Even Green Acres had a County Extension Agent, but Hardin County Texas has none.
After three days of Pete in the hospital, we came home Wednesday evening (Aug 1st) to find that Precious, our four year old horse was sick. Would not eat Wed night. Had drank almost no water Tuesday on one of the hottest days of the year, and was extremely wobbly.
Her eyes however still looked focused. So after consulting with other horse people we were hoping it was heat exhaustion. She had been in a covered stall, with plenty of fresh water. Bug moved her to an open pen. Tried to entice her to eat feed or hay. Offered her water. No luck.
By morning, she was down. Laying flat out on her side and then sitting up. Often trying valiantly to stand. Then laying flat again. We held her head up and offered her clean, cool water. Rubbed it all over her muzzle. No dice. Grinding her teeth.
Immediately we began trying to find help for her. First the local vet at Silsbee Animal Clinic. We were told he was out until Monday. The woman who answered knew nothing. He has/had a woman who knew almost as much as him, but this wasn't her.
Then we tried Buna Animal Hospital. Their doctor was out, but the woman there tried to give us information. Sounded like West Nile or Equine Encephalitis to her. Not much could be done if they had it. Due to the distance, it would cost $140 to confirm that was what it was. Forty-seven dollars a piece to vaccinate the other two.
Single income household, a man who just got out of the hospital....no way that was happening.
So we called the Hardin County Extension Agent's office....only to find there is currently no agent?!?! And no offer as to where to turn for help.
Then we tried the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. Not their thing either. No idea who's thing it was. But since Hardin Co. doesn't have an agent, maybe Jefferson County will assist.
People we need to know what this is! We need to offer her the best help we can! We need to know what to do about the other two! And, Lord help us, we need someone to help us if she needs to be destroyed!!!
So, Jefferson County's Extension Agent's office is called. They can't do anything. Not their area. But they did give us a number to the Texas Animal Control office for our region in Hempstead. There a very nice man answered. Seemed truly concerned for our plight. But said he had only one vet who happened to be in Austin today! He'd try to contact him for us.
So I call up 211. All the information for your area you need they say....but nothing like this is listed in any option.
Finally the vet with Animal Control calls us back. Bless him! He concurred that's what it sounded like, but being out of the area, couldn't offer us any concrete help. But did say he'd call back and check on the situation.
I had to leave for an appointment, and Pete and Bug were left on their own to deal with this. By now Pete is so mad he could spit nails. All you hear and see on the news makes it sound like the authorities are so worried about West Nile and Encephalitis!! There was recently a human case of West Nile in Vidor, not far from here. But it is looking like they don't give a shit about the sick animal, the ones who may be at risk, or the human population. Over the years, there were hogs in this area dying...someone came and drew blood from ours, they did call back and say ours showed to be okay. Pete told them periodically we have chickens die out for no explainable reason, they said they would come back and test them...but they didn't.
So, sick and miserable as Pete was, just out of the hospital, he kept trying! He called the Humane Society of Southeast Texas. They didn't handle stuff like that. But they did give him a number to the Southeast Texas Emergency Clinic. They were closed. A woman did answer, but said they couldn't help either.
Where to turn! Precious was even worse. The sun was high in the sky. No shade. Lord help her. Help us to help. Pete and Bug manage to rig a make shift shade with a tarp over her. Pete is starting to think she'll have to be destroyed. He calls Sheriff Ed Cain's office. They will have a deputy call. Suggests you call you closest local city.
Pete calls the Silsbee Police Dept. NO! You need the city animal control. Here's the number. There you only get a message that voice mail if full.
Hardin Co. Deputy calls. Sorry, we can't do that. Hardin Co. Pct. 2 might be of help to you.
Pete tries Channel Six news. They often feature stories of folks facing a plight, a problem. They often feature the SPCA helping and intervening. Help us! Give me a number to call. The man asks him "who's horse is it?" Pete tells him, "Mine!!" He asks, "who's land is it on?" "My, damn land!!", Pete exclaims. "We can't do anything...all we do is follow the authorities out if they are called out. We don't give out numbers." Well!!
Someone suggests Sherwood Animal Clinic. There a wonderful woman would give Pete a number to call and then would soon call back with another suggestion. But no where was there a helping hand.
But by now...Precious was down...and not getting up. She was making kicking motions with her legs...and digging a hole where they were. She's having tremors and her mouth is blooded from the times she has tried valiantly to stand or sit up, up fell down hard. It was a horror! He didn't feel he had it in him to shoot her. Wasn't sure what we'd do once he had. He could borrow a backhoe, but was much too sick to operate one in this heat.
He gets through to Precinct 2. They tell him to call Dalton Morrow. He does. Dalton says he won't destroy her, but he'll have equipment there within 30 minutes to bury her if Pete has her ready.
Bug tells him she'll do it if it has to be. But he can't put her through that. He makes the decision to do it and do it himself. The woman from Sherwood gets back to him with a number to the SPCA...but as valiant as her efforts were, what use was it now?!?
He tries to make it quick and painless. I arrive back home in time to find her there dead under the tarp. A six inch deep hole dug out where her legs had kept working, trying to fight, striving to live. Pete tells me Dalton is on his way. I had barely got comfortable when he and his man were here. They got to it. He told Pete they had been called out to bury a lot of animals of late. More than either man wanted to really consider.
The vet with the Regional Animal Control was true to his word. He called back to check on the situation. We truly believe that if he hadn't been in Austin he would have tried to help us. Bless him and them Lord!
So, tell us people, when every where you turn on television it as all about helping animals....when over and over you hear stories of them putting animals ahead of people....when our society is so righteously politically correct....where was the help when you needed it?!?!?!?! Why do they keep tinkering with phone books and making them harder and harder to use?!?! Why can't you easily turn to the SPCA's number in our local phone books?! In hindsight, if we could have found a number, we should have had a friend to "call in on us". Even though our animals have food, clean fresh well water, grass, hay, brushing, love and talking to......if we were portrayed as cruel and uncaring, perhaps ?!?!?!!!!!!!
Epilogue: In the days since Precious untimely death, we found vaccines for Prissy & Stanley for $35 a piece at Silsbee Animal Clinic. Hannah & Pete scraped up the money for one, his sister Mary gave him the money for the other and they have both been vaccinated and are so far healthy, frisky and spoilt rotten as ever.
Now we wonder what danger lurks in our beloved pine forest for us. Mosquitoes are rampant here. No one sprays here. We are rural. Not a city. Not of consequence. Wonder if the US Government might care to know that West Nile is alive and well in their game preserve?
Barbara In Caneyhead