The Dream

Tammy, before

By Linda Gordon

I am racing across lush verdant fields. The stream is crystal clear and the water tastes cool and clean. The sunlight gleams on my smooth slick coat and the warm breeze dances through my mane and tail. I feel good and strong and healthy.

Slowly, I wake to find that I’ve been dreaming again. I am stiff and sore; I am shivering from the cold and aching with hunger in this frozen pasture that I call home. I struggle to rise and join the others to find what nourishment I can. The hay is brown, moldy and wet, but it's all there is for us. Tempers are running short in the herd, and we fight to get close enough to the hay for a bite or two before we are chased away by those that are stronger.

I follow the fence line hoping to find a bit of brown grass on the other side, I stretch as far as I can, but I cannot reach far beyond the barbed wire. I see the little foal, born just days ago lying on the frozen ground, still and motionless. Yesterday, he followed his mother as she tried to get close to the hay. Too close to the danger of striking hooves, he couldn’t get out of the way quick enough, he hasn’t moved since. Evening is approaching, but I’ve lost all hope that someone might come to bring us fresh hay. It’s been far too long; I don’t think they’re ever coming back.

Another frigid night passes, another dream fades away. As a weak winter sun slants across the morning sky, I am barely able to stand; I stumble but somehow manage to get back on my feet. My coat is caked with dried mud, and there is a cold wind that seems to pass through my body that chills me to the bone. There was very little water left in the creek, and now it is frozen.

Tammy, after

I hear a rumbling sound near the gate, as the rest of the herd stands motionless ears forward, wary of the commotion. People are approaching; we stand cautious and ready to flee. Their eyes are kind, and they speak with voices that are soft and gentle. They move us forward toward the gate where the trucks and trailers await. Most of us are too weak to do anything but follow where they lead. One by one we step into the trailers, frightened and unsure, I feel a soft warm blanket surround me and I have a sense that today, my life is about to change.

Winter and spring have passed, and I have not been hungry since that day in the frozen pasture when the trailers arrived. Each night, I lay in a dry soft bed that smells of pine.

I am racing across lush verdant fields. The streams are crystal clear and the water tastes cool and clean. The sunlight gleams on my smooth slick coat and the warm breeze dances through my mane and tail. I feel good and strong and healthy, I am no longer dreaming; I am loved.hoofprint

About the author:

Linda Gordon is a professional photographer/artist and a full time volunteer for HARPS (Hooved Animal Rescue & Protection Society), in Barrington Hills, Illinois.  This story was inspired by a rescue case that HARPS was called in on in January of 2005.  "Donna Ewing has been a hero of mine since I was a young girl, stories of her rescue efforts and successes made such an impression on me.  All these years later, I have been blessed to not only get to know her as a neighbor and friend, but as a volunteer for HARPS, I have learned so much.  I have adopted the little paint horse from the story, and she truly is loved."

For more information:

Contact info for HARPS is and address and phone  numbers below - HARPS has  over 35 years of experience in horse rescue. President and Founder Donna Ewing started the first humane society for all hooved animals in the US and worked with legislators to update the "humane care for animals act" which was over 150 old, now making IL one of the leading states governing the protection of hooved animals and was the driving force behind the passage of the Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act.

331 Old Sutton Road
Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Office: (847) 382-0503
Cell: (847) 312-4975
Fax: (847) 382-0843