After three surgeries, a mini horse is getting some big help from a Hillsboro K-9 rehab center.
In April, Tiny Dancer's owners got a call that she wasn't doing well. "She wouldn't come out of her stall, she was totally frozen," explains co-owner Julia Phillips, "We had an emergency. She had dislocated her hip."
They don't know what happened, but Oregon State University equine surgeons had to operate. Tiny Dancer had a dislocated hip and two dislocated knee caps. It's a common surgery for dogs, but very uncommon for horses. Horses are usually too big for the operation and they're definitely too big for some of the best rehabilitation tools.
Tiny Dancer lucked out because she's small enough to fit in PAWs Aquatics aqua-treadmill for dogs. K-9 Rehab Practitioner Diane Kunkle says, "I've never done horses. I'm a K-9 rehab practitioner not horses, but when their vet called and asked if we would do the treadmill I said sure."
It takes a bit of granola bar bribery to get Tiny Dancer onto the treadmill, but once she's on she gets right to work. Kunkle says she sees improvement in the little horse's movements right away.
"She's doing so much better in just six weeks," said Kunkle. After thinking they were going to lose the little horse, Tiny Dancer's owners say the time and money they've put into the little horse is well worth it. Co-owner Terry O'Toole says, "She's not a riding horse. We're not going to breed her. We're not going to show her. We just want her to be happy and healthy."
While Tiny Dancer has a few more months of rehab with PAWS Aquatics to go, she's already back to playing with her brother and working as a therapy horse.
Tiny Dancer's owners have set up a GoFundMe page to help offset her surgery and rehab costs: https://www.gofundme.com/5zq8x-tiny-dancer