Suppose you were the pony who had to stay behind. Your people have to leave. There's a storm coming. But you'll be okay...won't you? Who's this Katrina everyone's talking about and why is she headed toward Louisiana? The wind blew and blew. And then it was quiet. Weeks went by, and still the pony waited for someone to find her.
Finally, neighbors called a feedstore and asked if someone could get some food to the pony.
So begins the true story of a plucky little pony who is rescued after Hurricane Katrina and finds a new life on Kaye Harris's rescue farm with lots of new animal friends who were also rescued after the storm.
I first "met" Molly the Pony while profiling her for a story in EQUUS. I talked to her owner. I talked to her vet. I talked to her surgeon, Dr. Rustin Moore at Louisiana State University's vet school. It was Dr. Moore who convinced me this was no ordinary pony.
When a dog on the rescue farm attacked Molly, her throat was ripped, all four legs were wounded, and her intestines were exposed in a belly wound. Her front leg was especially badly injured. Her vet, Dr. Allison Barca, described it to me as "raw meat, chewed to the bone".
Dr. Moore thought he had seen it all in the weeks after Katrina. LSU staff and students had created a command center for animal triage, working day and night on horses and dogs and every imaginable form of livestock and pet. A pony with no known owner to pay the bills? A homeless pony with an infected leg wound? Should he perform a high-risk amputation procedure? The chances of a happy ending to Molly's story were slim to none, and the risks for the vet school were high.
That was before Dr. Moore met Molly. After observing her behavior and personality, he changed his mind.
With Dr. Moore's help, Molly's right front leg is removed below the knee. Soon fitted with a prosthetic limb, Molly relearns how to walk and embarks again on a new mission in life: making new people friends.
As the jacket blurb promises: All who have had to start over after displacement, abandonment, injury, or amputation will find a friend in Molly as they follow her story of bringing a smile to everyone she meets.
And it's all true!
Over the years, I have "profiled" a lot of horses, from famous racehorses to champion show jumpers and almost every other kind of horse. I can't remember a horse being described in such glowing terms by so many people as Molly the pony in New Orleans. "She's just so special," people kept telling me wherever I went.
And I have to agree. Read this book and you will too. Along the way, you will learn about the hurricane, about pet rescue, about equine amputation and artificial limbs and hooves. But mostly you'll learn a lot about spirit and courage and attitude.
This book would make a great gift, horse show prize, silent auction donation, or library addition. You'll never forget Molly or the human heroes who help her!
Please order Molly the Pony by Pam Kaster from your local independently-owned bookstore. Its ISBN code number is978-0-8071-3320-0. The publisher is Louisiana State University Press. The cost is $15.95.
Click here to go directly to a page about ordering this book.
About the Author: Pam Kaster is the author of Zydeco Goes to Horse Camp. She is an editor of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association newsletter, and a member of Equine Photographers Network. A former manager of a riding program for disabled riders, she has been a Red Cross disaster-preparedness volunteer for twenty years and managed a Red Cross shelter during Hurricane Katrina. She lives in Zachary, Louisiana, with her husband, three horses, three dogs, and a cat.
Molly's new career includes visits to hospitals and group homes. She's busy making new friends and teaching people about the power of a second chance at life! (Louisiana Equine Council photo)