A Gentle Nudge
Sammy pulled up the zip on her bright yellow coat, as the wind pushed her with its ice cold hands, making her body shiver. The down-pour of rain was so fast and heavy it slapped her in the face. Her booted feet ploughed through sludge, with each step she felt her feet being sucked into the ground. Joe, her colleague, was slightly ahead of her, he turned round to face her.
“Come on Sammy, get a move on. The sooner we get this sorted the sooner we can get back inside!” She could barely hear him as the gale snatched his voice away into another direction. She chose to ignore him; his legs were longer than her own so of course he was ahead of her – mud or no mud she thought to herself.
Their instructions hadn’t been clear so they searched the old farm yard first. There were only two small barns, Joe searched one and Sammy looked in the other. They had to be quick; the victim was running out of time. Sammy dug her hands deeper into her pockets and felt slightly relieved when her feet touched the concrete. The door to the barn had fallen off one of the hinges, the wood was rotten and it swung wildly in the wind, smashing against the wall and sending splinters into the air. She was grateful to escape the rain for a moment. Her torch worked its way around the building; there was nothing but straw and the sound of dripping water to catch her attention. She re-joined her colleague outside. He was shaking his head, nothing in the other building either. They were in the main yard, close to the crumbling farmhouse. Most of the windows were barricaded with decaying wood, there was no indication that anyone lived here anymore. A cackling radio noise came from within her jacket. She took hold of the radio and held it close to her ear.
“What you’re looking for is a white male, I don’t have much of a description to go by but he’s in need of medical attention. Over.” Sammy bit her lip, from what she had already been told, it would be a miracle if he was found alive. She felt a surge of anger from within but forced herself to stay calm; she mustn’t get emotional on the job. She had to find the wounded right away.
“Okay we’re on site now” she said, looking at Joe who nodded acknowledgement and headed for a broken wooden gate near the house. He held his torch up over the gate and moved it from side to side,
“This paddock could be the place. Have you got everything we need?” She nodded, preying they wouldn’t need anything more than their small kit but he could be in a bad way, or worse still, dead. Joe had to lift the gate and push it back against the wall, concern filled his eyes and Sammy’s face went white, the wood was stained with what appeared to be blood.
“Oh God,” she whispered,
“Come on, Sammy, you know the rules, stay focused and you can do the tears later. This might not even belong to him.” Her colleague touched her hand reassuringly. They headed for the bottom of the paddock, leaving the sound of slamming doors and dripping water. The two of them had come across this situation many times before but Sammy could never get used to witnessing the brutal cruelty of other people. They scurried across the muddy field, being quiet in the process, not wanting to scare him away. The heavy wheezing could be heard before they saw him.
Sammy took a deep breath and forced back tears. She must remain strong now, he needed her. His eyes flickered with fear and the rhythm of his breathing got faster. Sammy held out her hand to him.
“Hush there, its okay; we’ll take care of you now.” She let him sniff her hand first and then she gently moved her hand onto his face and moved it along, up to his long neck that was coated in mud, and he let out a weak whinny. His breathing started to slow little, but he still looked wary. Sammy gently patted the white pony’s shoulder, reassuring him that they wouldn’t harm him. Joe was standing back, shining the torch on him and examining his physical appearance.
“I don’t think he’s had a meal in months, Sammy. Lord knows how long he’s been neglected for.” Sammy gently removed her backpack to retrieve a blanket she had in there. Carefully, not wanting to spook the animal, she spread it over him, he didn’t move an inch.
“I think he knows we’re here to help him,” she whispered. Sammy took a head collar out of her bag and put it over the creature’s bony head. The creature didn’t spook a good sign he hadn’t been beaten or treated with violence.
“I don’t think we’ll have any trouble getting him in the trailer. Do you think he’ll be able to walk?” Joe ran his hands over his legs, picking up each of his feet, they felt bony but there was no blood coming from any part of his body.
“No reason why he shouldn’t. Just take a few steps with him now, to make sure.” Said Joe.
The pony limped but he didn’t appear to be in too much pain. Slowly, the three of them went back towards the farm. Sammy kept stroking his neck and whispering to him, keeping him calm. Now and then they would pause while he caught his breath.
“He will need to see the vet when we’re back at HQ but all he needs is warmth, food and TLC to get better.” Joe smiled. Sammy looked at the pony, unable to understand how anyone could have neglected him. He nudged her gently with his nose.