In a corral just a short distance from downtown Ojai, a beautiful white horse is munching away on some grass.
The horse is named Tommy, and he’s one of the victims of the destructive Thomas brush fire, which ravaged parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. He wandered around for days during the fire, dirty, hungry, and apparently abandoned by his owner.
Greg Cooper is the Director of Community Outreach for the Human Society of Ventura County, where Tommy has been living since he was found December 13th. He says horse was discovered warning around the outskirts of Santa Paula. He was dirty, and starving.
It was a chaotic time for the Ojai based non-profit. They took in more than 300 animals as the fire spread through Ventura County, and then into Santa Barbara County.
Cooper says they were sheltering most of the animals for evacuees. There were also a handful of strays. But, once the threat from the fire eased, all but one of the animals were returned home, or went to new owners. No one stepped up to claim the horse, which Humane Society staff had named Tommy.
You might lose a hamster, or a cat. But a horse? It’s considered likely that it was abandoned. The orphaned horse soon became a favorite among staff and volunteers at the Humane Society, as they nursed him back to health.
Christy Tracy, an equine specialist with the Humane Society, says the horse thinks it’s a big lap dog. She says while he doesn’t like other horses, he loves people, and can even do tricks like sitting, and rolling over.
Tracy says Tommy is probably in his early 20’s, so he’s sort of an equine senior citizen. She says he would be great company for someone who loves horses, and has a nice pasture. After more than three months of recovery, a vet says he’s healthy enough to be adopted. Cooper says it’s expected he’ll be adopted quickly.
It will take someone with a pasture, and the willingness to pay for a special thyroid medication Tommy needs to take on a regular basis. Despite the ordeal he went through during the fire, the hope is Tommy’s story will have a happy ending, with a loving family giving him a new home.
And, it will be happy ending for the Ventura County Humane Society, finally placing the last of the animals it housed during the Thomas Fire.