Meet Miss Pickle, the miniature horse

9 years ago

    SMYRNA, Maine — “She thinks she is a dog,” said Brandy Clark, stroking Miss Pickle’s bristly mane. “If she is in the yard and someone comes up to me she doesn’t think should, she puts her ears back and her teeth out and bumps them.”
This 5-year-old 27-inch black mini was bought by Clark and her mother, Luetta Goodall in Smyrna, after finding her in a for sale pen in Maine.

“It was apparent she was sick and was not even trying to defend herself from being beat up by another pony,” said Goodall. “She just stood there, looking at me. She was sick and so very sad.”
Miss Pickle not only had pneumonia, but she also had strangles.
“What a scary diagnosis as it can spread so quickly to others, so we had to keep her quarantined,” Goodall said. “Some days, Miss Pickle had to have her temperature taken four to six times a day as it would spike so high we thought she would lose her battle to live.”
Miss Pickle had a deep slice on her neck and she could not even put her head down to drink.
Goodall said after “four flying trips” to the veterinarian they use — about 110-mile round trip — Miss Pickle turned the corner.
“It took constant care for about three months to get her back to health,” said Goodall.
Miss Pickle is among at least 10 other large animal rescues at “A Life Line” farm in Smyrna. Clark and Goodall have a pot belly pig, horses and donkeys.
“We are a unique large animal rescue/rehabilitation center located in northern Maine to rescue, rehabilitate (health and behavioral issues) in hopes of re-homing animals,” said Goodall. “We specialize in large animals, however, we are willing and capable of rescuing any animal in need.”
With horses that could not walk because their shoes had not been taken care of to undernourished and afraid, “A Life Line” has revived each animal. “A Life Line” gets no money from the state or any other organization. It is self-sufficient.
“We provide a safe and therapeutic home to animals that have been abandoned or broken through cruelty and mistreatment,” Goodall said. “We provide rehabilitation through hands on connectivity of diverse groups of people such as school groups, individuals with disabilities, elderly, family units and others.”
Last year, Rob Pelton and his family of Littleton became aware of “A Life Line” through an online auction.
“I was invited to participate in an online auction last year to help raise money for the care of the animals that they had rescued,” he said. “Fortunately, I was able to win some unique items that made great Christmas gifts, while knowing that the money raised was going to support a good cause.”
Pelton, whose sponsorship began three weeks ago, will keep supporting Miss Pickle on behalf of his daughter Emily for a year.
“Emily has worked extremely hard and has accomplished a lot throughout the school year that I thought this would be a perfect gift,” he said. “Emily has an incredible heart when it comes to animals. She has been previously active in 4-H, learned to ride horses at Horse Play Farms and has a deep sense of responsibility when it comes to the care of animals.”
However, Emily was hesitant at first with the whole idea, but that quickly changed after visiting at the farm.
“We recently had the privilege to meet Brandy Clark who is an integral part of ‘A Life Line’,” said Pelton. “Brandy afforded the opportunity for Emily and the rest of the family to visit the animals that “A Life Line” cares for. It didn’t take long for Emily and Miss Pickle to bond. I have not seen my daughter smile like that in a long time. Now, Emily is extremely excited for the end of school to arrive as she wants to return and help Brandy and the rest of the people at ‘A life Line’ with all the animals.”
“A Life Line” is a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit organization.
“Our goals are to be open to families to come and have fun with the animals,” said Goodall. “The animals love the attention and each one has a unique story that will have a positive impact on many, we believe.”
The Peltons were not unfamiliar with large animals.
“I come from the Midwest where I have extended family who raise a variety of large animals, including horses and cows,” said Pelton. “Memories of going out to the farms is something I carry with me to this day. I have an uncle and an older brother who both pursued careers as veterinarians, so caring for the well-being of animals runs in the family.”
“A Life Line” goal is to increase public awareness and familiarity regarding humane treatment of animals,” said Goodall. “We want to promote and make the public aware of animal therapy for people with developmental disabilities, while providing an inclusive environment to foster learning, growth and overall health for both people and animals.”
Goodall said that 100 percent of money raised through “A Life Line” goes straight into operations, including veterinary costs and equipment.
“You can be assured that every dollar donated goes directly to help feed, house or medically aid the animals,” she said.
The average daily cost of one of the rescues range between $10-$50.
“This cost includes veterinary exams, medical treatments, needed vaccinations and supplies, including food,” said Goodall. “An animal with a serious health issue can cost us much more than this. Like most rescue groups, our primary financial support comes from individual donations.”
The Pelton family has always been animal friendly and continue to support such agencies as “A Life Line.”
“I have been fortunate enough to own many special pets throughout my life,” said Pelton. “I believe that having pets can help a person in ways that cannot be measured solely by their physical presence, but by the emotional bond that forms between the animal and the owner.
“Anyone who knows, or researches, the people at ‘A Life Line’ will quickly realize that they are average people trying to accomplish an overwhelming task,” he added. “Their efforts exemplify that there are people with big hearts trying to help those animals who would have most likely never had a second chance.”
For Clark and her mother, as well as the Peltons, animals are just part of the family.
“When my kids were born, and as they began to grow up, they began to understand the idea that pets are more like members of the family,” said Pelton. “They realized the importance of taking care of the animals because oftentimes, they cannot take care of themselves.”
Many people would love to own an animal, but because of allergies, space or other reasons cannot own one. But, “A Life Line” offers virtual fostering of animals.
“We understand that many of you don’t have the space to foster a large animal, that’s OK,” said Goodall. “Consider being a ‘virtual’ foster family of one of our animals in need. You can sponsor an animal of your choice and we will post your name plus any personal comments made. You can come to the farm any time to visit, feed, brush or just interact. If you can’t make it to the farm, that’s OK, we will send you photos and videos of your foster animal.”
“I decided to support ‘A Life Line,’ as I believe that not only does it benefit the animals, but it benefits people as well. In a day and age where children are routinely attached to their electronic devices, the ability to get out and bond with animals is definitely something that is worth experiencing as a parent.”
“For those who wish to get involved, either by sponsoring ‘A Life Line’ animal, or assisting them with projects on the farm, it is definitely worth the experience for the family,” Pelton added. “As for me, the only thing I ever expected to get out of this experience is the ability to help a worthwhile organization and allowing the opportunity for my children to experience the benefits that animals of all sizes can bring to someone.”
For more information visit “A Life Line” on Facebook or go to