Saved from euthanasia, watch Buddy the blind horse enjoy a new life at Catskill Animal Sanctuary


woman kissing Buddy, the blind horse

Courtesy of Catskill Animal Sanctuary

Known as Buddy No. 4, this 31-year-old Appaloosa isn’t the first blind animal in the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, nor even the first blind horse to walk through its gates. Founder Kathy Stevens, who grew up on a horse farm, opened the sanctuary in Saugerties, NY 20 years ago so that at-risk animals like Buddy would have a home forever, even if they had one before.

“We were contacted by the owner of Buddy, a woman who had had him all her life. She was not able to care for him like a blind animal and was going to euthanize him,” Stevens told Daily Paws. “It is an extremely common phenomenon, people have neither the knowledge nor the patience [for these animals], or they don’t want to make the necessary adjustments to make their pasture / barn safer or sometimes they just don’t understand that a blind animal can live an incredibly full and joyful life. They think euthanasia is the most humane option. “

Buddy arrived at the sanctuary in early October, and the loving equine immediately responded to Stevens’ gentle but repetitive direction that helped him understand his new surroundings: changes in terrain, when he walks in the water, where to find himself. his food and how to get around in his trailer. She says that although he has been loved before, he still has the ability to learn, even as an old animal. (The average lifespan of a horse is 25 to 30 years).

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“Working with him was really a matter of common sense to answer the question: what extra support do blind animals need to feel safe and confident? Stevens said. “And oh my God, he’s incredibly smart! I was blown away by how quickly he ‘learned his words’: up, down, stop, agitated, water, etc.”

Buddy is now making headlines with an inspiring viral video, with over 1.3 million views! “Teaching buddy language also communicates loud and clear that you have ‘their back’, so that’s a big confidence factor,” Stevens says.

As you can see in the video below, it’s really amazing how quickly Buddy understands signals – and even runs! – trusting in the love and dedication he receives from Stevens and his team.

“It takes patience and time to build trust, but oh my God, what a reward! Stevens said.

“Aging with joy and dignity”

About 25% of all Appaloosas (including Buddy) develop recurrent equine uveitis, an autoimmune disease that causes blindness, and Stevens says they’re eight times more likely to have the disease than other horse breeds. . Additionally, one of Buddy’s best friends at the shrine is Buddy No. 3, also a blind Appaloosa who, at 35, is the oldest resident at the shrine. After days of wandering the pastures, Stevens says, “at night their stalls are side by side, and we cut a large window in the wall so they could snuggle up and feel less isolated.”

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However, not all of the rescued residents of Catskill Animal Sanctuary are horses, or blind, for that matter. Buddy No. 4 befriends Mario the Pig, Chester and Arlo the Wondrous Goats and Tucker the Holstein Ox. The sanctuary team specializes in geriatric animal care, so our new buddy Buddy receives a personalized senior diet and holistic treatments, plenty of fresh air and exercise, and special bedding to cushion him at as he gets older.

“Each animal is remarkably individual. While most of us only understand this about dogs and cats, it is the same regardless of the species,” says Stevens. “Every pig, every chicken, every blind horse, every cow, whatever its age, wants its life as we want ours, and just like our pets, they need extra support to grow old happily. and dignity. “

After a long life, it looks like Boyfriend # 4 is in retirement heaven!

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