As the sun rose on the morning of December 27th, Hope had made it through the night, to the surprise of Rachel and Katie, and our veterinarian, Dr. Lisa Kivett of Foundation Equine Clinic in Southern Pines, NC.  Dr. Kivett arrived to examine Hope.  After close examination and discussion, the decision was made to call in reinforcements in the form of a large animal technical rescue team and a critical care equine transport team. 

     Both teams, North Carolina Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team (4HFES and NCSMART, LLC) and North Carolina Equine Assistance and Specialized Transport (NC EAST), were local to the area and did not hesitate to respond and get involved.  Members of the specialized teams, who were already friends of Rachel and Dr. Kivett, arrive with much needed equipment and expertise.  A plan to relocate Hope to another farm was discussed and then the plan was implemented.  A life-jacket was secured to Hopes head to protect her fragile skin and eyes if she should struggle, toss her head, or fall while being relocated.  With Dr. Kivett supporting her head and monitoring her overall condition, she was lifted to a standing position.  Hope was literally so emaciated that she was picked-up by five people using two webbing straps, one behind her front legs and one in front of her rear legs.  She couldn’t have been more than 500 pounds and that is being generous.  She was allowed to rest in the straps for a few minutes to see if she could stand unsupported, which she could but did not have the ability to move without support.  Her rescuers carried her to an awaiting stock trailer for transport to Rachel’s farm where it was possible to provide the additional critical care that Hope would now require.  Part of the relocation plan was to move Hope from Katie’s farm to Rachel’s, about 10 miles away, where there was a wide indoor barn aisle to drive the trailer into and strong structural support beams to set up a sling.  The critical care equine transport trailer, operated by NC EAST, was not used to transport Hope because it was too large and heavy to negotiate the terrain to Katie’s barn without the chance of getting stuck in the deep sandy areas or blocked by large low hanging limbs.  Hope was not transported to a veterinary hospital because Dr. Kivett’s practice was only mobile at the time and although she had a barn herself, she did not have the staffing to provide 24-hour care for weeks or months if that was what it took to save Hope’s life.  She could offer her veterinary services but someone else would have to provide the care if this plan was going to work.