On May 15th, 2013, Selah Ranch All Animal Rescue in Virginia took in the now-famous, "Hero" the calf, who lost both rear hooves to frostbite. Today, the rescue reports he is suffering in pain, injuring himself while eating, and is at risk of being humanely euthanized if he cannot get to Texas to see specialists.
Hero's journey began when he made national news in May (see link here). Only a month or two old, Hero was auctioned of with his mother, and after a long, hard freeze in mid-April, his mother abandoned him in a field where frostbite caused him to loose his back hooves.
That is when Kitty Martin of Selah Ranch stepped in. She states,
I made a deal with God that if He made a way to provide and feed these animals, I would take any animal that I could.
Hero's plight went viral, and his story was covered by local and national media alike (see links here and here). After massive efforts, Selah Ranch raised $7,000 to pay for his treatments, and Glenn Easton, the President and founder of Limbcare Orthotics & Prosthetics, crafted custom prosthetic limbs allowing Hero to finally walk again. Videos can be seen here, here, and here of Hero talking his first steps towards a new life with his prosthetic replacement limbs.
But, all of that progress is at risk.
Because one of the stumps reportedly is just skin covering the bone, the skin keps ripping and tearing open causing Hero great stress. He would try to walk with open sores and painful stumps, but Kitty knew he needed updated prosthetic limbs after repeatedly watching him fall over and suffer from trying walk through the pain.
Glenn fashioned a better set in mid-September but, in a tragic turn of events, they were lost in the mail. All Kitty can do is watch while he suffers, saying,
You can see the pain in his eyes. It’s killing me.
When given the option of either humanely euthanizing her beloved Hero, the famous calf, she opted to not let Hero go down without a fight--a last ditch effort to save his life.
The College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas has viewed images and videos of Hero's stumps and movements, and surgeons and specialists have full confidence he can be helped. It will take a surgery to shorten and strengthen his back legs, but it will cost $3,000 to transport him from Virginia to Texas safely and to pay for the medical care.
[Hero] wants to live. You can see it. If he didn’t want to live, he wouldn’t get up or want to eat. He’s healthy, except for his feet... He jumps up to meet me. I wouldn’t let him suffer for selfish reasons. I would have put him down by now if I didn’t believe he wants to live.
Selah Ranch rescues all walks of life and is a Christian-based organization. Many have heard of Selah Ranch because of Phoenix's story (read here, here, and final update here), but group is struggling to maintain. They are funded entirely on public donations; Kitty reassures even a few dollars towards Hero's fund will help. Additionally, they have a Walmart Wish List where supporters can help in ways such as donating cat food, dog crates, and horse feed. You may donate and send pet food and much needed items directly to the ranch by clicking here.
Hero's future is uncertain. But, if Selah Ranch has anything to say about it, they will fight hard to make sure the scales tip in their favor.
If only love and dedication were enough, Hero would already be running around the ranch without a care in the world.
To donate to Hero's Texas A&M University surgery, click here.
To send much needed items to the ranch via Walmart.com, click here.
To follow Selah Ranch on Facebook, click here.
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The author, April Plemons, is an animal rescuer and welfare advocate. She is part of Long Way Home Animal Sanctuary & Pit Bull Rescue. Check out their Facebook page below!