In the News
When Charmer walked into the middle of her recent "coming-out" party, she had little time to greet her guests. Because she was too busy grazing on grass.
Still, that didn't stop a crowd of volunteers and well-wishers from visiting S.C. Coastal Animal Rescue and Education Sanctuary (S.C.-CARES) last weekend to celebrate the American quarterhorse's recovery from foot surgery and the completion of her brand-new barn. The party included a drawing for an S.C.-CARES gift basket and mementos for all the volunteers who helped build Charmer's new barn.
Cindy Hedrick, S.C.-CARES co-founder, couldn't believe her eyes when she helped release Charmer into her paddock for the first time since the horse's surgery in January.
"Isn't she beautiful?" Hedrick said, watching Charmer break into a gallop. "We've never been able to see her run and prance like that."
Charmer spent six weeks on barn rest after traveling to Shambley Equine Clinic in Summerville to undergo Palmar Digital Neurectomy (also called "nerving" or "denerving"). The surgery, which severed the nerves to her painful front right foot, has given the horse a new freedom of movement.
S.C.-CARES co-founder Skip Yeager added that Charmer will have to be fitted every six weeks for a special shoe designed to take the pressure off her affected foot. Apart from that, though, Yeager said Charmer will get the chance to "be a normal horse now."
"Being normal" will include running, walking and prancing in the paddock attached to the new barn. The three-stall barn came together in under two months, thanks to efforts by five local volunteers -- Hank Winter, Warren Scherrer, Bob Howell, David Norris and Gerald Merschdorf. According to Yeager, Dawson Lumber provided discounted barn materials, Thomas Supply of Georgetown supplied the power line and Georgetown Paint provided 11 gallons of paint.
Gerald Merschdorf, a Wedgefield resident, said he decided to volunteer his services after reading an article about Charmer that appeared in the Jan. 11 edition of the Georgetown Times.
"I saw the article in the paper and I was here the next morning," he said. Overall, it's taken about seven weeks to finish the barn, which still needs a coat of paint.
Merschdorf's wife Billie, too, became involved in Charmer's life. Billie Merschdorf, who said she and her husband are "Charmer's grandparents," volunteers four to five days a week at the sanctuary. She walks Charmer, brushes her, feeds her and cleans her feet -- and does it all, she said, out of love.
"She's just been a charm. I love her to death," she said, adding that the charm attached to Charmer's bridle was a present "from her grandparents."
At her party, Charmer garnered a lot of attention, but Yeager explained she's not the only horse in the paddock anymore. Baby, a brood mare 16 to 18 years old, has seen Charmer through the stall window and got to run with her for the first time last weekend at Charmer's coming-out party.
"They seem to tolerate each other, but Baby's very possessive of Charmer," Yeager said. "She paces at the edge of the fence when we move her away."
Now the two horses will be able to walk side by side in the paddock and new barn.
Hedrick said she couldn't be more pleased with Charmer's new life.
"When we got her she was already in so much pain. There's a picture of her from then lying on her side and looking sad," Hedrick said. "Now she's up and going. She's done so beautifully."