When Dream first came to the Skydog Sanctuary in July 2018, Clare Staples couldn’t help but cry for the neglected horse. The ranch, which has locations in California and Colorado, serves as a shelter for wild mustangs and burros rescued from abusive owners.
Clare, the organization’s founder and president, said Dream was the “most emaciated, skinniest horse” they ever had to take in. Upon seeing her deplorable condition, she promised she would do everything to restore the mustang’s health and make her trust humans again.
Clare knew it won’t be easy considering how vulnerable the horse was, but she made it her personal mission. In her heart, she believed the horse was a fighter.
“You could see how weak she was, but you could see a tiny spark of life in her eyes,” she told The Dodo. “And that little light just grew and grew and grew every day.”
Dream arrived at the ranch with her bones sticking out against her skin. She was also severely undernourished, which made the simple task of walking difficult. Clare and the people at Skydog Sanctuary teamed up to give her the best care possible.
Named the “Dream Team,” the staff who watched over the mustang took all the precautions they could. They put up a board and wrote the schedule of her feeds for easy monitoring.
Once the sun came up, Clare would get out of bed and visit Dream in her paddock. Eventually, the horse started anticipating her morning visits, and she would always wait for her by the fence to greet her and the other volunteers. In the years she’s been rescuing horses, it was the first time she felt so connected to another animal.
“It was probably the biggest connection I’ve ever had with a horse. It almost felt like we were going through this together,” she explained.
By her sixth month at the ranch, Dream began looking a lot better. She came back to life, and the volunteers were there to witness the remarkable steps in her recovery. The horse regained her energy, and at first, she didn’t quite know what to do with it.
Clare said she was somewhat hard to contain for a time, but they just let her get her sweet, goofy personality all out. Her incredible transformation inspired everyone who knew about her past.
“To watch her come back to life from near death has been a privilege,” Clare wrote. “Honestly most everyone who meets her starts crying because it’s a very emotional thing to stand in her presence and know what she has endured. She is our hero.”
Dream’s ranch life only got better when she met Joe Pesci, a donkey rescued from Texas. From the first time the mustang met him, she became “madly in love.”
“It was like her entire life now revolved around Joe. Suddenly, he had this helicopter mom that would follow him everywhere. She just loved him,” Clare described their relationship.
Based on her companionship with Joe, Clare believes Dream is a bit of a caretaker herself. While she knows all horses have stories, she can’t deny that there’s something extraordinary about this mustang.
“There’s something about Dream’s spirit that just inspires us to rescue more and to do it for a Dream, because she loves her life so much. It’s a gift that we want to give other horses,” Clare said.
“Dream did so much to change me inside, to almost open my heart even wider, to kind of fill me with more compassion and love towards these horses and just vow to do more to help them,” she continued.
Thanks to Clare and the Skydog team, the days when Dream was a scared, lonely, and weak horse are long gone. Now, she is loving her life more than ever!
Watch the video below to learn more about Dream’s incredible transformation and her lovely friendship with Joe.
Click here to help the Skydog Sanctuary save more animals in need.