There is something special about a person who rescues animals, they usually have a heart of gold. When you rescue your animals, you know they are going to come with some issues. The issues Scott Gross had to face after rescuing Auggie, his horse, were more than most rescuers can usually do or afford. Auggie came to Scott with an unknown former break in his leg and Scott was determined to save Auggie, no matter what it took.
It takes a special heart to help animals, Scott has an incredible heart for his rescues. He stated, "I sort of 'fell' into rescuing, not only horses but animals in general. It started when I lived in California back in 2012 and I lost my son, Maverick, during labor at 38 weeks and my mom to cancer a month to the day after losing Maverick. I was crushed! I relocated to the Pacific Northwest a month after my mom passed and instantly fell in love with the PNW and the welcomed feeling I instantly felt. Fast forward to 2017 when I moved to my current residence in Winlock. Maverick was my only child and felt I had a lot of love to give. I decided I wanted a baby horse to raise, bond, train, and live my years out with riding the trails. I went to an online auction and saw a horse I wanted. I had a budget and sadly that horse got bid over what I was willing to spend at the time. The next day I found a place that takes in horses and attempts to sell them as a last resort to save them from slaughter. I found a baby horse just a few months old (Auggie) and his mom (Macy) and was able to negotiate their purchase and had them delivered to me. This was in Aug of 2020. Mom came in pregnant with Bandit, so I actually got three horses in that deal."
Scott had already rescued a few horses by then, he continued, "I felt something was missing from my life and that was having a bond and being responsible for raising them."
Scott has been rescuing horses since 2018, he stated, "At one point there were nine horses on site. There have been five horses that have come and gone. One even came all the way from Texas! Currently there are six horses still here."
Auggie had a visible issue with his leg, Scott was determined to help Auggie live life to the fullest. He stated, "I had reached out to the vet to inquire and I was referred to someone to get radiographs of the leg. This showed that at some point in his few months of starting life, that his leg had been broken, not tended to correctly, which caused an infection to 'blow out' from his leg. This caused scarring and issues with him being able to use the leg. This doctor stated that there was nothing that could be done, and eventually would have to be put down. I wouldn't accept that." He didn't accept that his new horse would not have a life, he was determined to help Auggie.
Scott's determination continued, he went to Oregon Health and Science University, he stated, "After the X-rays and that doctor's prognosis, I then took Auggie to OHSU Veterinary College in Corvallis Oregon. There were two options. One was putting him under to see if they could straighten the leg with a metal plate, and if not then they would have to euthanize him. Again, I wouldn't accept that." Scott had now spent thousands on a horse he was told would not have a full life.
There were not a lot of options for Auggie at this time, so Scott started searching for a veterinarian to help. He continued, "Once I was given the information from OHSU, I did some research online and found a doctor in Wyoming that had been profiled in an article about a racehorse that had an injury and he performed an amputation and fitted the horse with a prosthetic. This allowed the horse to continue living a full life."
The doctor discussed the options, Scott continued, "He went over both options of the fix and the removal if it couldn't be straightened. He would not know for sure until he had him in surgery. He performed a simultaneous fetlock and pastern fusion. They used a 14-hole 4.5mm LCP (Plate) and 17 screws to accomplish the fusion. It was a long 6-hour wait to hear if they were able to straighten it or if they would have to amputate. I got the call soon after surgery that they were able to save the leg!"
"Auggie stayed at the facility for about a month total," Scott continued. "He was there for about 2 weeks post surgery and was able to be transported back home. (May 13, 2022) Radiographs had to be taken again after 90 days to monitor fusion progress."
Scott isn't able to ride all of his rescues, he is there just to give them love. Scott stated, "Some of the horses have been ridden although it has been a while since they have been." Each horse has a piece of Scott's heart, he stated, "They all bring something different to me and I have different feelings for them all, but when it comes to the horses Auggie has my complete heart. His mom, Macy, is just a sweet old girl that I adore for the two babies she had, that have given me a feeling of true purpose. They have me to depend on, and I take that seriously. Top Hat is the only actual wild horse that I ever had a hand in taming. Being able to earn his trust was a huge accomplishment for both of us. Bandit is the first living thing that I have had from the day of birth. So, from the first hours of his life he's had me here 100%. I'm their person. These bonds can't be bought."
"It was a tremendous undertaking to be able to get this surgery completed," Scott said. "There wasn't time to spare as each day he was getting worse and worse; to the point he was not able to walk on the bottom of his hoof. So, I borrowed from banks, and used credit cards to pay for it all. The loans and credit cards are all high interest, of course. It's a long road to get them paid off. I had a good friend of mine start a Go Fund Me page back when we learned we needed the surgery. The link is https://gofund.me/ce35e102. There is a savings account (1330770-00) at Fibre Federal CU in Castle Rock or donations can be mailed to 987 S. Military Rd., Winlock, WA 98596."
If you watch Scott with his horses, you will see the love they have for him. It is incredible to watch, but it's even better to see how the horses respond. They really love Scott. Scott stated, "I feel that I have a strong purpose and am here to help the animals that I can, which is why I do what I do. While I didn't intend to purchase a horse that had medical issues, once he was here, I couldn't have him put down, when I just got him to save him from being put down."