A prematurely born nurse mare foal lies on the cedar-covered floor of the Last Chance Corral foal barn on April 11, 2009. The Last Chance Corral is a nonprofit organization run by Victoria Goss. Goss and her crew take in nurse mare foals, foals born simply to die, and try to give them a chance at life against long odds. Many are born premature and suffer from a myriad of diseases. While it is impossible to know when this foal was born, Victoria Goss and her crew at Last Chance estimate the foal was just hours old when they rescued it and was probably three weeks premature.
Last Chance Corral volunteers Stacey Rourke and Leah Nairn tube feed the nurse mare foal a special formula. Because the foal was taken from it’s mother so early, it never learned how to drink. The foal would starve to death without regular tube feedings.
Stacey Rourke sets a new intravenous line in the nurse mare foal. Many nurse mare foals are susceptible to deadly viruses because they never receive their mother’s colostrum milk, which is designed to build up their immunities. Fluids in the IV can only do so much before the virus takes it’s toll on the foal’s underdeveloped body.
Stacey Rourke tries to set a new intravenous line in the nurse mare foal, but after setting several over the days the foal has been at the Last Chance Corral she finds it harder to find suitable veins.
In the early morning hours of April 12, 2009, Victoria Goss attempts to examine the nurse mare foal to see what progress it’s made overnight and give it another tube feeding.
As the sun sets on April 12, 2009, Goss is forced to make a decision on the foal’s life. Seeing no other alternative, loads her rifle as she prepares to shoot the nurse mare foal she believes will not recover from a virus that is eating away at the foal’s insides. With her veterinarian unavailable, the rifle is Goss’ only option.
Goss walks to the barn to move the foal outside to be put down.
Victoria Goss (left) and a Last Chance Corral volunteer walk the foal outside the barn to put it down.
Victoria Goss (left) and Lauren Ross (right) prepare a spot to put down the foal while a Last Chance volunteer removes the warming blanket the foal has been wearing since it arrived at Last Chance.
Goss instructs Ross on where to place the foal before she puts it down.
Ross holds the foal still while Goss prepares herself to put the foal down. Goss spends the final moments of the foal’s life alone with it. She says her last goodbyes and after a brief moment of silence pulls the trigger.
The nurse mare foal lies in a wheelbarrow in the work shed at Last Chance Corral. Any time Goss has to put a foal down herself she and her team will will perform an autopsy to educate themselves on what caused the foal’s death. Occasionally Goss will keep the foal’s pelt after one passes.