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Trapped horse rescued by firefighters, neighbors

Brianna Paulhamus, above, tries to keep Specs, a 23-year-old blind horse, calm as rescue personnel work Monday to free him from a large fiberglass tub at the family’s farm west of Quiggleville.

A blind horse trapped in a water-filled spring fiberglass tub at the Craig and Mary Paulhamus farm near Quiggleville was rescued early Monday afternoon thanks to the efforts of the Woodward Township volunteer firefighters and a neighbor who brought to the scene a tractor backhoe that was used to lift the animal to safety.

It was expected that Specs, a 23-year-old horse owned by Kelsey Gerhard, Paulhamus’ daughter, of 422 Stony Gap Road, would make a full recovery from his ordeal that began sometime Monday morning when he became struck in the large tub in Anthony Township.

“I just got home from work and was getting ready to feed the horses and trim their feet,” Gerhard said, adding that her parents have seven horses. They all came except Specs, who, although blind, always managed to respond to Gerhard’s calls.

“I knew something was wrong, so my niece, Brianna Paulhamus, went looking for him (and found him in the tub about 10:40 a.m.),” she added.

Woodward Township firefighters and Dr. Allison Dotzel, a local large animal veterinarian, along with others responded to the scene about 11 a.m. to offer whatever help was necessary.

Using an assortment of tools, firefighters took apart of a section of the tub as Brianna Paulhamus stayed close to Specs, trying to keep him calm. Specs’ head was kept clear of the water that was in the tub. Ropes and straps were used to secure the horse safely in place. Dotzel managed to sedate Specs before he was gently lifted out of the tub by a tractor backhoe and lowered to the ground,

“He has a good heart rate,” Dotzel said shortly after listening to Specs’ heart. The horse was pulled from the tub about 12:30 p.m.

It was believed the horse was trapped in the tub for only a couple of hours, Gerhard said.

“If he was trapped overnight, the veterinarian said he likely would not have survived,” the woman added.

“Something could of spooked him, causing him to run (in the direction of the tub),” Gearhard said.

“He suffered two broken ribs and has some minor cuts, likely caused by him splashing around in the tub as he tried to get out,” Gerhard said, adding that the horse also suffered some swelling around his neck, but he is swallowing and eating well, which Gerhard said were good signs.

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