Rescued: September 24, 2010. Passed away: November 4, 2012.
If Delilah were a person, many would describe her as a survivor.
Although very little is known about her life before being rescued by Almoradí police, we know for sure that Delilah's life changed on September 24, 2010, when Sue and Rod Weeding, co-founders of the then recently established Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre, picked her up from the police comisaria.
Delilah was found wandering the streets and the authorities couldn't find her owner. She either escaped nine years of misery or was abandoned.
When the skeletal mare arrived at our centre, she showed signs of having suffered serious neglect. Delilah had bad sores around her mouth, parasites and an eye infection that affected her vision. Because she was covered in bites and had many bruises, our veterinarian Dorothea Dudli von Dewits believes this poor creature had been locked away with other horses and rarely saw the light. She must have been in so much pain.
Once Delilah’s skin and eyes got better, her appetite improved. The mare started to gain weight and, although she wasn’t very keen on making friends (who would blame her after years of abuse?), she settled down and accepted the other horses' efforts to befriend her.
But as the weeks progressed, we realised something wasn’t adding up. After a few tests, we made a most surprising discovery – Delilah was in foal! Her expected due date of May 2011 was fast approaching for a horse still so thin and weak from past mistreatment.
To ensure our mother-to-be was in good company, we moved her in with Sophia, another young rescued mare in foal.
Both seemed to enjoy living together and, if they had been characters in a children’s book, Sophia and Delilah would have shared tips about motherhood and started a list of things their young horses wouldn’t be able to do – like rolling in mud after a bath, or stealing apples from their neighbours.
Delilah was the first to give birth. Her son Harry Trotter – named in honour of Harry Potter, of course – was born at 1am on May 17, 2011. Actress Georgie May saw our foal just after his birth and commented that he a lightening bolt just like Harry Potter on his forehead, so the name Harry Trotter seemed a perfect fit!
But his foaling wasn’t easy. The young mother struggled for hours and when she finally pushed her colt out, he couldn't stand up by himself.
Everyone at the centre decided to give Harry every opportunity to stand up by himself, but hours later our veterinarian was forced to intervene.
Harry needed to start nursing and drink the colostrum, the first milk that the body produces, which is vital for newborns as it nutrient-rich and contains antibodies that protect their delicate immune system. But Delilah just wasn’t up for it.
The mother was always anxious around Harry. She didn't know what to do with him and our vet Dorothea says chances are she had given birth before – a traumatic experience if the foal didn't stand up, like Harry, and passed away, or if it was taken away from her.
Every effort was made to try to help Delilah and Harry bond and, after a few weeks, she finally accepted him, though she never developed a fully motherly disposition.
When a few weeks later, Sophia gave birth to a filly named Katy-Rose, Harry became an unofficial 'big brother' and Sophia eventually adopted Harry into her clan.
Sweet Delilah, on the other hand, preferred to be alone and was moved to a different field, where she has found the freedom she needed to thrive with her new friend Vinny.
With her soft brown coat and sad eyes that sparked whenever someone spent time with her, expecting nothing in return, Delilah won everyone’s heart.
Delilah’s story, unfortunately, doesn’t have a happy ending.
On November 4, 2012, she was found in great pain, moaning and rolling around. The mare’s intestines had turned with colic, a painful condition that usually can’t be reversed. Our team had no choice but to let her go, and she left this world as peacefully as possible.
The two years she spent at the centre were filled with love, her favourite food and the peace and quiet she longed for.
As a non-profit foundation staffed almost entirely by volunteers, we rely on your donations to continue our work to save horses like Delilah, and to cover their ongoing feeding and care costs. Find out how you can help here.
– Story written by Gabriella Munoz.