R.D. Bhardwaj “Noorpuri”
We often watch and read many news of inhuman behaviour and cruelty being inflicted on innocent people by some terrorists and anti-national elements in various parts of the world, at the same time there is no dearth of people who go out of way to save even birds and animals trapped in very difficult and dangerous situations, as their hearts are full of love, compassion and mercy even for the strangers. Their concern about their own life does not bother them much, as they work under the dictum framed by God, “Do good unto others, I shall take care of you.”
Exhausted and mud-splattered, Nicole Graham continued clinging to her horse, Astro trapped for three hours so that she could keep his head high in a race against the tide and also to ensure him that she is very much with him and that the animal should not get disheartened and die of some depression caused by calamity of nature.
Miss Graham had been out on an afternoon ride with her daughter along the coast near Geelong, South of Melbourne, when the 18 years old Astro suddenly sank into the mud. It struggled very hard to come out of that marshy lands, but the more he struggled, the more he got sunk into the mud and thereby made his life all the more vulnerable to death.
Before she could shout a warning, the smaller horse, her daughter Paris was riding, was also partially swallowed up by the mud. After dragging herself through the mire, Miss Graham helped her daughter Paris to creep out to the firmer ground. However, Astro remained stuck fast and her efforts to pull him free only resulted in herself too sinking deeper and deeper upto her waist into the foul smelling mud.
As the girl, Paris ran to their car and tried to get some help, Miss Graham stayed with her horse, embracing him around his neck. She courageously clung on to his neck, caressing and comforting him not to lose heart, but from her inside, she too was terrified that she and her horse may not be freed before the tide came in.
Suddenly her daughter Paris saw a farmer riding on his tractor and she asked him to help them to free her mother and their horse. When the farmer came there, he too realised that he alone can’t help them to come out; so he called on a rescuer’s team of veterinary doctor and their three assistants. After three ‘terrifying’ hours, the rescuers managed to pull out the horse Astro and Miss Graham from the mud, with the help of that farmer’s tractor.
Miss Graham, who owns 10 horses and runs an equine dentistry business, told the Geelong Advertiser as to how their peaceful afternoon ride had turned into a big terror and nightmare. She said: “It was really very terrifying. It was also heartbreaking to see my horse getting exhausted and struggling to come out of the quagmire of mud, but all in vain.”
The combined rescue effort ultimately paid off. Within minutes to spare before the tide water reached them, Astro – who had been sedated by vet Stacey Sullivan – was dragged from the mud, with the help of the farmer’s tractor.
“It was a race against the tide and fortunately we won,” said Lieut Buckle, who praised everyone’s efforts, including those of Miss Sullivan whose work in sedating the horse, Astro made it easier to pull him free. Miss Sullivan said, “Astro was dehydrated but had coped well, as her owner lady, Miss Nicole Graham kept assuring, caressing and embracing him till all of us reached there.”
“We have been able to save the animal because its owner herself was present there, and without her presence, the chances of survival would have been a lot lower,” she said.