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‘I nursed him overnight and I was in love’: vet nurse adopts abandoned foal she helped save

An abandoned Shetland foal found “close to death” on the roadside has been given a permanent home with one of the vet nurses who helped save him.

A member of the public notified the RSPCA after discovering the 18-week-old colt dumped in Goole, Yorkshire, in October 2019. The charity’s inspector Tom Hutton rushed the foal, who has been named Barry, to Minster Equine Clinic where vet Katherine Hall and her team, including vet nurse Evie O’Brien, worked “round the clock” to help him.

Evie told H&H Barry looked “half-dead” on his arrival.

“It was so sad. He was absolutely tiny, and just lifeless. He couldn’t open his eyes because of an infection and they were full of pus,” she said.

“I nursed him overnight and I was in love, I knew I had to give him a home. During his first night in the clinic my dad Lee came and dropped off some old dog rugs so we could keep him warm as even the foal rugs we had were too big.”

Barry in October 2019

Barry was treated for a lice infestation, a high worm burden and severe open wounds on his legs, and was also found to be anaemic.

“We had to try to get on top of everything and he received two blood transfusions for the anaemia,” said Evie.

“He spent two weeks in our care until he was well enough to go to an RSPCA holding centre. It was so difficult watching him leave, I was crying when he left the clinic.”

Evie, who owns two mares called Chicka and Lollipop, told the RSPCA she wanted to give Barry a home.

“I knew he was never going to be straightforward and would be high maintenance because of everything he had been through but he was so special and deserved a loving home,” she said.

“I visited him at the holding centre and I’d almost forgotten how small he was. He arrived with me on 28 February this year.”

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Evie said Barry is enjoying his new life and is very trusting, despite his start to life.

“He is super sassy and has such a funny character, I could watch him all day. He is being spoilt rotten and now has more rugs than my other horses,” she said. “He has fallen in love with a pony at the livery yard, and Chicka adores him too.

“He has recovered really well but we don’t think he will ever have 100% vision because of damage caused by the eye infection. I can’t comprehend how someone could have abandoned him like they did. He is one of the worst cases I’ve seen since working at the clinic, but he has his forever home now.”

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