We all have stories that touch our hearts and make us marvel at the strength and courage exhibited by those involved.  A recent story I wrote for our Verve magazine was just such a story.
Nova’s story is one of hope and heartbreak, and the warriors who worked night and day to help him.
When the 14 year old Saddlebred arrived at Amazing Grace Equine Sanctuary in Elkhart Lake, he was in horrendous condition.
A mere 700 pounds with a body score of one out of a possible nine, Nova’s condition was dire.
AGES founder Erin Kelley-Groth along with a slew of volunteers immediately started to work on saving the rapidly declining animal.
Veterinary attention and round the clock care were given to Nova to give him the best chance of survival.
His pasture mate Hero, was able to visit him and was placed in an adjoining stall so he could keep an eye on his buddy.
A short time after Nova arrived, he went down. When horses are down, in other words they lie down and cannot get back up, it is never a good thing.
Fortunately for the staff at AGES, a recently purchased harness meant they had a chance to help Nova get back on his feet, critical for his chances for survival.
The special harness works by allowing the horse to stay on his feet by gently helping to steady the animal and providing much needed support.
With many hands caring for the horse 24-7, Nova seemed to be making remarkable progress.
There were setbacks, but he was bouncing back and was even able to be out of the harness to take a short walk around the grounds at AGES.
I was in contact with Kelley-Groth along with an associate at AGES regarding Nova’s story and condition and kept a faithful eye on the organization’s Facebook page for updates.
Unfortunately, Nova succumbed to nephrosplenic entrapment on Tuesday, Feb. 7, just two weeks after joining the family of rescues residing at AGES.
It was not due to a lack of effort or resources given, as there is nothing the volunteers at AGES won’t do to help the animals in their care, including bedding down next to them at night.
Rather, it was a combination of too much neglect for too long that caused Nova’s medical conditions to be too much to overcome.
When Nova first arrived, workers were concerned that he had lost his will to live, that his circumstances had worn him down to the point that he might be giving up.
With a lot of love and attention, Nova’s eyes showed signs of hope and life again and it was evident he wanted to get better.
While Nova’s story ended tragically, some good will come out of his struggle to live as AGES continues to try to educate the public about their mission to help this majestic animal.
One of the biggest lessons to be learned is if you need help taking care of your animals or know someone else who does, please do not wait. Contact an organization that can help before it is too late.
One can never be certain, but if the staff at AGES could have assisted earlier with Nova, the outcome might have been much different. The horse that fought so hard to live and the workers who fought along side of him might be celebrating his future instead of mourning his loss.
There are many success stories that have gone through the gates of AGES including the story of Rudy, another severely neglected horse that arrived in much the same condition as Nova and is now thriving in a loving home.
Nova is not the first heartbreak suffered by the staff at AGES and unfortunately he probably won’t be the last, but one thing that is for sure is the time, effort and love put forth for every single animal to enter the farm is astronomical and non-wavering.
We’ve all come across rescue organizations or charities that we question and wonder perhaps if they are the real deal.
AGES is the real deal.
If Nova’s story has touched your heart, please consider helping support the work of this 501(c)(3) organization.
Donations for veterinary care, hay and other needs are desperately needed and would be gratefully accepted.
Consider stopping by AGES on the first Sunday of the month for Visitor’s Day or go to www.rescuehorses.org for information on how to volunteer or donate.

Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of the Verve on newsstands now to read more of Nova’s story.