Here is the story of Wilma, our newest rescue.
For those who are new to Lost Meadows Mule Refuge, it is a division of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, which is the largest of its kind in the world. Mark Meyers is the Director of PVDR and I am the Director of LMMR. PVDR and LMMR share the same facilities and transportation equipment.
Currently, both organizations are on lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic for the safety of our employees and our community. But a case recently was submitted to LMMR that I couldn’t turn away. Initially my request for use of a trailer was denied, but I told Mark we had to do this and I would find a way with or without using a company trailer.
The case I received came from a neighbor in West Texas who was worried about the mule next door. They described the mule as thin, and always standing at the fence looking for passerby to hand them some grass. Based on the description of the mule's condition I was worried that he or she might not survive until we could start traveling again. When I asked the neighbor whether law enforcement was involved, I was told that multiple reports had been made and the Sheriff’s office had not addressed the problem. I was given the address where the mule was at and left San Angelo early one morning with a trailer in tow.
When we arrived, I put a mask and gloves on and knocked on the door. The owner of the mules answered. When I told them their options, they agreed to sign the mule over to LMMR. I asked them to stay in the house while we loaded the mule, and what I saw in the pasture brought tears to my eyes.
The mule was skinny and alone. She was so weak and unsteady on her feet that when we gently asked her to load, she put her two front feet into the trailer and then fell to her knees. We coaxed her back up, steadied her and drove away slowly with a direct route set to our veterinarian’s office. But 30 minutes before arriving, we saw Wilma go down in the trailer cam. We pulled over and found her unable to get back up. At that moment I had to make a decision to either put her down there or continue on. We got back in the cab and hurried her to the vet. When we arrived, the vet took one look at her body and vitals and told us she needed to be put down.
I felt like we were too late. I told myself that maybe if I had left a day or two earlier, it would have been different for Wilma.
As I had these thoughts I held her head and she leaned against me for support. I could tell that she wanted to live, but the stress of travel was too much for her frail body to hold itself up. She tried to get up once and sat up briefly before lying down again.
If she wasn’t ready to give up, then neither was I.
We drove her 15 minutes back to our facilities and with 6 people helping we were able to transition her from the bed of the trailer to a soft bed of grass. I sat beside her as she drank some water and ate a little.
I told her that if she could just find her way to her feet, I would make everything better.
Slowly the light returned to her eyes. Then, with our help and a sling, she stood up and miraculously stayed standing. We pulled some of her blood and took it in to the vet right away for testing. Then we provided palliative care and made her a pen in our quarantine barn with clean water and soft pine bedding. It has now been a week and Wilma is still standing, and life is slowly returning to her body.
I spend my evenings in her pen giving her affection, which is all she wants, even more than food.
We are waiting for the results of further testing. For now, it is too soon to share any results but we will share as soon as we have determined next steps with our vet. LMMR is already absorbing the costs of the #28MuleRescue, which is upwards of $40,000. Wilma was an unexpected but welcome addition to our rescue, and we are asking for help with her ongoing care and also the expansion of our special needs area where she will be staying.
LMMR has a comprehensive euthanasia policy and we will not allow any of our mules to suffer needlessly, but we are hoping for Wilma to make a full recovery and live her life here on our sanctuary with the rest of our special needs mules as her companions.
Thank you to anyone who can share and support Wilma’s rescue. We promise to share as many updates with you as possible.
Funds raised will be used to rehabilitate Wilma and expand our special needs field to accommodate her and other special needs mules in our care.
Website link: mulerescue.org