This animal rescue center owner was called to collect a neglected horse but she did not expect that she would develop a deep emotional bond with the poor animal.
We mostly hear cases of dogs and cats getting abandoned by their neglectful owners. Most of the time these are aging animals who require special care and their owners no longer want to take that responsibility. We also hear about domesticated animals being kept in terrible living conditions and getting routinely abused until they get rescued by kind souls. However, this story is about a poor horse getting rescued by Payton Christian—who goes by @paytonchristian on TikTok—who documented the whole rescue and rehabilitation story of the horse who was later named Thaddeus.
Payton, who runs a nonprofit anime rescue center, posted a video back in 2021 that she labeled as "worst rescue case to date." It piqued people's curiosity about what went behind the rescue of a helpless animal. Ever since then, Payton has been routinely updating her followers about the brilliant progress made by Thaddeus. In the first video, Payton recalled how she was called to collect a horse who was suffering in a terrible condition.
The horse was abandoned at a barn and since Payton was taking a day off on the occasion of her grandpa's death anniversary, she suggested the callers contact local law enforcement for help. But she eventually got involved in the rescue mission and when she arrived at the location after a long drive, Payton wasn't expecting to witness the terrible sight. "When they said he had been abandoned in a barn," she continued, "I wasn’t exactly expecting this. The owners were still feeding him but he had been locked in this stall for years, as you can tell from the buildup. And he had not left that stall for at least 10 years"
The video is hard to watch as we can see the insides of the barn piled with trash bags and the horse's front hooves have grown long enough to curl around themselves. "I contacted our vets immediately and told them we were en route with a very bad neglect case," Payton said. Soon after Payton made a second video to update her viewers about the condition of the horse which blew up and received over 50 million views because of the significant improvement the horse made.
"We didn’t really know what to expect out of his vet visit," she said while recording the horse and her journey to the vet. "We knew he had absolutely horrible feet and along with terrible body condition. We just knew that he needed help." The vets conducted their tests on Thaddeus which included performing a blood panel and x-rays of his hooves. The vets were able to file down nearly 10 pounds of Thaddeus' overgrown hooves which gave the horse some relief.
In a third follow-up video, the horse looks unrecognizable after getting a sleek haircut and he looks way healthier than when he was discovered first by Payton. She also posted a clip of Thaddeus reclining with her in a field. "I never imagined how important this special horse would be to me. He came into my life at one of my darkest points," Payton wrote about the clip. "We both needed each other, we just didn’t know it at the time."
The animal-lover part of the TikTok community became a fan of Thaddeus the horse and they routinely left cheerful comments for him and Payton. @winchester83 wrote: "The fact he just followed you on that trailer. He has full trust in you & knew he was being saved. Precious baby." In her final video about Thaddeus which was posted on October 2021, Payton revealed that he passed away "comfortably." Payton mourned, "He was able to know that he was loved and cared for. He got to spend his last few weeks comfortably in an open field and receiving all the care we could give him."
Netizens rushed in to express their love for Thaddeus on the post. @mhogan929 commented: "Even though I’m bawling my eyes right now, I’m glad you guys found him and he found peace and happiness before passing away. So sorry." @wefourbs commented: "I am so sorry for your loss. You gave him the greatest gift of all. He knew nothing but pure love in his last weeks please be kind to yourself." We are relieved to know that the horse got to experience the kindness he deserved from the very beginning at the last days of his life.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 1, 2023. It has since been updated.