Prayers for the Littlest Angel.....
In the wild world, nature can be cruel and unforgiving. Sometimes you witness scenes that break your heart so much that you must look away. While at other times, you see sights so beautiful that they will stay with you forever.
The last few days with this newborn wild filly have been both heartbreaking and uplifting. Less than 48 hours into her young life, the injured filly was abandoned by her mother and their band. I can’t explain why this happened, just as I can’t explain why the band stallion, Bridger, would not accept the newborn into his family. His constant badgering of the filly and her mother, Ms. Packman, injured the young one and finally caused her mother to reject her. I don’t want to paint Bridger as a villain, he is a band stallion just acting as nature requires. Perhaps Bridger sensed the filly was unfit or maybe he did not want another stallion’s foal in his band. There is no way of knowing what caused his behavior, but once Bridger rid the band of the filly, he quieted down and the family dynamic returned to normal. As I watched them yesterday there was no sign of the aggressive stallion I had witnessed over the last few days. Bridger grazed quietly with Ms. Packman by his side, both seemingly oblivious to the newborn only a few hundred feet away.
Like you, I thought the story of this little filly would end at this moment, but sometimes even in the darkest of times, there is light. I’ve never been one to believe in miracles, but what happened after this little one was abandoned is as close to a miracle as I’ve ever seen. Once she was rejected by her family, the injured filly was surrounded by the stallion, Washakie and his three mares, Adobe Girl, Cheyenne and Sanita. If I were to predict what would happen next, I would think Washakie’s band might attack the filly, quickly ending her young life. But these horses did something I would never expect, they adopted the little filly, with Washakie’s young mare, Sanita acting as her mother and showing the little one as much love as Ms. Packman did during her first 24 hours.
As I watched Washakie and his band protectively huddle above the filly as she slept, I had hope that maybe this story would have a happy ending. Washakie even nuzzled the frightened newborn as his own when two bachelor stallions bickered nearby. It even appeared that the filly was nursing from Sanita, who pushed the baby to her teats when she stood. But when the filly tried to walk, I saw her crippling injuries and was reminded that most times these stories of survival don’t end as we wish they would. I won’t stop hoping that there will be a different ending to this story, but even if there isn’t, it comforts me to know that this special little filly will feel tenderness and compassion during her last hours on this earth and will die feeling loved…. and I know that’s all any of us can ask for.
Image: Ms. Packman and her filly, just 3 hours after her birth on May 20, 2016.