Melissa Stastny took a deep breath as she dialed the phone in the warm air of her Oklahoma kitchen. It was a call she didn’t want to make, but she knew in her heart that she had to. It was a call that would save the lives of an entire herd of horses. Earlier that day, Mellisa had been driving down a country road when she saw a stallion with a sunken frame. She could see bits of his skeletal structure protruding from his hips and back. There was no question the horse needed help and no question that time was short.
“I was certain he would not make it through the winter which was just a month away,” Melissa explains. “I was afraid going through the sheriff would take too much precious time so, I contacted the owner and purchased him on the spot, no haggling.”
Melissa named her new friend Forrest and took him home. She immediately introduced him to her horse Roderick who was grazing alone on 80 acres after the death of his long time companion Katie, who had been a treasured family member for 22 years.
“Roderick quivered the minute he caught scent of Forrest,” Melissa remembers vividly. “In all my pain over the loss of Katie, I had not realized just how lonely he had been.”
But before their happily-ever-after could begin, there was the matter of saving the rest of the neglected herd. Melissa knew that it was her responsibility to speak for all of them and she gathered her courage to make that call.
“I was really afraid of the hassle the Sherriff’s office would give me,” Melissa says. “The hardest part was getting up my nerve! But when I called them, they transferred me to the animal welfare department. I did not have to give my name. They needed the address of where the horses were which was difficult since none was posted. I live in a very rural area. I ended up giving them directions and I could tell by the landmarks he recognized that he knew where I was talking about.”
Fear is normal for anyone contemplating action against the guardians of a neglected animal. The situation is uncomfortable, unpredictable and sometimes downright haunting. But for those who know of an animal in need, this story stands as a yard stick for what can be done with just an inch of courage. See photo of Forrest grazing