Dr. Ashley Craig
Have you ever worked with an animal that just instantly touches your heart? Just reaches down into your soul and plants a hoof firmly there? For those of us who work with animals on a daily basis, we have a list of animals, in my case- horses, that I hold near and dear to my heart. Every patient that I meet is special in one way or another but it takes an extraordinary animal to leave an imprint on my heart. One such horse walked into my life while I was on a rotation at Medicine. He was a tall lanky handsome colt who just wasn’t responding to treatment in the field for his medical problem. I met him on a Monday morning and he quickly won me over. His medical problem required extensive treatments which took not only time on the doctor’s part, but also patience from the colt. With every treatment that was performed, the colt was calm and seemed to understand that we were trying to help. I caught myself wondering if maybe he just felt that bad that he wasn’t reacting in a way that would be expected of a young stud colt, but I was later proven that wasn’t the case.
One morning I stepped into the colt’s stall just to take a deep breath; I stood there rubbing his handsome face, he dropped his head into my chest, looked at me with his kind eyes and just let me love on him. I am not sure who needed this time more, me or the colt. As time progressed, the colt’s condition finally started improving but his patient attitude and kind ways never changed. By the end of my rotation at Medicine, he was able to go home to continue treatment under the watchful eye of his owners and the Hagyard’s Field vet. A few times I visited the farm where the colt was born, raised and was recovering and I always made a point to stop and spend a couple of quiet minutes checking on his progress and visiting with the colt.
One morning I met up with the primary Field vet who helped manage the colt’s recovery and got to help with a thorough re-check of the colt’s progress. As we did an extensive examination of the colt, I was reminded again exactly how kind he was. Looking up from my ultrasound screen towards the colt’s head, I saw him drop his head into his owner’s arms as she rubbed on his head. When the primary Field vet gave the word that his condition was 95% resolved and was continuing to improve on a daily basis, the smiles that came on the owner’s face lit up the room. At that moment, I realized just how remarkable this young stud colt was. He had touched not only my heart but the heart of his owners who run a large farm. His courageous and kind spirit in the face of hard times will serve him well as he heads to the racetrack. I am lucky to have had the chance to meet him and to be a small part of his life; he has firmly left a footprint on my heart.