Both animals bear signs of neglect, and were at first skittish around their new family members — but the pony was especially withdrawn. "He was sick and just kind of stared at the ground. I’m convinced he was severely depressed," Kirk said.
Out on their pasture, Tobias was hesitant to let anyone approach him. So, instead, Kirk just lingered by quietly, allowing the pony to become acquainted with him at his own pace. That was perhaps the first time anyone had shown compassion and understanding toward Tobias. And it seems that simple gesture was what he'd been searching so long for.
"I knew I needed to get down on his level and just show him I cared for him," Kirk said. "He came up to me, and what started as me just petting him softly and reassuring him it was OK, turned into a full embrace. I just sat there for a few minutes holding him. He seemed to relax and almost fell asleep as if he knew he was safe."