An accident first brought Sunk the horse to us many years ago, when SPANA Jordan Country Director Dr Ghazi saved the day. Read how a twist of fate reunited the vet and horse, changing the fate of this working animal for the better.
Nearly five years ago, a chestnut horse was brought to the SPANA Jordan centre in a bad state. The horse’s owner explained to our Country Director, Dr Ghazi, that the horse, named Sunk, had become stuck on a chain hanging in his stable. As Sunk pulled away in a panic, the anxious horse broke his jaw and was in shock – he desperately needed Dr Ghazi’s immediate care.
Dr Ghazi gave the frightened animal painkillers and set to work fixing the horse’s broken jaw with a wire, creating a brace against which the bone could heal. Sunk was expected to make a full recovery but to ensure that the horse got the best care possible, Dr Ghazi asked Sunk’s owner to bring him back in a few months to make sure the jaw had healed properly.
Dr Ghazi intended to remove the wire at that point and give the horse a clean bill of health. But sadly, the owner never returned with Sunk and Dr Ghazi soon learned that the animal had been sold at auction. Without any way to contact Sunk’s new owner, Dr Ghazi was unable to check in on the horse’s progress, though he often thought about the animal over the years, hoping Sunk had recovered.
Over the next few years, Dr Ghazi continued treating thousands of animals across Jordan but never saw the same chestnut horse again. That is, until the day that an elderly horse was brought to the SPANA centre suffering from a painful hernia. The animal was unable to work and it was clear to Dr Ghazi that he was in intolerable pain.
While treating the hernia, Dr Ghazi gave this new patient a full examination and was surprised to see that the horse had received veterinary help before – a wire to repair a broken jaw. Upon closer inspection, Dr Ghazi recognised his own work and that this was his patient Sunk from several years before!
Dr Ghazi was delighted to be reunited with his patient. He realised Sunk would need several months off from work to recover from the hernia operation – something that would be very difficult for his owner, who needed a healthy horse to bring in his harvest and feed his family.
Dr Ghazi knew that the animal might risk reinjury if worked too soon and came up with a solution – he would buy Sunk from the owner, giving the animal time to rest and recover at the SPANA centre.
With a few months of recuperation, Sunk had healed completely and had a new found energy that Dr Ghazi had not seen in the animal before. Seeing how patient and gentle the 22-year-old horse was, Dr Ghazi realised that Sunk would be a perfect addition to the animals at the SPANA education centre.
Within weeks of recovery, Sunk was enjoying the attention and affections of visiting classes who come to learn about the importance of compassion and respect for animals. The children brush Sunk, feed him and learn how to treat working animals with greater kindness under the careful guidance of Dr Ghazi and the staff.
Most recently, an excited class of schoolchildren were brought to the SPANA education centre to visit the centre’s resident donkeys, horses, rabbits and guinea pigs. Sunk was the star of the show, revelling in the attention the children gave to him. Dr Ghazi showed children like five-year-old Bana how to brush Sunk’s mane gently and the patient horse seemed happy to oblige.
Bana was delighted and enthused: ‘The horse is big but I pet him – it’s my first time touching a horse!’
Thanks to Dr Ghazi and the team at the Jordan centre, Sunk has been saved from pain multiple times and can look forward to living out the remainder of his years in comfort. What’s more, his gentle nature has meant hundreds of children have enjoyed meeting him and gaining confidence in handling working animals. Sunk is changing hearts and minds among the next generation of Jordan’s working animal owners, helping to create a better future for both children and animals alike.