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In Memory of Early Surprise

Early Surprise in 2006, a little more than a year after his arrival with Star and Troy.

Over the years, many animals have come into our refuge. Each one has taught us a lot about themselves and each has become family members to our staff. Many are older animals owned by some individual who didnít give them the best care, some were badly abused, too often some are near death when we are asked to take them in. Sometimes even those who are younger develop unforeseen problems that take them from us long before we expected to have to say goodbye.

Some of our animals in Popcorn Park come to us because their ownerís lives have changed and their pets need our help. Such was the case in May 2005 when an elderly couple called and asked if we could provide a home for their three miniature horses. The couple were no longer able to care for their farm or their pets so we agreed to make room for Star, Troy, and Early Surprise. (Read the full story here.)

At six, Early was the youngest and was a quite handsome pinto gelding. He was always the first of the trio to come to the fence to get popcorn from our visitors and if you didnít have your popcorn ready fast enough he would kick the fence rail to hurry you. He enjoyed the attention and the children enjoyed seeing him. About a year ago, Early had an acute episode of laminitis, a painful inflammation inside the hooves, and rhabdomyolyis which is a deterioration and destruction of skeletal muscles. Despite running a battery of diagnostic tests, we were unable to determine the cause of these inflammatory conditions. He was treated aggressively for pain and was given corrective shoeing to further help him remain comfortable.

Early's most recent photo taken for his sponsors on the Wildlife Club.

Unfortunately, while we gave him much relief, nothing could be done to stop or slow the progress of the laminitis. As weeks went by it became apparent that we could no longer keep him pain free. We would not allow our dear friend to suffer, so the decision was made to humanely euthanize him.

Many tears are shed behind the scenes at Popcorn Park when we lose any of our animals to old age or illness. But we always know that we have done everything we could to give them peaceful, comfortable lives during the time they live in our refuge. We love them like we love our own pets and we mourn them when they leave us. We never forget them.

Thank you for helping us save so many animals at Popcorn Park and provide them with peaceful and comfortable homes here as long as they live. We couldnít do it without you.


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