I am a registered therapy team with my miniature horse, Elmo. I’m also the co-owner of his little sister, Tiny Dancer, along with Julia Phillips, who is a registered therapy team with Tiny Dancer through Pet Partners. Last spring, Tiny Dancer was unable to move in her stall, which resulted in an emergency visit from our vet. Tiny Dancer was misdiagnosed a few times and she was not getting better. I insisted on getting more x-rays done on her upper leg and hip, and we eventually found out that she had a dislocated femur. When horses dislocate their hips, they are almost always put down. I was suggested to go this route, but I was unable to accept it. A surgeon down at Oregon State University Vet Hospital was willing to take on Tiny Dancer because of her small size. The surgeon performed a surgery most commonly done on dogs and cats, FHO (Femoral Head Ostectomy). They removed Tiny Dancer’s femur head and didn’t replace it, which allowed her body to form a false joint. With lots of tears, uncertainty, hope, and determination, Tiny Dancer is back to her spunky self. She’s even running at a full gallop out in the pastures with her brother, which I did not think she’d ever be able to do again. Last summer to regain her strength, Tiny Dancer visited a dog rehab facility for over 6 months where she worked with a physical therapist and used a water treadmill. I am proud to report that Tiny Dancer is back to doing her routine therapy visits at residential treatment facilities for at-risk youth, assisted living facilities, and more, where she continues spreading joy to so many people in her community. Tiny Dancer was not ready to leave this world, and her journey is far from over.

Story submitted by Terry O’Toole