Around The College

POGO the Super Pony

Pogo is a tiny pony—a “miniature” horse to be exact— with a big will to live and, apparently, a large destiny to fulfill.

He was found by a Birmingham-based equine rescue organization this past June and brought to the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine for treatment following traumatic amputation of the left hind limb. 

Shelley Jones of the Helping Horses of Alabama organization rescued Pogo when he was spotted roaming free along a highway in rural Alabama.

“The pony was in really poor condition,” Jones said. “He was essentially wild and had apparently been running loose for a long time, was filthy, malnourished, and overall, in very bad shape.”

Moreover, the little pony had been surviving on its own with a severe and terrible leg wound that had left him surviving on only three hooves.

Pogo and two other miniature horses, it was learned, had been attacked by a pack of dogs, according to Jones.

“Two of the ponies were killed in the attack,” Jones said. “Pogo had lost his left rear hoof and had been surviving for several months unattended and untreated with a severe and terrible-looking wound.”

Jones said they first believed the pony would have to be euthanized. “He was in such bad shape that we did not think he could survive,” she said. 

But Pogo’s determination and will to live soon changed their belief. “We saw that Pogo was a strong and determined fighter,” Jones said. “We were determined at that point to do whatever we could for him.” 

Pogo was evaluated by the Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery Service in June for “traumatic amputation of the left hind limb from his fetlock down to his hoof,” said Dr. Lindsey Boone, an assistant clinical professor at the AU College of Veterinary Medicine in the Department of Clinical Sciences and an equine surgeon. 

When evaluated by the equine surgery team, it was noted that the amputation had left exposed bone without adequate soft tissue protection. In order to save Pogo, faculty recommended surgical revision of the amputated limb and preparation for application of a permanent prosthesis. 

Dr. Boone and her surgical team in the J.T. Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital performed the surgery to repair Pogo’s badly damaged leg. “We removed the exposed bone, created a new skin flap to protect the amputation site and allow the site to heal properly,” she said. 

The procedure took about an hour and was successful. Pogo was fitted with a temporary prosthetic while his wound healed and, in July, he was fitted with his permanent prosthetic leg and is doing well. This little super pony is presently receiving rehabilitation treatment under the college’s Physical Rehabilitation Service. 

“Pogo was reluctant to use the prosthesis originally, but through the hard work of our Rehabilitation Service, Pogo is using the limb well,” Dr. Boone said. 

“Pogo is an amazing story,” Jones said. “I have never seen a horse fight so hard for its life. He apparently has a purpose and a reason for being alive.” 

Jones said their plans for Pogo, once he is fully recovered and rehabilitated to his prosthetic leg, will be to use him as a therapy animal. 

“We think he will make an excellent therapy animal and that he can do a lot to help people who have undergone limb amputations,” Jones said. “He will not be a pet. He has a much larger mission that that.” 

Helping Horses of Alabama is located in Bibb County. The organization was founded by Jones’ parents in 1984 and serves as a non-profit animal rescue group specializing in horses. 


The College of Veterinary Medicine invites alumni and friends to contribute to an endowed Fund for Excellence in memory of Dr. Robert Carson ’73, a long-time food animal faculty member at Auburn. 

Dr. Carson, who taught at the College for 36 years, retired Jan. 31, 2015, and passed away a few weeks later, on March 21, 2015. 

The fund, when fully endowed, will provide ongoing, annual support for the College’s food animal program, whether to help with equipment purchases, send faculty and students to professional meetings, help underwrite research, or to meet other needs. 

“Dr. Carson was a much-loved and highly influential faculty member to thousands of Auburn veterinary students,” said Dean Calvin Johnson. 

“He mentored most of our current food animal clinicians. He represented the line of our program that connected some of the most important names in food animal medicine, surgery, and theriogenology, and the college’s leadership over the past 125 years: Dr. Carson was a contemporary of Dr. Dwight Wolfe, and then before them, Dr. Hudson, Dr. Walker, Dr. Wiggins, Dr. Gibbons, Dr. Frank Woolf, Dean Sugg, back to Dean McAdory and to the start of the program with Dean Cary. 

“Dr. Carson earned an important place in Auburn history through his dedication to the College of Veterinary Medicine, and we are grateful for the personal and professional standards he set for our program.” 

To contribute to the Robert Carson Memorial Fund for Excellence, send a check made payable to the Auburn University Foundation to Diana Turner, 317 South College Street, Auburn AL 36849. All gifts are tax-deductible. 



Since finding and rescuing a baby bald eagle that had fallen from its nest on their farm property near Phenix City, Ala., the Bickerstaffs of Columbus, Ga., have had a passion for the rescue and rehabilitation program at the Southeastern Raptor Center (SRC) at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. 

“Our love of Auburn goes even further back,” said Cathy Bickerstaff, whose husband, Rennie, is a 1970 alumnus of what is now Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business. 

“We have long been supporters of the business college and athletics,” Mrs. Bickerstaff said. “But ever since Andrew (Hopkins) came out and rescued that baby bald eagle, we have loved the Southeastern Raptor Center and supported it as well.” 

In recognition and to show appreciation for their support, the Bickerstaffs were invited to assist with the pre-game eagle flight to open Auburn’s 2017 football season against Georgia Southern. 

“We really appreciate the support that the Bickerstaffs have provided to the center,” said Hopkins, a raptor specialist and one of the key SRC trainers central to the pre-game eagle flight program. “Asking them to be a part of the eagle flight was our way of saying thank you.” 

“We were thrilled to be asked to be invited to release Spirit prior to the Georgia Southern game,” Mrs. Bickerstaff said. “And we are so proud of the raptor program and of the wonderful veterinary college at Auburn for the work that they do and the recognition that they bring to Auburn.” 

The Bickerstaffs also were the bidding winners of the jess and lure auction for that game. 

“That added a permanent memento—along with the honor of participating in the eagle flight,” Mrs. Bickerstaff said.