For over 35 years Pixie Projects, a 501c3 Nonprofit Organization in Clovis CA, has opened its doors to care for hundreds of very special animals. Most had been maimed and injured so badly they were left permanently scarred and disfigured and others had been abused so severely they were left permanently disabled. These are extreme cases, so be forewarned that some visitors may find photos on the Pixie Project web site to be disturbing.
Pixie’s life has been one of great tragedy and overwhelming inspiration as she has faced some of life’s greatest trials and tribulations, and found the courage and determination to survive and live on her terms.
It has been over ten years since a little three-legged palomino pony mare hopped out of the back of a stock trailer and into a new life, but it has been an incredible inspiring journey, not only for her, but for her new family.
Left to suffer and care for herself after her right hind leg was torn off as a baby, Pixie somehow managed to survive on her own in a mountain pasture for several years before she was rescued.
Not only had she dragged herself along to find food and water, but she had endured the attacks of the band of horses she was left with. With her little stub dangling she would stand and fight and then hobble away as they ran her down. But, there was more. At not quite three years old, Pixie was also in foal to a full sized stallion when she arrived at her new forever home.
Over the next several months, she grew huge as everyone awaited the birth of her foal, and hopped for the best. But tragedy struck again when the full sized filly she was carrying died during birth and Pixie was left fighting for her life.
As the days passed and Pixie got better her family knew she had to have a prosthesis if she was to survive, but there were also more problems as her x-rays showed a sharp broken bone in her stub that need corrective surgery.
Thanks to the generosity of KMJ Radio in Fresno, California, and so many of their listeners, Pixie was going to have her chance. She was loaded in a trailer on a cold November morning and traveled to a clinic in Southern California, (over 13 hours in the trailer standing up, sweating, and pawing through a horrendous wind storm), that specializes in these kinds of procedures.
Once there, the veterinarian who was to work on her decided not to do the operation. Instead, she was loaded with pain killers and fitted with a heavy cast, (that she had to drag around), while her stub was burned with a caustic powder. It was left wrapped for days, (and not checked), while her owners were told she was just fine and that they were only waiting for a donated prosthesis before they sent her home. However Pixie was in real trouble and getting worse every day.
Then her owners received a call telling them what had really happened. They had experimented on her. Everything the clinic was told not to do, they had done. Pixie was being sent home to die and there were thousands of dollars in additional vet bills owed for a problem they caused. (The pre-arranged cost of her procedure and stay had been paid in full by check when she arrived).
Grief stricken, her owners wanted to save her. Pixie had already suffered so much and never given up, and she wanted to live. Her regular, (local), vet also wanted to give her the chance she had earned. So she did Pixie’s surgery, (actually another amputation), on a blowup mattress in the back yard of her veterinary clinic.
Pixie came home right after the operation and stood on three legs for days fighting while her stub was kept wrapped and treated. Once it healed, she had to have a leg if she was to survive. With nowhere to turn her owners fitted her with a homemade prosthesis, and off she went. But, it is never easy, as Pixie always does things HER way, and there are always complications and adjustments to be made with a prosthesis, as well as an occasional pressure sore.
Her prosthesis has evolved and changed greatly over the years and now she has one (made from parts bought on EBay, Lowe’s, and Orchard Supply) that allows her to bend her leg at the hock and walk more normal. (This has to be done to keep her joints from stiffening and her leg from atrophying).
Pixie loves her life. More then anything she just wants to be like all the other horses and bosses them around every chance she gets. She is sometimes referred to as “Little miss you are not the boss of me”. She goes to bed at night and her leg is removed and put back on in the morning when she gets up. She gives big kisses and visits with special needs individuals and groups such a 4-H. If she gets tired during the day she sits on the couch in her stall. She loves shavings, and is a world class tail rubber, and sometimes dirt eater.
Pixie Projects has a number of other animals like Pixie. They would love to network and share information about the special needs animals they care for with others.
To see more pictures and updates, and to contact Pixie Projects, please visit http://www.pixiepony.com.