One of the most uplifting story of the past few weeks has reached a heartbreaking end: Turbo, the mini horse who warmed hearts after receiving his own wheelchair for the first time, has died unexpectedly.
Turbo struggled with mobility issues since birth. He was born with two luxating patellas, meaning his kneecaps were stuck at incorrect angles, leaving him unable to support weight on his hind legs, according to a release from Walkin’ Pets.
He was nearly euthanized — but was thankfully spared after being taken in by Road to Refuge Farm Sanctuary in North Haven, Connecticut.
Co-founder Megan Pereira is a mixed animal vet tech with a special place in her heart for disabled farm animals.
“I lean towards the special needs ones, the broken ones, the really medical intensive cases,” Megan said.
Not only did the sanctuary save Turbo’s life, but they began searching for a way to let Turbo run free like a normal horse, despite his disability.
After taking care of Turbo’s medical needs, she teamed up with Walkin’ Pets, an organization dedicated to supplying mobility devices to injured and disabled animals, who heard about Turbo’s story and stepped in to help.
They traveled to the farm and fitted Turbo with a customized wheelchair, hoping it would help the young horse walk again. In an instant, Turbo’s life transformed.
“The minute we buckled him into his cart, he took off running!! He did amazing,” Megan said.
“Seeing Turbo ‘walk’ before any assistance and dragging his legs to being in his cart – I almost started crying. I am not a crier, but I almost started crying. He was running, bucking – it was all very exciting.”
“Turbo is an amazing little man,” Megan told the New Haven Register. “He has the cutest and most fiery personality ever. He truly has a will to live, and when we saw that in him, we knew we had to help him.”
Turbo’s unexpected death
For a few weeks, Turbo was able to finally run free, knowing a normalcy and freedom he had so long been denied. But sadly, his beautiful life recently came to a too-soon end.
On Monday, the sanctuary announced with a heavy heart that Turbo had suddenly passed away.
“I honestly am in shock, and disbelief,” Megan wrote on Instagram. He is gone. I got a distressed call from his doctors this afternoon that Turbo coded out of nowhere.”
The shocking news came abruptly, as Turbo had just had an “amazing weekend” grazing outside, and had shown positive signs on all his medical tests.
But suddenly, the horse’s heart stopped. Doctors performed CPR unsuccessfully. “Despite their best efforts, they could not get his heart beating again. Honestly, I’m numb. I never in a million years could’ve guessed that this would happen.”
“I asked over and over, what went wrong. They do not know. It could’ve been a drug reaction, a delayed anesthesia reaction, a freak accident. But we are ordering a necropsy to get to the bottom of this.”
While the circumstances of his sudden death are still unclear, we can take solace in the fact that Turbo defied the odds, got to run on his own and inspired people around the world.
“May you be free of pain and run wild and free,” Megan wrote.
How very sad — rest in peace, Turbo. Run free over the rainbow bridge 💔🌈🐎
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