We made it into Salyersville without too much excitement- especially compared to our morning fast forward descent off the mountain! We did however see a heartbreaking scene. As we rode past one of the exits off the highway, there were two sweet looking, house-pet type dogs, just sitting there at the exit in the road looking confused and frightened. It was obvious that someone had dropped them off. Being that we are on horseback, we couldn’t just put them in the car and take them to the pound where they would at least be safe, fed, and watered. So we did the next best thing and flagged down the first police car that passed.
I told him about the dogs and asked that he would call the pound. The look on his face spoke volumes. He was willing, but it was clearly old news to him that dogs would be abandoned on the highway. This was confirmed later by our Salyersville hosts that indeed, it is a very common occurrence in the area to see abandoned pets and dogs hit on the highway. We even talked to one guy who rescued a dog who he watched with his own eyes get dumped out of a car and it was chasing its owners car down the road.
It just breaks my heart to see pets abandoned with my own eyes and find out that it happens so much that people are calloused to it. It’s cruel and doesn’t just break my heart, but also the pets’ hearts. It would be so much more responsible to take them to the pound if you can’t take care of them anymore. And maybe this sounds heartless, but I’d rather have the owner put the pet down fast and painless than to dump it in the highway for it to get run over or starve and die a slow painful death. It’s heartless and cruel. It’s obvious that people are used to dogs being in the road around here just by looking around, too. We see at least a couple dogs a day with broken legs. Our hunch is that Bella was dropped off somewhere too, and it just makes us hug her tighter and thankful that we can at least give a good home to one lost, scared, and confused pet.
We had met a friend of Rondal’s a few days ago, and he was certain that Rondal would host us at his barn for a rest for the horses. Sure enough, he was right. It wasn’t long after we got there, though, that we realized that Tiska did not make it full speed ahead down the mountain unscathed. She was slightly limping on her left hind (same one she hurt in California when she fell off the cliff), and she had a 1/4 inch cut right in the center of her eye- not good. We made a call to Rood and Riddle in Lexington for some advice about the eye and they comforted us that those injuries usually heal well. We just have to put antibiotic eye ointment in her eye 2-4 times a day until it is healed. That’s encouraging news for something that doesn’t look very good. Her ankle will heal- we will probably just have to stay a couple extra days to rest it. Good thing we were stopping for a rest anyhow.
In the meantime, we have met several nice people including John and Ashley who have made sure we are fed and feel welcome, and Amy who put us in touch with the local media and Added Touch Beauty Salon who trimmed my hair. Then there’s the sheriff and other local business owners who donated any food we wanted from Lee’s Famous Recipe, Dairy Queen, and the Exxon gas station. Plus we met Sarah who hooked us up with a donated dentist appointment by Doctor Higgins of Connelley and Higgins Dentistry in Salyersville. The dentist appointment was a huge blessing as we have not had our teeth cleaned since before we left home. But we were diagnosed with a healthy smile and no cavities! Yaaay!
So despite the rough start getting to Salyersville, the people here have been amazingly supportive and kind. As soon as Tiska if better enough to leave, we are very much looking forward to the next week of riding which will get us very close to the eastern border of Kentucky!