. Her temp was 98 degrees so she is still staying warm, but we added a 3rd blanket on her because it is just so cold out there, and very windy as well. We put some ointment on her wounds, and we really wanted to get some of the caked mud matts off of her because some of them are pulling loose and taking the hair with them causing some of the hair loss, but they won’t come off without water (too cold) or clippers (we tried to take some of the matts off around the wounds, but that wasn’t working too well either).
Anyway, while her blankets were off I took some more photos.
You can see how stocked up her legs have gotten even with the standing bandages:
Whisper was rescued a week ago by Snohomish City Animal Control. Whisper was being kept in the backyard of a Snohomish city resident along with 3 other horses and severely neglected. Apparantly, Whisper went down and couldn’t get up, and she called Pilchuck out. They found Whisper on her back in a trough she had dug for herself, feet in the air. She was severely emaciated and dehydrated and the vet administered an IV and told her to blanket the filly. The owner contrived a blanket out of a sleeping bag and a shower curtain, tied on with baling twine. The owner had put the other three horses in an neighboring pasture and told the vet they were not hers when asked. The next day, a neighbor saw that one of the other horses (a half sister to Whisper) was dead and contacted Animal Control and the police, and when they arrived on the scene, Whisper was nearly dead. Laura Clarke, msclarkee here on the bulletin board, is also a Snohomish City police officer. The city Animal Control, since they had no place to put a horse, contacted Laura knowing she had horses and has worked with horse rescues, and asked her to take the horses, and Laura obliged. A vet was called for the filly and the city, worried about the expenses of caring for these horses with no budget to do so, reached out to the media for help. But what these horses really needed, were a place to go, a rescue group. And Laura called the rescue groups, and the response she got was the same — all full. That was true even for SAFE, we simply did not have room for the horses, not even Whisper.
As Whisper was near death at the time of her rescue, and had to be lifted into the trailer, she continued to struggle after her rescue. She was having trouble maintaining her body temperature, and having trouble getting to her feet after lying down. She has several large pressure sores on her body from being down and struggling, including one on her left stifle that is very large and swollen. She’s got very bad mud fever and her legs are very swollen. She has several areas where her skin has been rubbed raw — including on her face from what must have been a halter. She supposedly around 2 years old, but she’s very small — about the size of a yearling. Her body condition score is about a 1.5, so she is heartbreakingly thin. But her appetite is good, and she’s bright, alert and interested in her surroundings, and she seems to have a strong spirit.
Eventually however, Whisper’s care needs were taking the toll on Laura and her husband, who work long hours in addition to caring for their own farm, horses, and boarding business. When Whisper began lying down and having trouble getting to her feet, requiring as many as 7 people to get her up, she quickly felt overwhelmed at the care requirements of such a compromised filly, and she reached out to us and Dr. Hannah for help again, and offered a solution to our space problem by offering to take one of our horses (she is currently fostering Summer), so that Whisper could come here.
Whisper’s currently bundled up under two blankets and heat lamps to try and keep her warm. She’s doing well, so far, but her condition is still very guarded, as she is still very weak. Because of the extreme cold, I will not be taking photos without blankets on until it warms up a bit.
Here is a link to a video that aired on KOMO about the story:
Here are some photos that Laura provided me from her first week after rescue: