Complete transformation for emaciated Wonder horse

Aug 8, 2019

Wonder the horse is living up to his name.

The young horse was taken in by Don’t Forget Us, Pet Us animal sanctuary in North Dartmouth in May after being rescued from a kill pen in Louisiana along with 18 other horses four of which died due to alleged neglect.

He arrived emaciated and scarred, and was nervous around people and other animals to the point where sanctuary owner Deb Devlin invited young kids to come read to him in a bid to soothe his nerves.

But after nearly three months in Dartmouth, the young horse has made quite a turnaround.

He has rapidly gained weight although a few ribs are still visible and injuries to his back are healed over, with hair growing to hide the scars.

“He’s definitely doing a lot better,” said Devlin. “He just needs to keep gaining weight.”

And he is clearly at ease in his surroundings, making friends with the sanctuary’s other horses and happily chomping on hay while barefoot trimmer Julie Nightlinger — a hoof trimmer specializing in unshod horses — grabbed his feet to file down his hooves, still a bit brittle from previous malnutrition.

“We continue to try to handle him,” said Devlin, giving him a friendly scratch and a handful of hay.

According to Devlin, Wonder even has a girlfriend, a gray horse named Luna. 

“He loves her,” said Devlin. “He pretty much just stays pretty quiet, and he hangs out with her.”

When he first arrived, Nightlinger came to fix up his hooves every couple of days. 

“Julie was amazing,” Devlin said. “She would start with running her hands down [his leg], then she would pick it up just for a second...She did such a good job with him. Now he’s just very relaxed about it.”

Devlin said that she hopes to eventually teach him to work under saddle, because he’s still a young horse only just over five years old and will soon be back to full health.

“He could go out and be somebody’s personal horse,” she said, turning to address Wonder directly. “Because there’s no need for you to sit here at the sanctuary for the rest of your life when there’s nothing wrong with you.”