The Happy Ending
The Happy Ending
After being in our new home, in Canada for 3 months, we had our boys in Germany tested again, and they were still positive. We were really starting to get very anxious and worried about our boys. The stable yard where they were kept, wanted to geld Peri – still not 100% sure why. Our boys needed help fast. After doing some research, I managed to contact Bob Mealey in the USA, who specializes in Piroplasmosis research. (http://vmp.vetmed.wsu.edu/people/faculty/mealey) After many consults and chats, it was decided to treat the horses again. Now the fun started. Nobody in Germany wanted to treat the horses. After much searching, we found a vet that treats with radio waves, so we had our boys shipped off to her. After 3 months of treatment, we had to send them to another yard, and then it was a batch of tests and eventually Peri was Negative – we were over the moon. Bailie was negative on the cElisa test, which can get him into the USA, but was positive on the IFAT test, which can get him into Canada. So the plan was to ship the boys to the USA, and then to bring them to Canada. Again lots of research and discussions, and it was way too expensive to let Peri do quarantine in the USA. Because he was a stallion he had to be in quarantine for 3 months, and that would mean that other people would be handling him while covering mares – also a part of the quarantine process. So we got all the permissions, and had our yard in Canada set up as a quarantine station. I had to have all the tests run on my two mares, Annie and Nan, so that Peri could cover them as part of his testing process. Eventually the mares were cleared and everything was set to bring Peri home, and fly Bailie via the USA.
Our boys were then transported to Belgium where they were tested again. Peri was negative and ready to fly, but Bailie was a border line, and they would not fly him. So again we have a setback. Now we had another problem – money! Our boys treatment had cost so much that we had now run out of money for the final flight. After speaking to the shipper that shipped them from South Africa, they took the responsibility of the mistake in the beginning, and agreed to pay for the flights to Canada or the USA.
So after discussions with all the experts, especially Bob Mealey and his lab, it was decided to ship Peri and leave Bailie. This was a hard decision, as they have not been separated in the 8 years we have had our boys. Fortunately Sabina our dear friend had just immigrated to Holland, and she agreed if we stabled Bailie near her, she would take good care of him. So Peri was on his way to Canada, and Bailie was on his way to Holland. We were really upset, but we just had to keep on fighting to get our boys.
After nearly 18 months, Peri was due to arrive home. The mares were ready, Peri’s stable was ready, and the state vet was on standby. At last on the 14 November 2013 Peri arrived. That was a shocker in its own – Kim from European horse services, who was transporting Peri from Calgary home, had warned me that he was not the horse I had left behind, but nothing had prepared me for what I saw. My poor boy was thin, he was lame, his legs were full of sores, and his feet had not been trimmed in how long – the worst part is that I had been paying for all this the whole time. Oh! Well, at least I had my boy home, and I could get him fixed up.
When the truck arrived, I called out Peri’s name, and he lifted his head and neighed, he had remembered me, I was so happy, that I cried. I was not just crying for Peri I was also crying for Bailie that was not here yet.
We got Peri settled in his stable, the vet did all his checks, and then we got him all bundled up – it was snowing and cold, and he had a summer coat still, so needed lots of blankets.
After a week the vet was back to take bloods and do all the swabs on Peri, and then we waited with baited breath for the Piro tests to come back – if he was positive they would send him back to Europe. At last 3 weeks later Peri was all clear and ready to do his normal stallion quarantine – man! That was a relief.
Peri was allowed out of the stable into a small paddock on his own, and he was really happy to just have a good run in the snow. We had his feet trimmed, fed him 3 times a day, and started treating his legs with the meds I had brought in from South Africa.
After a further 8 weeks Peri was clear, and officially a legal horse in Canada. What a relief, but we were still upset that Bailie was not home yet. It broke my heart to see Kayla watching me cuddle my horse, and her horse was not there. Kayla also had to look after Peri in the day, while I was at work. But Kayla being Kayla did it with a smile, even if she was crying for Bailie on the inside.
Eventually 5 months after arriving in Canada Peri was registered, fat and he was sound again. The only problem was that Peri was still not Peri, he just had lost his sparkle – don’t get me wrong he was happy, but missing something. Peri suddenly became a cuddly horse, which he never was, he always wanted attention. Peri basically was missing his best friend Bailie.
We had Bailie tested again after 3 months, and he was still a borderline case. 50% of his tests were positive and 50% were negative, and because he was still a borderline case nobody wanted to ship him, for fear of the whole shipment being held up. So again we treated Bailie. There was a vet in Holland that would do it, as they handled export horses all the time, and all I had to do was tell them what dose I wanted him to get. Bob Mealey was there advising all the way. He even arranged for Bailie’s bloods to be tested for no charge.
While we were treating Bailie I started some research on my own and found out that if Bailie did test positive on arrival to the USA, as long as he did not come from the same stable yard as the other horses, they would not be affected, so I spoke to Matt at IRT, and they had agreed to fly Bailie, as soon as his results were a little lower, for his own sake. We tested Bailie every month, and eventually he was negative constantly, bit still just under the threshold. Although Sabina was doing a great job with pictures and updates on Bailie, we were really missing him a lot. He was looked after and loved by Sabina, and we really appreciated it, but we were almost jealous of any time others spent with our baby.
We then decided to take the chance, I borrowed money from the bank, and paid extra for a return flight incase Bailie needed to be flown back, but I had prayed for nearly two years for Bailie to get here, and I was convinced that now would be the time.
So just over 2 years of struggle was coming to an end. Bailie flew to the USA, and we all waited anxiously for the test results, and then they came…. Negative – what more could we ask for. Bailie was moved out of the airport quarantine and into a stable yard, and then a couple of days later he was on a truck to Canada. It took Bailie a week to get to get to Yorkton, because the horses have to stop and overnight along the way.
On the 13th September 2014 Bailie arrived in Yorkton. Linda Benga was kind enough to fetch him and to bring him home for us. When Linda and I met the truck in Yorkton, Bailie heard me call him, and he got all excited. The truck drivers could not stop me from barging into the truck to kiss and cuddle Bailie. When Bailie was off loaded they did not want me to lead him off the truck, so I waited at the bottom of the ramp, well Bailie just stormed past them, and stopped by me. I loaded him in Linda’s trailer, and he got really upset when I had to leave him in the trailer. Eventually we got home, and I saw the smile on Kayla’s face when she saw us come down the driveway – it was wonderful, and it was a real smile for a change. We off loaded Bailie and put him in a paddock, and then we put Peri in the paddock. They both ran and ran, and cuddled, and then ran some more. They were so happy to be together again.
If you think Peri and Bailie had separation issues before, you must see them now. If Peri leaves the stables, Bailie is quickly out there to find him, and if Bailie goes to close to the other horses Peri herds him away from them, he is not letting Bailie go again.
Now 6 months after Bailie’s arrival, we have moved to our new home near Saskatoon, and everybody is settled in nicely. Peri has covered Nan, so he is going to be a Daddy again, so all is perfect.
We have to thank the Lord for answering all our prayers and for sending us all the wonderful people to help us in our quest to get our horses home. Thanks also to everybody who helped us, especially Bob Mealey, Matt Haug, Sabina Lloyd, Linda Benga, Juanita Grause, JJ Van Der Linde, An Minsaer, Claudia Melis, just to mention a few. Sorry there are way too many to mention all. Thank you all that helped!
This is the end of one adventure and now on to another.