This is a picture of Pudge’s front feet, or more accurately, a picture of the boots that encase said feet. Pudge is a dwarf miniature horse and he has front limb deformities as is tragically typical of horses with his condition. If Pudge had been given proper, albeit extraordinary, care when he was born, he would be looking at a dramatically different future. That wasn’t even close to what happened for Pudge. It took a law-enforced rescue action when he was about seven months old to change that trajectory and, from that, he became a part of our tribe. Today he calls my sister, Kim, his momma and that makes Pudge a very lucky boy.
Sadly, so sadly, though, no amount of luck would allow us to rewind time and fix what is broken. Instead, we are a finger in the dike: We watch for “leaks” and devise ways to stop or at least slow down what is not right. We jerry-rig and invent and experiment. We borrow ideas and make things work and, if that fails, we try something different. We never stop trying and because of that, Pudge is doing so very well right now. We have figured out how to hold him upright enough that he can walk on his hooves almost normally and every day we can do that benefits the joints impacted by his abnormal gait.
I tell this story to keep me honest, to not forget the reality of what lurks beneath all our quirky efforts to fix a deformed little pony: We cannot now nor will we ever be able to make the difference we would wish for Pudge. Oh, but the Pudge who came to us, unhandled and so extremely fearful of humans, and the Pudge today, lifting each foot to be wrapped and padded and booted, all while nuzzling your face with the horse equivalent of kisses! That is from doing the one thing available to us — sticking a finger in the dike. I hope you see that it matters.
If you want to experience Pudge in all his adventuresome cuteness, you can follow him on his Facebook page “Pudge the dwarf mini horse and friends”.