Rantoul Press columnist

DEWEY — Society for Hooved Animal Rescue and Emergency managed to survive the polar vortex, but not without some expected issues.

The horses are all in their stalls with extra hay, heated water buckets, and the older inhabitants had on cozy blankets. Things happen.

The heated buckets come unplugged, so water freezes. Horses drink a lot, so it’s important all volunteers check the plug-ins. Evidently we have some curious horses who get bored and inspect everything.

A cord from the bucket is interesting and gets pulled on, so frozen water. Our super volunteers check everything before they leave the barns and are able to fix the problem.

The horses are so thankful to the faithful volunteers who braved treacherous roads to come and feed them. One can just imagine the bitter cold everyone had to deal with. Give me summer anytime.

SHARE has quite a diversity of horses, ponies and minis. Some also have their medical issues. As in any family, one never knows when an emergency arrives.

These horses are family, and we did have an emergency, an expensive one. Jack, half Percheron and half thoroughbred (he’s big) came down suddenly with lipoma colic (cuts off blood supply to intestine). He was rushed to the large animal emergency vet facility at the U of I.

He had surgery and had a difficult time recovering. He is now back in his stall and eating again. This surgery cost $15,000. A huge hit for a non-profit organization. But he’s a spoiled sweetheart and young enough to have some good years.

Along comes Baker, a quarter horse with some thoroughbred in him. Baker is an older guy with cancer. Somehow he strained a muscle inside one of his legs which became inflamed and swollen. So the vet came and prescribed anti-inflammatory and pain meds.

We also have to wrap his leg to keep swelling down. Our committed volunteers help with this. At this point we hope the others will continue to stay healthy. A donation to their medical care would be so appreciated.

The weather is warming up, so perhaps the horses are able to go for a pasture run soon. With snow and ice, they had to stay in, and, oh boy do they get bored!

Even with crappy weather and sick horses, SHARE continues do its job.

Two ponies just joined our menagerie. They sure need us. Poor things, they’re now enjoying the warmth and ready hay.

Valentines’ Day just passed, and the guys and gals sent their slobbery kisses to all of you. They’d love to get a valentine from you. SHARE is just down the road.

Heide Fogal, a Rantoul resident, is volunteer coordinator of SHARE. She writes a monthly column.