BERLIN – June Moreau’s horses know her schedule.
Each and every morning she finds the two mares, Sadie and Chrissy, waiting for her as she heads out to feed them just before 7 a.m.
When she didn’t see them Monday morning, she knew right away something was wrong. Nevertheless, her heart sank when she found the pair deep in the woods on her 42-acre property. Sadie was submerged in a tax ditch, stuck in mud nearly up to her neck, as Chrissy stood nearby.
“That silt settles and it’s like quicksand,” she said, describing the array of ditches and culverts surrounding the Timmonstown Branch. “I knew we were going to have to put her down.”
Moreau was ecstatic when a handful of concerned neighbors and emergency responders proved her wrong.
“I didn’t know there were people like that around anymore,” the 73-year-old Moreau said. “There’s still goodness in people.”
According to Moreau, she called friends who lived nearby, Kim and Walt Widgeon, when she found the horses.
“She called me in a panic,” Kim recalled.
They enlisted the help of family members AJ Robertazzi and Richard Widgeon and took a tractor over to see what they could do. It was Kim who called 911 when she saw how serious the situation was.
“We needed help,” she said.
While Walt and Moreau’s granddaughter Victoria waded into the ditch to try to get straps around Sadie to pull her out with a tractor, they hadn’t had any success by the time a member of the Berlin Fire Company and a deputy from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office arrived.
It was the emergency responders who suggested using a “handcuff knot” around the horse’s legs so she could be pulled out by a rope attached to the tractor.
As the volunteers kept Sadie’s head above water, Moreau drove the tractor forward. She says when she felt the horse’s body come up out of the mud she was scared to look back.
“I could hardly move,” she said. “I thought her body had been pulled apart.”
The mare was in one piece, however, though she was shivering with cold after hours in the frigid mud. They covered her with blankets and called a veterinarian. Meanwhile, her companion Chrissy continued to wait loyally by her side.
It was only then that anyone thought to take a picture.
“The whole thing was like something you’d see in a movie,” Moreau said. “There are only three pictures though because everybody was working so hard.”
In spite of the ordeal, Sadie was given a favorable prognosis. By Wednesday, the only evidence that she’d been through anything out of the ordinary was a scrape on her stomach.
“The vet said it was a miracle,” Moreau said. “The miracle came from the people that assisted.”