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This page last updated:  Friday, November 19, 2010

Welcome, Baby Ray -- And Now, Sunshine!
(Diary, October 2009)

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*Photos may not  be copied without permission.


Sorry these pictures are so late coming, but it's been pretty busy here.

Baby Ray wasn't as willing to load to go to the hospital this time.  Blodwyn, Marie, and I tried coaxing but it wasn't working; and the clock was ticking.  We knew Dr. Brooks would be waiting so ... 


I decided to give Baby Ray the option of backing in, and he did it very gracefully!

Hey, Miss Lisa!!!  How are you??  Is Dr. Brooks coming to see me?  Are you going to take these lavage things out of my eyes?  I still can't see much, but it hasn't been very long since my operation -- my eyes are OK right?  They just aren't learning to work as fast as we want them to, right?  Ummm, can you please get Dr. Brooks now?  I need to hurry and get back home; my mommy misses me when I'm gone and she worries. 


You aren't Dr. Brooks; I don't think we've met.  I'm Baby Ray -- I guess you already know Miss Lisa.  She takes good care of me when I come here, and I feel better when she's around.  Are you going to do something to my eyes?  Can Dr. Brooks come now, please?  I need to get back home to my mommy.

Finally!!  Dr. Brooks!!  How was your trip?  I missed you the last time I came; I'm glad you're here today.  I heard you say that everything in my eyes is working really well, so how come I can't see?  Maybe it's just going to take a little more time?  Thanks, Dr. Brooks and Miss Lisa, for caring about me.  Someday I'm going to see what you look like, maybe the next time I come back in a few weeks!  Can we finish up now?  I want to get back home to my mom.  Can you do what mommy Theresa does and say prayers that my eyes will start working?  Thanks for everything; now can I go home to my mommy, please? 

Baby Ray was whinnying for his mom before he turned on the road to the rescue.  Sunshine heard him and she started to whinny back.  Neither one of them handled the separation as well this time as they did last time but the day was a bit busier and rushed.  We'll make sure on the next trip we have more time to load. 

Yahoo!  Hey, mommy, I'm home!  Be careful, mommy Theresa, don't trip going down the ramp.  Hurry, though, my mom is waiting for me; I can hear her dancing around.  I'm coming, mommy!  I'll always be so thankful that I got my mommy back.  I missed her so much after they took me away from her when I was only four weeks old.  She's a good mommy and I love her to pieces!  I love all my humans, too; Im a very blessed boy to have so many that care about me, aren't I?  I hope all babies are as loved and as cared for as I am.  Come on, mommy Theresa ,faster! 



It's become obvious to us that, when Sunshine is reunited with her baby after his trips to UF, she is so happy what does she do? 

She has a good roll!!  Each trip back from UF always brings lots of rolls! 

Hey, mommy, what are you doing down there?  Come on, let's go find a good hay pile!  I'm hungry!  How about the feed room door -- let's go peek in the window and see if anyone is in there -- maybe we'l get a treat! 


Look at me, everyone, I'm Baby Ray!  Everyone says I've grown a lot!  I know I'm going to see my mommy someday!  And I'm going to see the clouds, the green grass, and all of the other horses and the humans here!  It's just going to take a little longer than we thought.  But like my friend Aaleyah Belle says, never give up!  Thank you all for caring and keeping up with my progress.  I have a favor to ask, OK?  Please say prayers for Princess.  She is having a bad time with one of her eyes.  My human mom and dad are working around the clock to help her, and volunteers are helping, too; so is Dr. Ryan.  I heard Dr. Ryan say that he's taking his wife on a nice vacation starting tomorrow, but he already talked to Dr. Eric about Princess.  Dr. Eric will be checking on Princess while Dr. Ryan is gone.  Have a good night, everyone!

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Update on Bracelet Fundraiser for Baby Ray:

Baby Ray had so much fun drawing a name for our last raffle that we have decided to extend the drawing until October 31. 

If you would still like to join in, please let us know.  Funds raised beyond the amount of his surgery will be applied to last month's vet bill ($2,300). Thank you so much!

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Sorry for the late report; it's been busy today.  Jake had a nose bleed just before Baby Ray got back this evening, but he's ok now.  

Some of the examination report from today reads:

"Today Baby Ray appeared to be doing well.  Ocular examination revealed a negative PLM and Menace in both eyes, but a positive dazzle response.  Fundic examination revealed an intact optic nerve in both eyes without signs of retinal degeneration.  Due to these findings, and concerns that Baby Ray could not see, an electroretinogram (ERG) was performed.  The ERG showed adequate function of the right and left retinas.  During this exam, Baby Ray demonstrated a strong response to the light stimulation, suggesting that he may still be able to see flashes of light.  We recommend that Baby Ray be observed for two weeks.  If he does not show signs of increased vision during that time, a full neurological examination should be pursued."

In summary, tests were done to determine if the rod and cone cells in each eye are working, and they are.  Rods identify shapes and motion, but they only pick up black and white.  Cones identify colors.  Rods and cones work together to build an image of what the eye is seeing, and the image actually is upside down!  The upside-down image travels along the optic nerve to the brain.  The brain turns the image right-side-up and identifies what is in it.  During the test, they put electrodes under Baby Ray's skin and another electrode that was embedded into a contact lens in his eyes (one at a time), and then used a special machine to shine light at various frequencies, wavelengths, and intensities to check for electrical responses from the optical nerve coming from the retina and there were.  The doctor said it is possible that Baby Ray's brain isn't turning things right-side-up and identifying what is in it, so they may need to do more tests.  But from what we were told, it isn't uncommon for an animal to see things upside-down.

Baby Ray still walks into things and doesn't seem to focus on objects.  If you flick your finger in front of his eye, he doesn't blink.  The doctors are not sure why he can't see but suggested that maybe he has to go through the development stage:  now that he should be able to see, the optic nerve from the retina to the brain is learning to work, and the brain has to learn to perceive the impulses as objects -- he needs to practice seeing.  

We let Baby Ray out to graze by the trailer for a bit before loading him; Auntie Marie babysat until it was time to load.  

Baby Ray loaded onto the trailer just fine.  He's getting bigger everyday!



Sunshine went into her stall and was given a little sedative before Baby Ray went out to graze just before loading.  Angel Baby stayed by Sunshine's window to comfort her.  Angel Baby isn't doing very well, so please keep her in your prayers.


Baby Ray was good for the doctors and loaded up to come home without hesitation.  He's gained 20+ lbs since his surgery!  He still has the lavages in his eyes for two more weeks, but the amount of times we have to apply meds has decreased; and there are no signs of glaucoma so one of the meds had been stopped.  No more midnight and 4:00 am eye treatments!!!


Hey, mommy Theresa, look at me, I'm a big boy now and can walk off the trailer without being afraid!  Mommy, I'm home!!!


Hi mommy!  Did you miss me?  I missed you, but I was a good boy.  I told you I'd be back in no time!  I got to visit with Miss Lisa, and I met new doctors and they were all nice.  I have to go back again in two weeks.  I should be able to see better by then.

I'll post a short video tomorrow of Baby Ray and Sunshine saying hello once he was back at the barn.  You'll be able to see that he seems to sense objects but can't seem to focus on how close or how big they are.  Once they greeted each other, they went off to graze. 

Thanks again to everyone for caring and your support.

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10/12/09 For an update on Baby Ray and Sunshine, plus some photos taken over the last weekend, please visit the Daily Blog entry for this date.


This morning I found Sunshine snoozing at the fence line with Baby Ray just behind her and Angel Baby snoring.  It was a beautiful morning even though it was a long night.  The baby gets meds every four hours.  Barbara is here tonight and will be doing the 4:00 am treatment so Bob and I will get to sleep a bit.  Baby Ray tolerates the medications, but he doesn't like them -- I wouldn't either!  Baby Ray's eyes are still swollen, but throughout the day the redness in the right one got better.

The left eye.



The right eye. 



Sunshine waits outside of Baby Ray's stall door when he is having meds in his eyes.  I think she's really glad to be back.  She's a good mom but just isn't comfortable around most humans.  I don't know what has or hasn't been done to her in the past, but we don't push her.  She knows there is nothing to fear here.  With time, she'll be better.  She reminds me of Magic in some ways.


After meds were given to Baby Ray this morning, he went out with his mom behind the barn to graze.  Not long after, just as breakfast was being made, Baby Ray must have heard grain being dropped into buckets in the feed room.  You could here the little feet hitting the concrete.

Come on, mommy!  I hear somebody in the feed room!  I bet its breakfast time, let's go see!

Ah ha!!!  See, mommy, there's a light on in there!  I can't tell who is in there, but someone is there!  Things are still bleary, but I know we're going to get breakfast really soon!

Mommy Theresa, are you going to put more medication in my eyes now?  I don't like them, but I'll be good because I know they are going to make my eyes better.  Maybe after we go back to visit with Dr. Brooks on Thursday I won't have to have them anymore?  Have I told you how glad we are to be home?  My mommy feels much better here, and I don't have to worry about her.  She was pretty uncomfy at the hospital.  I like being home, too.  It's really nice to have a home, especially with my mommy!  And soon I'll be able to see her clearly!

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Baby Ray!  We're home!  YYYEEEESSS!!!  I'm so glad to be back!  This means hay and grass all day long!  You're going to get off the trailer first, baby, and I'll be right behind you!  Like I said when we left here, no worries!  Just be careful with the step down off the trailer, OK?



Baby Ray walked right off, no second guessing.  Then he stood by and waited for his momma.


Sunshine is so relieved to be back.  She was really stressed at the hospital -- they put up a big Anxious Mare sign on her door.  As they unloaded, Little E watched by the trailer to welcome them back. 


I imagine Sunshine had no clue what was happening these past few days.  Both she and Baby Ray have been through so much.  Their story is nothing short of a miracle, IMO.  Baby Ray was born a month early.  Then he was taken from Sunshine when he was only four weeks old.  They were apart for two months before being reunited, and in between Baby Ray had been to a few homes before landing here.  God definitely had his hand in this, and angels have been watching over the baby the whole time, I'm sure.  And now to have been able to have the surgery thanks to so many people caring and donating to make it possible -- and awesome Dr. Brooks, the students, and staff at UF, Dr. Ryan, Dr. Das, and Dr. Porter and his team all have made a difference for this little one.  Baby Ray is a very brave boy, and I have a feeling we're going to start seeing him get a little braver and spunkier.   

It is SO good to be home!  Don't try this, Baby Ray, you'll mess up the tubes things in your mane and get dust in your eyes.  You just watch for now, and after your tubes come out we can roll around together!  Oh, this is wonderful!!!  


After Sunshine had a good roll, she and Baby Ray joined Angel Baby in grazing a bit.


It's good to have them home.  I think Baby Ray has grown in just the few days they were gone!  

I'm thirsty, too, mommy!  It feels really good to be back.  I told you it would be OK!  My eyes bother me some, but mommy Theresa is going to keep putting my medicines in them like they did at the hospital.  Geesh, every four hours until Thursday -- she's going to be really tired!  But I heard that Auntie Barbara is coming for the weekend to help.  And Aunties Diane and Jessica are coming tomorrow.  OK, mommy, let's go say hi to Val and Haley and see how they are doing.  When we walked by them after we got off the trailer, I think they look sorta small like me -- things are still bleary, but I want to try to see Haley -- she's going to have a baby in a few months!  She was complaining the other day about the heat, and I want to make sure she's OK.  Oh, and mommy Theresa said Chubby is leaving to go home in the morning, so we have to go visit over the fence with him for a little bit.  

Like I said, I think were going to see Baby Ray get a little spunkier.  He trotted down the aisle this evening trying to catch up to his moving feed bucket.  He did a little run, leap, and twist of the neck -- he just couldn't get his food fast enough!  Come on, Auntie Laura, I'm really hungry!

For the last grain meal for tonight, we took his mask off and gave him his meds.  We checked out both eyes, and his right eye has a lot of pink around it.  The left looks pretty good.  There are four different eye meds that have to be given at various times, but he gets one of them every four hours.  We monitor both eyes for increased swelling, redness, increased tears, or squinting.  He also gets Gastrogard, Banamine, and SMZs (antibiotic).  He's going to start running the other way when he sees me -- maybe Bob and I will have to take turns!  Having a lavage in each eye is very helpful.  Six days to go, and hopefully that will be it.  In the meantime, we keep him safe and happy.  See the dark circles under my eyes?  They're only going to get darker!  

I'm Baby Ray and I'm doing just fine.  My eyes bother me some -- my right one bothers me the most.  But guess what???  I can see some things, but I just can't focus well yet.  But my eyes will get better over the next few days.  I get to go back to visit Dr. Brooks, Miss Lisa, Dr. Tsujita, and Miss Jae in a few days!  Shhhhh, don't tell my mommy yet -- she doesn't like it there, and I don't want her to worry.  We're not going to stay this time.  It will be just a short visit.  Thank you all for caring about us and helping us.  Life wasn't very good for us until you all became a part of it.  God bless you all!  Now, I want all of you to come to visit with us, OK?  Good night everyone!  Sweet dreams!  

We feel very blessed that Baby Ray and Sunshine are here, and I am very blessed that my human family supports my passion of helping horses -- they sacrifice a lot, and I am very grateful to them.  Bob loves helping the horses, too.  When we got married he knew very little about them but was willing to learn.  Tomorrow we are having cake for our son's 21st birthday.  Joshua has been riding horses since he was a baby.  I don't know where the 21 years went, but I can tell you that we are very proud of both of our human kids.  Our daughter, Katie, is in 10th grade this year and is taking two college courses.  She helps daily at the rescue and maintains a 4.0.  And our volunteers and others that support us are yet another true blessing.  Without all of you we couldn't do this.  

We know Baby Ray can see, but were not sure how well yet.  I saw him walk to the fence this evening and stop about 6" away from it.  But then tonight, I saw him walk into the fence.  So maybe darkness and light still make a difference to what he can see.  There is still swelling, and it will take a few days to know better .  I just hope and pray all goes OK and there are no complications or setbacks.  Please keep Baby Ray in your prayers.  If I'm out of touch even more over the next few days than I have been, you all know why!  But I'll definitely send pics and update when I can.  Tomorrow I'll try to post a couple of short videos that we shot after he got home this evening. 

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Update on Bracelet Fundraiser for Baby Ray:

Baby Ray had so much fun drawing a name for our last raffle that we have decided to extend the drawing until he comes home.  A winning name will be drawn by Baby Ray five days after he arrives home.  He will come home tomorrow or Saturday, so we will plan to draw a winner one week from today. 

If you would still like to join in, please let us know.  Funds raised beyond the amount of his surgery will be applied to last month's vet bill ($2,300). Thank you so much!

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Here is Baby Ray napping while Dr. Brown and staff prepare to start surgery.  Baby Ray looked so cute with gloves on all four feet!  There were about 12 people in the operating room most of the time.  Dr. Brown is in the green scrubs.  They made sure I had a good view of the TV screen and we had contact via a phone.  Here is some info on Dr. Brooks: http://www..vetmed.ufl.edu/directory/dennisbrooks.html.  I can't say enough good things about him, the staff, and the students at UF.  They have always done great by every horse we have taken there.  They really care about each horse, and when we can't be there they keep us updated throughout the days and evenings via phone.  Dr. Cleary even stopped by after Baby Ray's surgery and asked about him.  Dr. Cleary helped perform Aaleyah's surgery.

Surgery took about 45 minutes or so per eye.  It seemed like forever to me!


This is the left eye.  



The cataract was broken up and extracted.  The doctor put three stitches in where the incision was (at the top of the eye).



It was pretty amazing and looked very tedious.  My hands would have been shaking terribly, but his were steady as a rock!  Dr. Brooks has been doing this for years, and we were very confident that he would take good care of Baby Ray.



Once the left eye was done Dr. Brooks gave me a thumbs up and then they rolled Baby Ray onto his other side to do the right eye.



If you compare this eye to the right eye, you can see the difference in the appearance of the cataracts.  Dr. Brooks said the left one was that of a 30 year old.


After Dr. Brooks was done, a lavage was placed in each eye so that antibiotics could be administered.


After recovery, Baby Ray was taken back to his stall with his mom.  Once he found food in his bucket, we didn see his face for quite a while.  He finished his grain in no time, but he was wishing for more.  Sunshine looked tired but was very relieved to have him back.  Just look at how big he is!

Mommy Theresa, is that you?  Can I have more grain, please?  I still feel a little funny, but my tummy is growling!  How come I'm wearing this thing on my face again?  At least it doesn't cover my nose and make it itch!  I heard people say that my eyes are fixed and that tomorrow we'll know more about how well I can see.  Things are a little bleary right now.  I wasn't afraid -- all the humans here are nice to me and tell me what they are doing.  They even talked with my horsey mommy and reassured her I would only be gone from her for a little bit and they would bring me back.  But they had to give her something to help make her feel better.  I can't wait to see her face more clearly!  Thank you ,Mommy Theresa, for coming today and for letting me and mommy know that a lot of people are asking about us that care.  Tell them we appreciate them, please?

Sunshine looked really tired, and I bet she's more then ready to come home with her baby.  The hospital was very busy, and I'm sure she wonders what is going on all around her.  They sedated her today before taking Baby Ray from her.  Baby Ray's braids were used to keep the tubes to the two lavages in place.  There is one going to each eye like when Buttercup had an eye infection; antibiotics are flushed into the eyes via the tubes.

I was told that as long as there are no problems -- and none are expected -- we can pick them up on Friday!  This made me smile!

We'll update again tomorrow -- thanks to everyone who made this possible -- God bless you all!

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Good morning, everyone!  I'm Baby Ray and I'm getting ready to leave with my mommy to go to a hospital where they are going to fix my eyes so that I can see!  I'm a little afraid, but my human mom says it will be OK and that my horsey mommy will be with me the whole time.  Look how big and strong I'm getting! 


Wait up for me, mommy!  We're going to ride in a trailer together this time!  But you get to get on first and Ill follow you, OK?  That's right, baby, I'm not being left behind this time!  I'll be with you every step of the way until we get back home.  You will have your own stall in the trailer and I'll have mine right next to you -- we want to make sure I don't accidentally step on you.  And we both have hay to eat all the way to the hospital.  No worries, OK?  Jeff let us use his trailer today -- the partition in ours wouldn't have been safe for Baby Ray.

Baby Ray stood and listened as Sunshine loaded first.  


I led Baby Ray to the trailer and, when his leg touched the trailer, he hopped right in!  Diane went with me to the hospital, which was a good thing -- I needed about a dozen hands, and Baby Ray and Sunshine are very comfortable with her.  Diane arrived to the rescue early this morning in order to exercise Chubby and hose him off before leaving for the hospital.  He's doing really well, and he is leaving to go to his new home on Saturday!!


Unloading was a little challenging for him, but he did OK and followed his mom to their stall.


Baby Ray did sweat quite a bit during the 35-minute ride and was pretty thirsty when we got there.  Everyone that met him, or even passed him in the hall, loved him!  Sunshine was very good even though she was unsure of everything that was going on. 


Baby Ray weighed in at 199 lbs!  That is double what he was when he arrived at the rescue!



Dr. Brooks, Miss Lisa, and others checked Baby Ray's eyes out.  Dr. Brooks feels the left eye will do well.  The right eye has some inflammation, but they hope to have that under control by morning.  If not, they may not be able to operate on the right one but, as of now, Dr. Brooks thinks it will be OK.  Miss Lisa promised us they'll take good care of Sunshine and Baby Ray while they are at the hospital.


After the exam, Sunshine and Baby Ray went back to their stall.  It's always hard to leave them behind, but there was a lot to do at the farm and others that need us.  The doctor called me late this evening and said Baby Ray is doing well and his blood work is fine.  Sunshine, well, she got a bit nervous after we left.  After all these two have been through I can imagine she has concerns about what is going on.  

While we were getting Sunshine and Baby Ray settled in their stall this morning, Dr. Cleary came by to say hello.  She and her staff took very good care of Aaleyah Belle and Momma Sue when they were at UF for Aaleyah's surgeries.  I know everyone there will take good care of Sunshine and Baby Ray, too, but is sure doesn't seem right here tonight without them.  

I will be at the hospital in the morning at 8:30 am -- surgery is scheduled for 9:00 am.  Please keep Baby Ray and Sunshine in your prayers.  I'll update tomorrow after surgery.  I'm calling it a day soon, I'm beat.  Thank all of you for caring -- Baby Ray is going to see tomorrow!

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I apologize for not posting lately -- it's been really busy here.  Here's a quick update for the past few days.

Diane and Jessica set up a couple of booths at the Peanut Festival this past Saturday to raise funds to help with Baby Ray.  The weather was good, and they had a lot of folks stop to talk and ask questions about Baby Ray, other horses, and potentially volunteering.  They made posters and decorations for the booths -- a lot of hard work went into this that we truly appreciate.  Thanks, Jessica and Diane!

Baby Ray's vet bill for last month (not counting Dr. Porter's mobile unit coming here,hich was paid) is $562.75!  This included his plasma treatment and blood work.  The total vet bill is $2204.89 ,and we have until the 15th to pay it.  

Baby Ray is READY for his surgery!  He's a little jumping bean that is getting bigger and faster, and he really needs to see where he is going!  He almost sideswiped his mom today.  He is such a doll, but he is definitely growing and getting some muscle on him. 


I had a little talk with Baby Ray today to tell him about going to the hospital and reassured him it will all be OK, that his mom will be there with him the whole time, and that they will be coming back together later in the week.  We're a little worried about his taking the ride to the hospital, but we are borrowing a trailer and he will have a box stall right next to his mom.  He is much stronger than when he arrived here in our mini-van!

OK, Baby Ray, smile for the camera!



His mom is very proud of him.  In this picture Layla and Amadeus are in the background.  


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10/01/09 Thanks, everyone, for all of your continued support and caring for Baby Ray and Sunshine.  The little guy is getting big!  He is feeling good enough to do a very impatient "dance" if you don't hang his feed bucket fast enough!  And he gets more impatient each day when he tries to open the door to the tack/feed room and it just won't open.  Sunshine stands over him and watches and I just know she's cheering him on - hoping he is successful.

Baby Ray is still scheduled to go to UF next Tuesday.  He checks in on Tuesday, surgery is on Wednesday, and he may be able to come home on Friday.  Sunshine will be with him.

There is one concern.  Baby Ray's liver enzymes were high on his initial baseline blood test and, on the most recent test (got the results yesterday), they are double the initial figure.  Dr. Brooks got a copy of the tests today and is reviewing them.  It is possible that he may want to push the surgery out some, but we're praying that doesn't happen.  We're working against time -- babies six months and younger have the most success rate after surgery.  As they get older it does go down. 

We truly appreciate funds that have been donated to make his surgery possible -- you are all giving this baby a chance to see -- what an awesome gift that is!  God bless you all, and I'll try to have pictures to post tomorrow.

To view other months, please click on the links below:
August 2009

September 2009

October 2009


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