Picaro Leaves Ross Haven Farm

Picaro Leaves Ross Haven Farm
Picaro pictured with Dr. Carl Kirker-Head, Pete Daigneault, Farm Manager and Mona Kirker-Head with their daughters

Picaro's Progress is a Miracle!

Please join others in donating to Tufts Large Animal Hospital in honor of Picaro. If you are able to donate, please copy & paste w/ Picaro as subject: http://www.tufts.edu/vet/giving . Many thanks to those who have donated and are considering a donation. These donations make it possible for us to have this state of the art facility with top Veterinarians to care for our animals.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Tomorrow, May 14 will mark the 4 month anniversary since Picaro was shot. When he arrived at Tufts, Dr. Carl Kirker-Head made an evaluation that Picaro could be saved...and he was. After speaking with the Dean at Tufts, it was decided that they would cover the cost of his care and we then embarked upon a journey that culminated in a wonderful ending.

At the end of February, Picaro was moved to Ross Haven Farm, a rehabilitation facility for horses, owned by Dr. Carl and Ramona Kirker-Head and Picaro began the long road to recovery. Four weeks ago the pins that stabilized his jaw were removed and we hoped that he would regain SOME of the jaw movement enabling him to chew and swallow. The result was that he regained FULL mobility and a very happy, healty horse left today for his new home at Riverview Paso Fino's in Mt. Jackson, VA (www.riverviewpasofinos.com).

His new owner, Ann Howell, is a long time breeder and supporter of the Paso Fino industry and was introduced to me in March as a possible home for Picaro. It did not take long before we decided that Picaro would be moving to Virginia and today he has begun the next chapter in his life.

Thank you all for your support as you have followed this amazing story. If you have not had a chance to donate, there is still the opportunity through Tufts University: http://www.tufts.edu/vet/giving in "Honor of Picaro." Without their support and the knowledge and love of horses by Dr. Kirker-Head and others there, we would not have this outstanding facility at our disposal.

Many thanks to Tufts University and The Kirker-Head Family and best wishes to Ann Howell and Picaro in this next chapter.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It has been some time that Picaro's Diary has been updated - I apologize for the delay and I appreciate all who have been requesting an update.

First, Picaro is doing GREAT! He has had such expert, loving care at Ross-Haven Farm in Sturbridge, Mass. Dr. Kirker-Head has reported that the pins have been removed and he is beginning to eat some Dengi. The side to side chewing motion is beginning to come back and his spirit could not be better.

Watching him run around a pasture is one of the most exciting things to see! He is playful and full of energy. Some weight has come back and he is ready to go to his new home.

We do not have an exact date of departure, but it looks like Picaro will be moving on to a Paso farm in Virginia. More on the farm will be coming in the next post.

I have said it before, but this has all been a miracle! Without the care of Dr. Kirker-Head and the Tufts staff, this would not have had such a happy ending.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Adjusted to new home!

Picaro has adjusted nicely to his temporary home at Ross Haven Farm in Sturbridge. He has top care at this rehab facility owned by Dr. Kirker-Head.

He LOVES to be outside, unfortunately, it can only be at the end of a lead rope as he also wants to roll so badly....and he did when we gave him a chance in the paddock.

We are about two weeks away from taking the pins out of his jaw and that will be a real milestone in his recovery process.

He is still eating pelleted forms of food and hay is still out of the question. We are hopeful that will change once the pins have been removed.

Not a great picture here - but it is outside in the spring weather!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Taking Picaro for a walk at Ross Haven Farm was like stepping into a storybook! The grounds are so beautiful and Picaro was as happy as he could be. His ears are always forward and with the wind blowing a little he decided to stop, look around and do a little capriole! It made me wonder - Paso or Lipizzan?

He has an infectious way about him. Everyone who meets him falls in love instantly. We can tell that he is tired of having his face poked at...only four more weeks until the pins are removed in his jaw.

He is still eating like a trooper - he looks great!

I am still taking applications for adoption - if you are interested, please email: allsmall7@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On To Rehab!

Yesterday was a big day for Picaro. After a little bit of a struggle getting loaded into the trailer, Picaro was on his way to Ross Haven Farm in Sturbridge (www.rosshavenfarm.com). Owned by Dr. Carl Kirker-Head and his wife, Mona. This facility will be a perfect place for Picaro to continue on his healing ways.

Bringing him to a farm setting was something that Dr. Kirker-Head thought was needed for his continued care. I agree...it couldn't be a better spot!

Many thanks to the Kirker-Head family for their continued support of this dear horse who has managed to be a pretty strong fighter...his name does mean adventurer and what an adventure this has been.

We are still looking for a permanent home for Picaro, if you are interested or know of someone who is, please contact me at allsmall7@gmail.com

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Picaro continues to get stronger each day. His colitis has completely cleared and he is still eating and eating. Our worries continue to be the swallowing. If you look at the CT scan you can see how one of the bullets caused damage to areas that will continue to be slow healing.

Pictured here are two of Picaro's vet students, Meagan Meador and Jared Ravich. These two students have been with Picaro since January 14th, the day he arrived to Tufts. Although Meagan and Jared are on a new rotation, their constant, professional and heart felt care of Picaro has been instrumental in his fight for life. Thank you Meagan and Jared...good luck to you both as you look forward to graduation!

Coming up next will be x-rays to see how much the fracture in his jaw has healed and then he is off to Ross Haven Farm for rehabilitation as we look for a new home for Picaro.

Please contact me at allsmall7@gmail.com if you or anyone you know would be interested in adopting this wonderful horse!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Mind of His Own!

Still on the mend, Picaro has developed a stubborn streak and does not seem to want visitors around him anymore...unless of course you have some food for him!

There is no doubt that being outside is where he wants to be and the staff at Tufts get him out as much as possible. Apparently there was an attempt to get him on the scale and he wanted nothing to do with it!

At this time, I am beginning to take applications for adoption. Although he is not ready to go to be moved to a new barn today - we think he will be ready in a few weeks. If you are interested or know of someone that is..please send a note to me at: allsmall7@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support of this wonderful cause.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Article from the Boston Examiner

Here's a nice article about Pic with new pictures that was posted in the Boston Animal Advocacy Examiner


Friday, February 12, 2010


Sorry for those of you who tuned in and may have missed the show, it apparently wasn't on the 10 o'clock news as expected.

Here is the link to what was aired: http://www.necn.com/02/12/10/Horse-shot-multiple-times-by-owner-is-on/landing_newengland.html?blockID=179812&feedID=4206


Watch NECN

Watch NECN tonight (Friday) at 6:00, 10:00 & 11:00 pm for Picaro on TV!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Today marked the beginning of week number four. It has been that long since Picaro was brought into Tufts with two gun shot wounds to his head. It has been that long since he has received two operations, countless amounts of drugs and the kind of care that is almost impossible to write about.

It is the kind of care that anyone would wish for someone they loved. The medical team at Tufts, guided by Dr. Carl Kirker-Head, have been outstanding. There has never been a time when I arrived that Picaro has not had someone in his stall or around his stall answering to his needs...and there have been many needs.

Right now however, I am asking you, our faithful readers for some help. Because there is no funding for Picaro, we are relying on donations to Tufts for the expert care that he has received. If you could give a donation of $5.00 or more toward this cause, it would be a huge help. There has been an outpouring of love and attention...for this we are very grateful. You can help too by giving on line: (copy and paste this url): https://secure.www.alumniconnections.com/olc/pub/TUF/onlinegiving/showGivingForm.jsp?form_id=532
Please type in that the gift is for the Cummings Veterinary School for the Large Animal Hospital. In the general comment section, please put, "In Honor of Picaro." Gifts can also be mailed directly with the same information as above. Many, many thanks to all who have donated!

And, NOW for the really good news....
Today, Picaro was taken off of ALL medications (including pain meds). He is chewing all the time (still tough to swallow, but he is doing it) and there is food in front of him all day for him to "graze" on. He loves Senior pellets and it is still fun to watch him grab them out of your hand when you bring them into his stall. We will watch to see how he reacts to the the "medication free" state that he is in, but, so far, so good.

New photos were taken earlier and will be posted soon....thank you all again for your support!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How Cute Is Picaro?

We are definitely in a pattern of good news! According to Dr. Diego Quinteros he is "chewing like he is chewing gum!" It is like he is making up for lost time.
He still needs to keep what he is chewing in is mouth and swallow it, but the progress seems so good each day.

Picaro is having his bandages changed by Meagan, a Veterinary Student at Cummings School. He doesn't like posing for pictures!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A New Horse!

This afternoon I saw a new Picaro! He was feisty and fun! Apparently he has really been enjoying his walks in the afternoon, trying to find green grass...(and he has)... picking up a little gait and stretching his neck to say, "this is nice out here!"

After his bandages were changed today he wanted to eat! Watching him fill is mouth with pellets and dropping half of them was puzzling to me. After a while I decided to hand feed him. This way I could control how much he got and wait until it was swallowed before he had more.

The session turned into a game! I would hold the small bag of feed behind my leg and he would eat out of my right hand. When he wanted more he went looking for the bag! "Sorry, Picaro, you have to swallow what is in your mouth first!" This went on until all of his grain was gone. Not only did it show some spunk, but also, I was able to get more food into him.

Although I came home covered in drool and grain mush, it was worth it all! I really believe he is going to make it!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday, February 7

Since I have been unable to get into Tufts for the last couple of days, the staff was good enough to give me the following update for the weekend:

Picaro is still showing very small signs of improvement. Eating a regular diet and moving away from tube feeding is the goal now. He is definitely interested in eating on his own and continues to chew and swallow small amounts of some pellets, but hay is very difficult to swallow.

He loves being outside for his walks and goes out at least once per day. The face wounds continue to heal nicely and he seems to be a little more comfortable showing fewer signs of colic.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Friday, February 5

Today was the day for the second ultra sound on Picaro's colon. Our fingers were crossed and the results showed that the swelling reduced from 2cm to .9cm....what a relief! Although he is still uncomfortable and continues to show us how much, we now have hope that his pain in that area will continue to lessen.

Now on a regular schedule of walks outside the hospital, Picaro loves the interaction with the mares that he sees and has made friends with a cow! It is great to see his ears perk up and show us signs that he wants to live!

On another note...we need your help! Picaro's medical bills are mounting daily and donations are needed! No matter the size, please help us by logging on to the Tufts site (copy and paste this url): https://secure.www.alumniconnections.com/olc/pub/TUF/onlinegiving/showGivingForm.jsp?form_id=532
Please type in that the gift is for the Cummings Veterinary School and the area would be for the Large Animal Hospital. In the general comment section, please put, "In Honor of Picaro." Gifts can also me mailed directly with the same information as above. Many, many thanks to all who have donated!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday, February 4

"No better, no worse." That was the view on Picaro today. We can be encouraged by the fact that food continues to be very "yummy" and his interest in it increases with each feeding. The colitis is still very bothersome. During my visit today, it was obvious that it was getting close to his time for pain medication as he was very uncomfortable.

His medications and routines are the same. We are on a "let's wait and see" watch with him. He is still very strong and amazes everyone with his sweet face and wonderful temperament.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday, February 3

Picaro is such a great horse! I arrived at Tufts to find 3 students working on him, cleaning the wounds from surgery and gunshots. They are gentle and so good at what they do. Picaro holds his head down and never moves...he is amazing.

When the bandaging was replaced he was able to come over, say hello and see what is being offered in his "buffet" as it is called at Tufts. He was quite interested in the senior feed pellets - not as interested in the hay stretcher! A salt lick has been added to one of his dishes and he seems to enjoy that also. After spending a good amount of time chewing (it is still difficult, but he works at it regularly) he moves to the back of the stall, lies down and immediately goes to sleep. It seems to be a routine.

A new pain medication, butorphanol (similar to fentunyl and morphine) is now being administered as well as sucralfate as an anti-ulcer medication. He seems to be in better spirits and not as agitated with the colitis.

He will begin to go outside and have longer walks - he still has a wonderful spirit.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday, February 1

We were feeling so very optimistic about Picaro. Dr. Kirker-Head took him on a nice walk yesterday and he loved it. Trotted a little, took some stabs at what he thinks was grass and he seemed to have turned a corner.

Today, discomfort was still visible and an ultrasound showed Right Dorsal Colitis. The drug most commonly associated with right dorsal colitis is phenylbutazone, which has been administered to help with pain in Picaro's jaw.

Picaro is no longer receiving "bute" and has been switched to the anti-inflammatory drug, lidocaine.

He is still perky, and loves the hay that he was getting in small bites today.

Many thanks to the team at Tufts for all the loving care being demonstrated.
Sunday, January 31

Today Picaro could just not get comfortable. He was up and down, kicking at his belly and really not interested in food. He has been moved back to the main barn at Tufts where there is plenty of activity to keep him company.

He is currently receiving plenty of Malox for his upset stomach - we hope that will do the trick. The perky little horse that we had last week has definitely taken a little turn.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday, January 30

Not every day can be a red letter day - and today falls into that category. Picaro was not as bright and last night he was showing some small signs of colic. It is of no surprise given the amount of medication that has gone into his system. There are also signs of stomach ulcers.

The good news is...he continues to enjoy eating! He has such a wonderful team at Tufts - one for his head and one for his stomach issues. They work together for the best possible outcome.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Eating! Wahooo

Upon arrival, Picaro was laying down resting and seemed highly disinterested in having any sort of company. He is however, "EATING"!!!!!!!! He took a keen interest in food and was munching on softened treats for quite some time. He's also highly interested in alfalfa pellet mashes that are prepared by the awesome (!!) team at Tufts.

Today he looks like almost an entirely different horse compared to a few days ago. His eye is so bright and he's so much more lively. He's definitely getting more stubborn and full of personality which means he's starting to feel a lot better too. He has a new face bandage that gets changed daily and he thinks it's pretty itchy...but he doesn't get that he's not supposed to scratch it.

He's also been drinking a fair amount on his own and has been taken off of his fluids in hopes that he will continue to drink. He's also now only in half isolation because it's been determined that he doesn't have any salmonella and his 'intestinal irregularity' is lessening.

Still not out of the woods entirely and still has a few hurdles to get over but any progress is great!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday, January 27

When entering the brand new, state of the art, isolation building at Tufts, you can get overwhelmed by the sterile atmosphere. It sets you back and you think, "this is very serious."

Today was better though. After entering Picaro's area I was greeted by a very alert horse with grass (that had been hand picked by some of the students)hanging out of his mouth, a bright eye and ears forward. Wow, what a difference a day makes.

Although he is still on an IV drip and being tube fed, Picaro was able to drink the soaked alfalfa pellets with gusto!

His care is incredible and there is hope that he will continue to improve each day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday, January 26

Picaro is gaining. His jaw is beginning to move a bit and there is more interest in eating. If he would just begin to eat, we will see rapid improvement in his overall health.

He continues to be in isolation due to intestinal irregularity. He is still tube fed and has an IV drip.

His spirits are better today.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Where it began...

On January 14, 2010 Picaro, a 14-year-old Paso Fino stallion was rescued from a tragic shooting. He received two bullets to his head from his owner who had suffered a breakdown due to personal set backs in his life. On this horrific day 2 human lives were lost along with that of a pet poodle. Picaro is what remains from this tragedy.

Rushed to Tufts Veterinary School in N. Grafton, MA, Picaro was ambulatory and responsive. The surgical team, headed by Dr. Carl Kirker-Head decided that if this horse was still standing after this experience, they would do what they could to save him. The following day he had his right eye removed.

On Wednesday, January 20, a CT scan showed extensive damage to jaw and shattered lower portion of the hyoid apparatus which supports the tongue and some of the larynx.

Each day Picaro receives expert care from the members of this incredible team of Doctor's and Students .

gold parties