AALEYAH BELLE AND MAMA SUE --
click on the thumbnails below to see a larger picture.
*Photos may not be copied without
06/19/08: The girls had a good day. The weather was hot and
we had a huge storm that did damages to our neighbors run-ins and
lightening struck a tree 2 farms down and split it in half. All of
the horses were a bit nervous. The lightening and thunder were
incredible! After the storms the girls went out to play.
Chloe, a 2 yr old nurse mare filly came up to visit over the fence with
them and for awhile they just stood and stared at her like "oh my
gosh she is really big - and so pretty!"
I've had many talks with both Buttercup and Aaleyah Belle about Chloe.
I explained to Buttercup that Chloe was taken away from her mom when she
was only days old just like she was taken from her mom. And I've
explained to Chloe that Buttercup is going through the same feelings she
went through after she was taken from her mom. Chloe seemed to
understand and doesn't pin her ears at Buttercup anymore.
Chloe - a 2 yr old nurse mare filly.
She's a big girl now!
06/17/08: Little Belle and her mom are doing great! Dr.
Meeks came out to check out her stitches and see how she is doing.
Just before he went to look in her mouth she decided to stick her nose
in Momma Sue’s poop! This is so like Aaleyah – she has such a
strong personality – very vibrant and curious – a mischievous one.
Momma Sue is looking so much better Dr. Meeks didn't even recognize her!
Dr. Meeks first had to wash Aaleyah's mouth out – yuck! He was
amazed at how great her upper and lower jaws now line up. He spoke
with Dr. Cleary while he was here and they agreed that she is healing
nicely and she should keep the muzzle on for another week. The
only issue with that is then she will want to nurse Momma Sue.
Momma Sue doesn’t really want her to nurse and we have been trying to
dry her up. In two weeks, Aaleyah will be able to eat milk
replacer pellets, if she is willing.
Aaleyah loves to come up to you and stick her face into your face.
She is adorable and loves attention and she sure gets it! She was
fascinated by Dr. Meeks cell phone and tried to borrow it.
Time to be a big girl for Dr. Meeks so he can look in her mouth to see
if the stitches are healing.
But first he had to wash her mouth out - she buried her nose in her
mom's poop just minutes before!
06/14/08: What a great day it was! Aaleyah and Buttercup finally
got to play together! They had an absolute blast - they ran
around and kicked up their heels. It was so much fun to watch. We have
waited for this day for weeks. They played “Ring around Momma
Sue” and “Let’s see who can rear the highest”, and much more.
After all that playing, they were both pretty tired and took a good
nap. A storm was approaching tonight and it was so cute when we
brought them in - they were all in single file, with Buttercup at the
end of the line. Momma Sue took a left, followed by Aaleyah, to
go into their “suite” and Buttercup took a right and went into her
stall. They are all tucked in and tuckered out!
We can’t thank everyone enough for helping these babies and Momma
Sue. Their lives are well worth the price for the necessary vet
care and if you have any doubts we invite you to spend some time with
them. Taking away a life just because it is
"different" or has a medical condition that can be fixed,
and the horse can live a high quality life, isn't something this
rescue can, or will, do. God wouldn't give us the means, by help
from others, to help the horses if it weren't meant to be. To
those of you that have helped by prayer, good thoughts, donations,
raising awareness, etc. - God bless you all.
Let's play "Ring Around Momma Sue!"
06/11/08: It's been awhile since we've updated this page because
we've been busy taking care of 3 babies and 3 new arrivals - two
abandoned Paso's & a blind Appaloosa.
Aaleyah Belle is doing wonderful. She and Momma Sue stay in their
stall during most of the day but are turned out in early mornings and
late afternoons unless we're having storms. And we've had bad
storms these last few days and there are damages to the property we have
to repair / clean up.
Aaleyah had the stitches in her nose removed a few days ago and she is
healing nicely. She wears her muzzle to help deter her from
nursing or chewing on things that could potentially harm the stitches
inside of her mouth on her soft palate. Her diarrhea is gone and
she is feeling like a spunky young TB filly! She is itching to run
and play with Buttercup - and Buttercup is itching to play with her!
She saw her friend, Sand Storm (aka Golden Boy) leave for his new home
this past Sunday and she was very happy for him. He has his own
human family and a new sister that is a couple of weeks younger.
But are very happy for him!
Aaleyah is bright and enthusiastic about life.
05/30/08: The day started out a bit stressful when we learned
how much the hospital bill was but with the help caring people we were
able to make payment at the very last minute - prayers were answered.
Aaleyah and Momma Sue had quite a few people show up to see them off
from the hospital - even the local news station! They loaded onto
the trailer and seemed ready to come home. We all said our
goodbye's to hospital staff and students that were absolutely awesome.
The ride home was nice and smooth thanks to Teri and Stacy (thanks
Once we got home Momma Sue and Aaleyah were turned out for just a few
minutes into the quarantine paddock. The first thing Aaleyah did
was to run all around, jump up and play. Momma had a good roll in
Belle still has two virus' - one is transmittable to humans and both are
transmittable to foals so we have to take extra precautions. We'll
have a person assigned day and night to care for momma and baby - we
have to wear gloves and a gown and step into a solution that kills the
germs when we exit their stall. It will be this way for at least 2
weeks when the vet runs the fecal tests again.
Aaleyah gets fed milk every 2 - 3 hours. She wears her muzzle to
prevent her from trying to nurse on her mom or to chew on things - we
don't want her ripping the stitches out again in her soft palate.
Momma and Aaleyah will stay in their "suite" in the days when
it is sunny and at nights. When weather permits, they will be
turned out into the quarantine paddock.
It sure is good to have them home. Buttercup welcomed them with a
lot of whinnies. Aaleyah ran all over the place and even Momma Sue
seemed to be glad to be back. Our vet will be out next week to
check out her stitches and general healing.
How did they feel when they got back from the hospital? Just look
05/31/08: Momma Sue and Aaleyah had a good night. It
was pretty hot, even at night, in their stall so today we put 2
additional fans up for them helped a lot. They went out to the
quarantine paddock in late afternoon and had a blast. Aaleyah is
so full of energy!
We had another orphan foal arrive today. A 6 week old Palomino
colt. We were told that shortly after his birth another horse
kicked him so hard he went flying in the air and landed wrapped around a
fence post. His little body is all out of sorts. At, and
behind, his tummy one side is "pushed" out and the other side
is "pushed" in. He hasn't had any handling and is a bit
leery of humans. When he was only about a month old his mom was
sold and he was pretty much left to fend for himself as an orphan.
He doesn't seem to be in any discomfort. We'll have the vet out on
Monday to examine him unless there is reason to call him over the
weekend. We'd like the foal to have some time to settle in - he's
been through quite a bit. We're calling him "Golden Boy"
Sand Storm (aka Golden Boy) - an orphan foal.
05/29/08: Aaleyah and Momma Sue are coming home tomorrow!
Dr. Cleary said she still has rotavirus as well as another (I can't
remember the name) and will have to be tested again in 2 weeks.
They will stay in quarantine here for at least 3 weeks. They'll be
stalled most of the time but will also be able to use our quarantine
paddock for a few hours in the evenings before being tucked back into
their 12 X 24 stall for the night. Aaleyah will have to wear her
soft muzzle when she isn't drinking milk from a bucket. We'll have
to check her temperature throughout the days and nights. We'll
have to wear gloves and be very careful not to do anything that could
possibly transmit the virus to Buttercup. Adult horses don't get
it. We're currently short about $700 for the hospital bill. Please
consider participating in the raffle to help Aaleyah or buying some
horse muffins? Thank you!
05/28/08: Aaleyah and Momma Sue are both doing well.
We're praying for no further complications and that they will be able to
come home tomorrow. We have a raffle that is being announced
tomorrow so please check back!
05/27/08: Dr. Cleary called this morning as they were getting
ready to take Aaleyah back into surgery. It wasn't until then,
talking with Dr. Cleary, that I realized this was a semi-major surgery
for Aaleyah. They had to put her under general anesthesia and put
her trach tube back in. They grafted skin from inside Aaleyah's
lip to the middle of her soft palate. This should prevent the
stitches from coming out again - we pray it does because there is no
Anne, one of our Directors, stopped in to visit them after the surgery
and she said Aaleyah looked a little unsteady but ok. Momma Sue
looked really good.
Dr. Cleary called later in the evening and said Aaleyah did will through
surgery and that they moved her and her mom to another stall in another
barn where they wouldn't get the afternoon sun beating down on them.
The latest fecal test still tested positive but Aaleyah's stool was much
firmer. They will take the trach tube out again tomorrow and if
there are no more complications Aaleyah and Momma Sue will come home on
Due to complications and the need for a second surgery, the hospital
bill is higher then originally quoted. We need to raise another
$1000+ and will be posting a raffle soon.
amount of help would be greatly appreciated.
Donations are tax deductible. Thank you!
05/26/08: Dr. Cleary called this morning and said Aaleyah is
doing well. However, she somehow managed to get a suture or two
out and milk is coming out her nose.
The good news is that the diarrhea has about cleared up, even though a
fecal test still showed her being positive for rotavirus. She is
in good spirits but I'm sure she'd rather be out playing. Momma
Sue is doing well. She has to test negative twice before being
declared over the rotavirus. Another fecal test will be done
Late today Dr. Cleary called and said they had just finished a major
surgery and tomorrow morning she and Dr. Brown will be putting the
sutures back in. They don't expect any problems.
Hay - will you play peek-a-boo through the door with me? Anything!
I'm bored in here! I wanna go home!
05/26/08: Dr. Cleary called last night and said Aaleyah
wasn’t feeling good and had diarrhea and a temperature. They did
blood work and tested her poop. This morning, when we got to the
hospital, Aaleyah was up and looking like her spunky little self –
bright eyed and inquisitive. I felt better the minute I saw her
– yesterday she just didn’t look right and I was a worried.
The trach tube had been taken out this morning and she was wearing a
soft muzzle to keep her from trying to get milk from her mom. They
quit giving her milk last night and started an IV.
Cleary said we could take them out for a short walk, which we did, and
they loved it. Momma Sue grazed and Aaleyah got to run around and
jump up like a cricket.
a couple of minutes Dr. Cleary got back the lab results. Aaleyah
has rotavirus so she and Momma Sue had to be put back in their stall and
got tired and wandered back to her stall which, by then, had been
decorated with rope and posts and a new sign that said “Rotavirus+”.
She had to check it all out. Hugh was there to welcome her and
guide her back into her stall. Dr. Cleary, and the staff taking
care of Aaleyah, really like her. They are an awesome group of
Momma Sue and Aaleyah were back in their stall, Dr. Cleary put the
grazing muzzle back on Aaleyah, which Aaleyah didn’t really
appreciate. But she stood there like a good girl and Dr. Cleary
praised her and gave her a hug.
be in isolation for a couple of days. We don’t know when they
will be coming back to the rescue - possibly Wednesday or Thursday.
We’d like to ask everyone to please continue sending Momma Sue and
Aaleyah good thoughts and prayers. Thank you!
05/24/08: Momma Sue and
Aaleyah are doing very well. Momma Sue was examined for bladder
stones and none were found. Her water intake and urine are normal.
The vet wants to give her a couple of days and then run the blood tests
Aaleyah was more energetic today then yesterday. She's drinking
her milk by the bucket now. Her trach was removed today for 15
minutes and she did fine. Her catheter was removed, cleaned, and
put back in the opposite side. The wonderful folks at UF that work
with her are amazed at her attitude and well she is doing.
If all is
well - both mom and filly will come home on Tuesday!
05/23/08: Blodwyn went with me to UF today to visit Momma
Sue and Aaleyah Belle. Both looked very good. Little Belle
was bright and alert and didn't seem to be in any discomfort - she is on
antibiotics and pain meds. She welcomed attention and we were
happy to give her all she wanted!
We were met with
While we were there we
noticed that Aaleyah's bottle was almost full and she'd tried to drink
from it a couple of times - then she'd go to Momma Sue and try to nurse
but didn't get much. She was getting frustrated so we asked for a
bucket. You can see how well it worked...
Little Belle was
being fed milk from a bucket every 2 hours while someone held Momma Sue
- but we wanted to find a way to have milk available to her 24/7.
We tried a foal feeder that could hang on the window. Well, Momma
Sue didn't care that it is meant to be a foal feeder - she thought it
worked well for her too!
After Aaleyah got her
tummy full she did what most babies do. She took a nap.
Now, how precious is
took Aaleyah's trach tube out this evening to clean it up. It was
left out for 12 minutes and Aaleyah did fine. They blocked off the
tube a bit later and she also did fine. They will repeat this
tomorrow and if all goes well the tube may come out on Sunday!
Sue's tests came back and there is blood and protein in her urine
and there is nothing to indicate there is an infection brewing anywhere.
The Dr. is going to check tomorrow for stones. If this is the
case - it is possible that what we thought was a gassy colic a few
days ago was really pain related to stones. We'll have an update
tomorrow. Thanks everyone for your continued good thoughts,
prayers, and support.
May 22nd: Surgery started
around 10 am and was over around 2 PM – I watched the whole thing.
It was quite the relief when the Dr. looked up at me and gave me a
“thumbs up” before leaving the operating room. We met in the
waiting room and he said was very pleased with how things went.
Aaleyah’s nose is much better but it still has a little twist to it
but it may improve as she grows. She still has an “under bite”
but it is not nearly as bad as it was. Dr. Brown and Dr. Cleary
did a great job and made sure that her jaws were lined up as much as
possible. She got many stitches, wires, and pins. She'll be
on antibiotics and pain meds for a few days. Her once right tiny
nostril is bigger and the airflow will be better. She has a
temporary trach tube and catheter in her neck which is wrapped in
bandages - it somewhat limits her neck movements. I didn't enjoy
watching them cut on her, chisel away at her jaw with a mallet and
punch, drill and insert pins and wires, stitch her up, and do other
things but I am glad I was there – I know what they did and how they
did it – it may be helpful in the future. This surgery was long
and Dr. Brown said it will take her weeks to heal. Now we need to
make sure swelling is controlled and there is no chance for infection.
operating room with little Aaleyah Belle on the table. I had a
window view from above.
Belle and Momma Sue were back in their stall around 2:45. When I
got there Aaleyah was shivering like she was cold – like a person does
coming out of anesthesia. Momma Sue was eating her hay – she
looked good – like some sort of relief had come over her. I went
in and gave Momma Sue a hug and then knelt down by the window.
Little Belle came over and stuck her cute little stitched up nose (which
was still bleeding) in my face. It felt good to hug her and kiss
her forehead. When she walked over to me it felt awesome – I
felt her strength and I saw the life and determination in her eyes that
told me it will be ok. I couldn't help but to cry and hold her as
long as she'd let me. I know this may sound silly, but smelling
her and seeing those eyes made me feel so much better. She’s a
strong little baby, only 19 days old, that has a life ahead of her now -
thanks to people that helped us to help her, the wonderful doctors,
staff, and students at UF, and angels seeing her through the surgery.
kept opening and closing her mouth – like she was trying out a new set
of teeth. We let her take her time to settle and when she stopped
shaking she tried to drink from her bottle. The angle to nurse
from the bottle was too much for her and she got frustrated and went to
Momma Sue. She tried nursing Momma Sue and managed to get some
milk but not much. I took the bottle out of the holder and held it
at an angle that made it easier to get milk from but she still didn't
get much – her entire mouth is different and it will take her some
time to get used to it and to learn how to use it. Aaleyah will be
able to eat and drink on her own and for that we are very grateful.
I ended up squirting milk into her mouth for a bit and she seemed
appreciative but still hungry. The vet tech came in to give her
some meds through the catheter - I held Aaleyah’s head against my
chest with one hand and put my other hand on her butt and she stood very
still - I was so proud of her. The folks there all love her - a
couple of them told me she’s the sweetest and kindest baby they'd ever
I was there I noticed Momma Sue taking short pees every now and then and
asked the care takers if they had noticed it too. They said that
yesterday she did the same thing but that she is drinking her water ok.
They suggested that if she is still doing it tomorrow that they do some
tests - it could be an infection.
having this surgery was very worth it. I wish I could take away
the discomfort she will be feeling for awhile. While watching the
surgery there was talk about why there are very few surgeries for wry
nose babies. The answer was that a wry nose is not as uncommon as
people believe but most foals born with a wry nose are put down right
after birth – they don't stand a chance – God bless them all.
This is what rescue is about – giving them all a chance – even the
ones that most people would give up on. It’s quite an emotional
roller coaster ride but when you see the results of your efforts it
makes it all worth it. Aaleyah Belle, in her short life, has
displayed what it means to have the will, determination, and the heart,
to beat the odds. She’s a special little girl. Isn't she
stayed awhile and made sure Aaleyah went poop and pee before I left and
that someone was going to be with her constantly and monitoring the
amount of milk she was getting. She won't be discharged before
Monday or Tuesday. I got home around 4 PM and around 5:30 the
doctor called and told me Aaleyah and Momma Sue were doing well.
I'll check on her tonight before going to bed. It’s been a long
2 days and the trips to and from the hospital aren't kind to my body -
there has been very little sleep.
There are some graphic pictures of the surgery in a folder on our Yahoo
group at: http://pets.ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/BHF_Equine_Rescue/photos
Belle – our strong and proud baby girl.
are still accepting donations to help with the surgery and hospital
stay. Also, a vet bill will be coming for $270 for Momma Sue's
treatment on the 18th. Transport funds ($150) to the hospital were
donated but we still need funds ($150) to get Aaleyah and her mom back
next week. Momma Sue has to have some tests run and the stay at
the hospital is longer then expected so the bill is going to be higher
then originally estimated. Please consider passing up a night out
to dinner, coffee at the mall, or even a movie to help. No amount
is too small and all donations are appreciated. Donations are tax
05/22/08: Aaleyah and Momma Sue were transported to the University
of Florida this morning. They did really well and we're very proud
of Aaleyah for being such a trooper. Here is a short recap of the
Belle was pretty tired this morning.
things first. “Milk please!”
I have a full belly -– time for a nap in the cool sand and warm sun.
“mother” – daughter talk and prayer before the transporter
and her mom loaded onto the trailer great and unloaded even better.
She followed Momma Sue to their “suite” and took in all the
sites on the way.
both settled right in. Quite a few people came to meet “the cute
baby with the little "crooked nose,” and they all fell in love
with her –- how could they not? Dr. Brown was very nice and
My bottle is here! Mom - look at the view from the window -
there’s horses out there playing in a field!”
won't know what time the surgery is tomorrow until am. I spoke at
length with Dr. Brown today. He said he's seen cases worse
then hers that were successful. He said that the top of little
Belle's mouth will always be somewhat shorter then the bottom. She
will be able to eat grain ok and drink ok. Only time will tell if
she will be able to graze. His technique does not require the
use of one of Aaleyah’s ribs. Recovery will take weeks.
She'll be confined to a stall for several days and then will be able
to go out for short periods of time and as she heals, over time, she'll
be able to stay out longer. She will be at the hospital at least
until Monday. I did ask if Momma Sue could have her teeth done
while she is there and they are going to try to arrange it. Momma
Sue seemed to be feeling good today.
goodbye wasn’t easy but we know surgery is the only answer.
I’ll be at the hospital all day tomorrow and will update tomorrow
night. Buttercup is doing ok but misses Momma Sue and Aaleyah.
She will be staying in Momma Sue and little Belle's "suite"
(birthing stall) until they return. Little E will be in the
paddock around the barn to keep her company. Thank all of you for
the good thoughts, emails, phone calls, prayers, and donations to help
Aaleyah Belle. I apologize to those that have emailed that I
haven't responded to - I won't be on the computer for a few days.
May 20th: They play hard and sleep hard!
05/18/08: Momma Sue went down today and couldn't get back up.
Her temp and respiration were normal and her appetite was fine.
She did seem dehydrated.
As soon as I listened to her gut I got a sinking feeling we may be
dealing with a colic. I called the vet and he told me to give her
some Banamine. It had started working by the time he arrived.
We got her up and got her to her stall. Refluxing her was normal.
He oiled her and gave her some Buscopan. She got IV fluids.
The vet said the long term neglect she'd endured, even while pregnant,
and receiving no vet care after giving birth, contributed to her
condition today. We are very careful when horses like Momma Sue
arrive. They are brought back to health slowly - the first few
days are the most critical. She was doing so well but it was very
hot and humid today.
This evening she is better but still not out of the woods. She is
supposed to leave with Aaleyah Belle on Wednesday for UF for Belle's
surgery. We'll see how she is doing but we won't put any stress on
The vet bill from today alone was $297.70. If you'd like to help
please go to our "Donate" page and there are various ways to
donate to help Momma Sue. Any amount would be greatly appreciated
- no amount is too small.
The picture of her standing over the 2 babies was taken yesterday.
Each day that goes by brings the 3 of them closer together as a family.
OK -- nap time is over.
It's time to play!
Buttercup drinks from a bottle too but she also eats
milk replacer pellets. Each bag of milk replacer costs
$136. A bag lasts less than a week.
She does love her milk! Would you like to provide
a bag of milk replacer to Aaleyah Belle?
You can call a credit into our feed store.
Aaleyah tried for days to graze like a normal horse but just couldn't.
So she found her own way to graze.
She lays in a low spot and turns her head to the side and is able to
pull grass out of the sand.
Aaleyah is full of life. She does tire easy.
She doesn't get much air through her nostrils.
Let's play kickball!
Hay! Where'd the ball go?
05/13/08: We received a call from the University of Florida in
Gainesville today. They wanted us to bring Little Belle in for
surgery tomorrow! The Dr. said the sooner she has the surgery the
better. However, we do not yet have enough funds (between $3000 -
$3500) and need some time to try to raise them. We are going to
schedule her surgery for Monday, May 19th, and pray we have the funds by
the time she is ready to be released from the hospital which will likely
be the following Friday or Saturday. We have a week to do this -
we MUST do this. Aaleyah Belle can't eat or drink normally.
She can only drink from a bottle. Her breathing is impaired and
she gets tired easily. Her appetite is great and her attitude is
awesome. She has quite a bit of spunk and a lot of determination.
help if you can. Every donation, no matter how big or small, makes
a big difference.
Donations are 100% tax deductible. Thank you.
Play time! Charge!
Go in, mommy -- I think there's food in there!
Relaxing in the cool sand and warm sun.
Whew - it's been a long day. I'm beat!
Momma Sue felt so good after her bath!
Buttercup first meeting Momma Sue.
05/07/08: This is a nurse mare foal that was born on Barbaro's
birthday - April 29th. Her mother was bred in order to be able to
nurse a different foal whose mother was to be shipped off to be bred
again by live cover. This is another "business" that
many people don't know about.
When this foal, now named Buttercup, arrived she hadn't been handled by
humans. She called out for her mom for the first couple of days
and it was so sad. As time passed Momma Sue and Aaleyah accepted
her as part of their "family."
The girls are great for each other and Momma Sue keeps them in line -
but they are a handful! There's never a dull minute - that's for
05/06/08: Momma Sue and Aaleyah Belle
05/03/08: We picked this mare up only a few hours after she gave
birth to a baby that had a wry nose. The baby was very weak but at
the same time appeared very determined at everything she did. We
named her Aaleyah Belle (after Eight Belles). Aaleyah means
"the greatest gift from God." Eight Belles was a 3 yr
old TB filly that gave her all, including her life, after winning second
place at the Kentucky Derby today. Aaleyah's mom's name is
"Currently Sue" and we are calling her "Momma Sue."
She arrived very much underweight and had no vet care after giving birth
just hours before.
Aaleyah Belle can't nurse because she has a wry nose. She didn't
get any milk (or colostrum) before arriving here and was very weak.
She had to have a plasma treatment because her IGG (antibody) levels
were so low (17!). We are taking shifts around the clock to bottle
feed Aaleyah. She deserves a chance - as does her mom.
We have contacted a surgeon that has performed surgery to correct a wry
nose in only one operation. We will do all we can to get Aaleyah
Belle the needed surgery. Without it, she won't be able to graze,
drink, or eat grain.
back often for updates.
Aaleyah Belle and Momma Sue arriving at the rescue when Aaleyah was only
a few hours old.
It was clear from the moment they arrived
that these two needed help.
Aaleyah's first night on earth - safe here at the rescue.
to read more about Aaleyah, Momma Sue, and Buttercup - Part II.
" Life is about determination. You don't give up
just because of the obstacles...Regardless of what obstacles face you,
just keep going. Go through, go around, jump through. But
never give up."