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JOEY, A MINIATURE horse, and his new friend Dakota, granddaughter of Joey’s rescuer Jane Witthohn of Claryville, hang out in his room at Witthohn’s. Joey is now at Pine Bush Equine recovering from a badly broken leg, but he will soon return to Claryville – likely with a $5,000 surgery bill.

Can You Help Joey?

By Dan Hust
CLARYVILLE — April 2, 2002 – No doubt about it: Joey is one lucky little horse.
Having suffered for two weeks with a broken leg courtesy of a kick from an aggressive, full-size stallion, the miniature horse was ultimately rescued by a group of Town of Neversink residents who took him from his muddy quarters and brought him to Pine Bush Equine, a veterinary business in Pine Bush with horses as their specialty.
“He could not walk,” said one of Joey’s rescuers, Jane Witthohn of Claryville. “We had to carry him.”
Joey stayed in Witthohn’s barn before being transferred to Pine Bush Equine. But even though Witthohn is a licensed NYS wildlife rehabilitator and a former “mini” owner herself, she couldn’t do what was necessary for Joey.
Initially, doctors recommended the standard remedy for horses with broken legs.
“The vet said, ‘Shoot him’,” recalled Witthohn. “But that wasn’t an option. He didn’t ask for this. I had to see if I could help him.”
She could – but only up to a point. She needed something more – a lot more. And she has faith that it will come to pass.
“Miracles do happen,” Witthohn remarked.
But this time, the miracle requires a little financial help – approximately $5,000 in all.
“These finances are way beyond me,” said Witthohn, explaining that the costs involve repairing the leg, putting in a metal plate, giving Joey the necessary drugs and fitting a cast.
That’s pretty much all in place now (“They’re marvelous at Pine Bush Equine,” said Witthohn), but already the costs have exceeded $3,000, and he’s expected to be there for at least another three weeks.
“Unfortunately, the bills are adding up pretty quickly,” said Witthohn, a self-confessed 46-year animal lover who runs a kennel and grooming business at her home.
As for Joey, considering he was confined in a 6x8-foot shed with five other horses and five goats before being rescued, Witthohn said he’s still friendly with people – even when in pain.
“He’s doing quite well, but it’s a long process,” she explained. “They’re amazing little creatures.”
So amazing, actually, that Witthohn said miniature horses have been trained to be “seeing-eye dogs.”
In Joey’s case, training will consist of six months of intensive rehabilitation at Witthohn’s home, and she admits that the experience will likely bond owner and horse, if not her granddaughter Dakota, too.
“This is where he’ll probably be staying,” she said, even though she got out of the “mini” business years ago. (Joey’s former owner voluntarily gave him up to Witthohn and company.)
Witthohn’s fondest hope, however, is that more community members will show the support and care for Joey that several in the Town of Neversink already have. This time, he doesn’t need a horse trailer and truck to drive him from Pine Bush, nor someone to rehabilitate him, nor a warm place to live – those have already been provided.
This time, he needs money so that he can recover, said Witthohn, who has been putting donation cans around the area on Joey’s behalf.
“Could you please find it in your heart to help us help Joey?” she writes in a letter being emailed around. “Our sincere thank-you to you all.”
To donate funds, send them to Witthohn at POB 60, Claryville, NY 12752, or call her at 985-2431.

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