On the morning of December 30, 2015, I was called by police to investigate an animal cruelty case in Miami Gardens. My team and I rushed to the scene, where we found five emaciated horses being kept in absolute squalor.


Our hearts broke when we spotted a young pony, down to skin and bone, sprawled across the dirt. She was struggling to get up, but was starved to the point that she had lost too much muscle and didn’t have the strength to stand.

The pony was dying.

There was no time to lose. We called for a vet but none could come. We raced against the clock to get the pony and the other horses to our ranch. We had to carry her on and off the trailer, but once on the soft ground she began devouring mouthfuls of grass, showing us her will to live.

This little pony wasn’t giving up.

She was willing to fight for her life, and so were we. It was then that we named her Amazing Grace.

It took a mighty effort, but we got her to her feet. We quickly prepared a stall, piling it high with soft shavings in case she collapsed. The vet evaluated her and said we’d have to take it one day at a time.


After two days, Grace still didn’t have the strength to stand unassisted, and symptoms indicated possible kidney failure. She thrashed in her stall, causing further injuries. I watched as seasoned volunteers wiped away tears. We see so many awful things, but this little pony’s struggle was heartbreaking.

Grace_sleeping_hay_12312015 Grace_sleeping_12312015

Grace’s needs exceeded what we could provide at our ranch, so on New Year’s Day we took her to Palm Beach Equine Clinic. The incredible veterinarians and staff rallied around her, and after a week of intensive care, she was healthy enough to come home. But she still needed help getting up, and staying up.

Grace was not out of the woods. If she could not stand, she would not live.

When medicine reaches its limits, it’s time for love to provide the healing.

Our youngest volunteers smothered Grace with affection and songs and lots of carrots. And that’s when…

Grace stood up on her own!

She walked shakily at first, but she followed the children… and the delicious carrots they dangled in front of her.

Grace thrived slowly but surely with the dedication of our staff and volunteers. Her road to recovery was a long one, but we’re proud to say that she is now completely healthy and ready to start the next chapter in her life with a worthy adopter. She truly is amazing.

Amazing Grace, fully rehabilitated, at the SFSPCA ranch on July 28, 2016.

This is what we do at South Florida SPCA. Horses like Grace are why I founded this rescue almost 25 years ago. I am on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day to rescue all the Graces out there who need our help.

The need is great and the costs are high. If you think horses like Grace deserve to live without abuse and cruelty, then we ask that you please join our fight. We desperately need funds to continue our work or South Florida SPCA won’t survive.

Like Amazing Grace, South Florida SPCA is not ready to die. With your help, we will fight on.

Let’s be amazing together.

By Laurie Waggoner
September 12, 2016