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It Happened One Night (Part II) Alyce Gorter (Editor’s note: Part I of Alyce’s story appeared in the April/May issue.)


nbelievably, Ray is now out of the water and on his feet! Ken and Jim later fill me in on what had happened at their end. As I hustled to fasten a rope to the tractor, Ken had plunged his arms up to his shoulders into the chilling waters to get a third rope around Ray’s body. Despite his torturous situation, Ray did his best to help, seeming to understand the unspoken plan. At the precise moment that Ken was leaning forward over the horse, I put the tractor into reverse, and Ray abruptly came sliding up and out of the water — over an astonished and shocked Ken who had to roll out of the way quickly (losing his hat in the water during the process). Although Ray is now on solid ice, our ordeal is not over. As soon as Ray was exposed to the frigid wind, he literally froze. He stands caked in an icy armour with all four limbs in a splayed position and unable to bend his knees to take a step. Overcome with exhaustion, he is ready to give up, not caring if he falls, and refusing to move. I fumble in my pocket for the jackknife I had “borrowed” from Ken months ago and cut a length of rope from the knotted jumble ensnaring our feet. With barehanded Jim pulling forward with all his strength on the ice-coated halter and me thumping Ray’s hindquarters heartily with the rope, we finally get him to take one stiff-legged, wooden step forward. But it’s a start. Jim and I keep up a steady flow of instruction and encouragement as I thump him with the rope again and he takes another agonizing step. It is a quarter of a mile to the stable and Ray needs help every shaky footstep along the way, but we finally reach shelter and the encouraging welcome of his fourlegged herd mates. The online information says “No brisk rubbing. Rewarming should be done by professionals. 24 hours before out of danger.” The nearest “professional” would be well over an hour away and since it is very late on a Saturday night, who knows how long it would take for help to arrive. We must act now. Four of us for the next several hours keep two hair dryers and an electric heater going constantly, thawing the chunks of ice from Ray’s ears, eyelashes, face, legs, and tail, and drying his coat. We cover him with a polar fleece blanket, exchanging that for a duvet and then comforters warmed in the dryer, rotating them as they become damp from wicking away the wetness. We warm drinking water and lace it with corn syrup, cut up apples, and offer small amounts of grain and free choice hay. We walk him up and down the aisle letting him nuzzle and be nuzzled by the other horses. And we take turns going to the house for a hot shower or a cup of tea to thaw ourselves out. The veterinarian returns our call and says there is no need for him to come as we are doing everything necessary and he thinks Ray will be just fine after his near calamity. Reassuring words at a time they are sorely needed. At 2:30 a.m. we decide we have done all we can. We are exhausted and seizing up from the cold, the stress we have been through and the constant efforts to rewarm Ray. He is now eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, and ready for a nap. We take turns checking on Ray through


the rest of the night, finding no reason at any time to be concerned. Early in the morning, 6-year-old Sofie throws her coat on over her pyjamas and races out into the frosty weather to visit her beloved Ray. She joyously brings back the report that he is doing well. So now, it is two days after this near tragedy. Today, he came trotting out of the stable looking his perky, bossy self as he tried to intimidate the other horses away from the hay feeder. He appears to be unaffected by his glacial swim or from being slowly hauled thirty feet down the lake by the neck — the reason for Jim’s frenzied attempt to get me to STOP! My hands, despite several showers and scrubbing, still have embedded swamp muck here and there and my fingers have many raw areas from rope and frost burns. It doesn’t matter. I felt a need to go back to the scene although the idea made my stomach churn. The hole had already frozen over but the evidence of the nightmare was there — the muddied chunks of ice churned up by Ray’s hooves as he first struggled to free himself, our crisscrossed trails of footprints, the flattened path where he had been dragged to safety. I can’t help thinking about the “what ifs” and about what horrors such a trapped animal must endure. The experience dominates our conversations as we relive the fear and marvel at the rescue. And my heart is filled with gratitude for the way this story ended and for Ken, Jim, and Helen — my three angels of mercy — who worked hard and selflessly to ensure it ended that way. Come and meet Alyce at the 4th Annual Local Author Showcase & Great Big Book Sale on June 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Napanee Branch Library (see article in this issue).

Please come out and support the Lennox & Addington Cattlemen’s Association biannual fund raising dance. Proceeds from our past dances have allowed us to support the community by: • Donating $10,000 in beef to local charities • Sponsoring a $500 annual education award to a student attending a postsecondary school in a program related to agriculture • Sponsoring prize money to the four county fairs for 4-H members showing beef cattle ( Napanee, Centreville, Odessa, Parham) • Sponsoring 4-H beef club members to attend the Royal Agriculture Winter Fair

“Building long long--term, sustainable rural communities is at the heart of all my work as your Member of Parliament.”


Now offering cottage road grading 613-929-3200 weeselandscaping@icloud.com

Hastings—Lennox and Addington 20-B Richmond Blvd, Napanee Email: mike.bossio@parl.gc.ca Call Toll Free: 1-866-471-3800 www.mikebossiomp.ca

113 Richmond Blvd. #8 Napanee, ON K7R 3Z8 t. 613-409-1500 f. 613-409-1501

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The SCOOP • June / July 2018 FONTS USED

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The SCOOP // June / July 2018  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...

The SCOOP // June / July 2018  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...