CURRITUCK COUNTY, N.C. - A therapy horse in North Carolina is getting a second chance at life thanks to people from across the country.
Angie Walker rescued Ginger four years ago after she was abandoned by her owners. Although Ginger was underfed and not cared for, Walker took her home.
"There was something in her eyes, I couldn’t leave her," said Walker. "We brought her home and gave her a couple weeks of TLC and time to recover and gain some weight."
Ginger quickly became apart of the family, and developed a special bond with Walker's son.
"My son who has autism just clicked with her they just had a special connection," she explained. "It was just amazing to see the difference between him and her reaction with him. It warmed our heart."
Ginger's ability to connect with special needs children was quickly realized by Walker.
"Over the last three to four years we started competing with the Special Olympics. We love to share her with the other athletes as well so it’s not just my son that gets to ride her and work with her," said Walker.
At the 2017 Special Olympics games Ginger was named "Horse of the Year".
"Everyone kind of realized how great of a horse she was and especially for therapeutic riding," said Walker.
Last month, Ginger began to not act like herself. According to Walker, she wasn't eating and was laying down more than usual. After being checked out by a vet she was diagnosed with a disease called Right Dorsal Colitis. According to Walker, the disease is the result of inflammation in the intestine.
"Because of the inflammation the protein in her feed was leaking out of her and not doing its job," Walker explained. "She needed a plasma transfusion ASAP or she wasn’t going to make it."
According to Walker's vet, the treatment was going to cost between $3,000 and $6,000. Something Walker could not afford on her own.
"I felt horrible that I didn't have the money to save her. It broke my heart and my thought was its not fair to her."
Walker took to the internet and created a Go Fund Me page. In less than a week, more than half of Walker's goal was met. Which was enough money for Ginger to be given the plasma transplant in Raleigh.
"I'm so grateful because I couldn't have gotten her to Raleigh without the help of these people who just really really stepped up to the plate to help us out," said Walker.
Some of the donations were from Walker's family, but most were from strangers.
"We were overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity that people have shown us. It is just amazing, I can’t say enough thank yous," said Walker.
Days after the transplant, Ginger is back up and moving, but she still has a long way to go.
"She takes three medications a day, her feedings have to be broken up into four separate feedings, she cannot have any hay for three to six months," said Walker.
While the road to recovery will be difficult, Walker is hopeful that she will make a full recovery and be ready to train for the Special Olympics this summer.