By Jae Marciano
In my last article, we learned about the Hearts and Hands Animal Rescue (www.hhar.org) and Nancy Nunke, who rescues and rehabilitates animals at the Spots and Stripes Ranch here in Ramona.
My first series of rescue stories starts with one such case that I am calling the miracle of Chancey. In April 2009, he was brought to Nancy by the owner as a last ditch effort to save his life.
Chancey had been attacked and mauled by pit bulls and left for dead. His neck was broken; his lower face was torn off, including his upper lip. He was bleeding constantly and could barely breathe and he had an infection in the bone on his face. Most ranches are not equipped to save animals in this state. His face looked the worst but his broken neck was the major problem as he could not lift his neck off the ground, the reason they didn’t think that he would survive. My first glance at Chancey was a bit overwhelming as it is a rare site to see a horse without a nose and breathing through holes in his face.
To save Chancey’s life, Nancy had to think positively and strategize how she would care for this pony on a daily basis while maintaining the ranch and all of the animals’ needs. A top burn specialist from UCSD visited the ranch and assisted by placing two stints in Chancey’s face to act like a nose so that he could breathe.
The daily care of Chancey took six hours per day for a full year, roughly $800 per day in treatment, medications, and handling. His stall had to be sterilized every day, his face washed and cleaned every three hours (including at night), and his gums had to be massaged and rubbed so that the skin would grow back and form a barrier so that the open tissue could heal and handle the elements. Nancy also had to keep opening the wound to train the gums to grow and harden.
Nancy believes in using a blend of holistic methods and old farm remedies. What healed Chancey’s neck were reiki treatments three times per week and magnetic resonance stimulation (MRS). The MRS was used three times a day for 24 minutes each until he was able to raise his neck on his own.
Chancey was so weak that his broken body did not have the ability to obtain resources on his own. Reiki uses available energy from the earth as a conduit to the body to assist in healing.
What surprised me the most was the dedication that Nancy and her volunteers give to all of the rescue animals.
“Whatever it takes, I do it,” explained Nancy, who has never lost a rescue.
It will take up to two years for Chancey to be ready for his plastic surgery and skin grafting, which will be performed by a UCSD burn surgeon who is quite interested in Chancey’s healing and the alternative treatments that Nancy uses on her animals. In fact, according to this doctor, Nancy has broken through scientifically with something that might help burn survivors repair lost skin in the near future.
If you would like to meet Chancey in person (as well as many of his friends), you can attend a fundraiser at Rossi’s Pizza in San Marcos on Feb.25 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Come meet Aria the camel, Zinty the Zebra, Sugar the mini Zebu, Lady the miniature horse, and Kaia, the world’s only trained Przewalski’s horse.
This will be a very educational and entertaining event for all ages. In addition, save the dates of May 12, 13, and 14 for an Equine Communication Clinic featuring Nancy Nunke and her world-renowned friendship training as taught to her by the ultimate equine, the zebra.
If you would like to volunteer and/or donate, visit www.hhar.org. To comment or talk with me, email email@example.com.