The adorable Pumpkin was born with a number of deformities, and while she is always joyful and full of life, the pony can barely walk on her own and has to be carried around everywhere.
She suffers from dwarfism, something that was likely a result of the way she was bred. As she couldn’t move around independently, the pony needed around the clock care.
After just a few steps, the poor animal’s legs would just completely give up.
Pumpkin’s health issues ended up being a major financial strain for her owners, so they decided to surrender both her and her mother to the Twist of Fate Farm and Sanctuary in West Grove, Pensylvania.
The sanctuary houses farm animals and horses who have been neglected, need special care or have severe health issues. In other words, they take in the animals that nobody else wants.
“We have rescued over 30 “unadoptable” horses from being slaughtered and given them a safe place to live out the rest of their lives, no matter how long or short that may be,” the organization writes on their Patreon page.
Ashley DiFelice has been running the sanctuary since 2012 and has saved hundreds of animals, giving them a new purpose in life. When Pumpkin was brought into the animal sanctuary, Ashley saw that the dwarf pony got along rather well with her three-year-old boy Deacon.
The little boy absolutely fell in love with Pumpkin and referred to her as ‘a big unicorn’.
One of Deacon’s wishes was to walk her through the beautiful nature that the sanctuary has to offer.
Ashley realized that Pumpkin would never be able to walk or run – let alone for long distances.
However, Ashley was determined to make her son’s wish come true and make Pumpkin’s life much easier and more pleasant. Because the tiny pony was so weak, she couldn’t spend much time with the other horses on the territory and often felt lonely.
The animal rescuer immediately tried to find a solution while the pony was still young because it would be much harder to help her out when she’s bigger.
“No matter how many people tell us, ‘You can’t fix that,’ we always try,” is Ashley’s motto.
It didn’t take long before Ashley came across a company called Bionic Pets.
As the name suggests, they create prosthetics, braces and bionic limbs for animals who can’t move on their own. The company’s founder Derrick Campagna arrived at the sanctuary shortly after.
He spent some time with Pumpkin and tried to figure out how a bionic brace could help her out. The main issue was that her legs would constantly buckle under the pressure of her own weight, and the design had to be meticulously engineered.
After a couple of weeks, the first prototype for Pumpkin’s braces was ready. An exciting moment for all members involved and the tiny pony responded well to her new braces. Ashley now hopes that the horse will gather the strength to be able to walk without braces one day.
Pumpkin in action. Catching Thea to come back inside is always eventful. She is a spunky little momma!To answer a few questions that I'm frequently being asked….No, Pumpkin does not wear these leg braces 24/7. I put them on during the day and take them off before they go inside for the night.We do not know if she will have to wear braces for the rest of her life. Our hope is that she does not.Is Pumpkin sore when she wears the braces? No, not usually. When she wears her braces, they are straightening her legs to be in the correct position. She can sometimes be a little sore when they go on, but after a few minutes she feels a lot better.Pumpkins quality of life will always come first. If there ever comes a day that she cannot live a comfortable life and we run out of options, then we will make the decision that is best for her. However, I truly believe and hope that day is many years away.Everyone deserves the chance to live their best life. Animals included. It may be different than mine. Different from yours. But it is everything to them 💚
Posted by Twist of Fate Farm and Sanctuary on Thursday, April 26, 2018
“These braces give her legs the support they need so they don’t bend in the wrong places and help her to place all 4 of her feet properly on the ground. Our hope is that over time with the help of these braces, her legs will begin to strengthen and that she will no longer need them!”
Based on the initial prototype, Derrick finetuned the design and delivered the final braces just a couple of weeks later.
Pumpkin gained a little bit of height, but more importantly, she could perfectly walk again.
In fact, even a short gallop wasn’t an obstacle anymore for the brave Pumpkin!
Ashley and Derrick watch as Pumpkin goes for a run and the smile on the little Deacon’s face is absolutely priceless.
“That’s what I was hoping for… These are the moments that I live for,” Derrick mentioned. “You see when animals have that will to live and move, and she has that, and that can make all the difference… I think she kind of feels free and able to be herself and walk without pain.
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