5 min read

Wild Horses Captured By Government Refuse To Leave Each Other's Sides

"The two are so bonded ... and never leave each other for one second."

Not long ago, it seemed luck had run out for a wild horse named Hawk.

Hawk was just one of 850 wild horses who were rounded up in Oregon last October by a federal agency, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). A consequence of these frequent roundups is that wild horse families end up getting split apart.

Wild horse Hawk rounded up by the BLM
Skydog Sanctuary

Not only did Hawk have the heartbreaking misfortune of losing his herd in the chaos, he was also seen limping. Such injuries can mean an untimely end for horses like Hawk.

Hawk was probably disoriented and in pain — but then something beautiful happened.

Wild horse best friends
Skydog Sanctuary

Hawk met Chief, another wild horse with a less severe injury, who had been rounded up at the same time, in one of the corrals for injured horses.

Hawk and Chief instantly bonded. 

While loneliness was replaced by love, the struggles continued.

With so many wild horses needing care under the BLM, resources for treating Hawk's leg injury were limited.

Wild horses captured by BLM
Skydog Sanctuary

Even outside of injury, the fate of the two best friends remained very uncertain. All 850 horses from the roundup were put up for adoption — and in seeking a home, Hawk and his only friend could be split apart. 

As the weeks passed, Hawk's leg wasn't getting any better. The BLM considered euthanizing him, but fortunately, the agency tried one last option: They contacted someone who might be able to help Hawk's leg heal, allowing him to go on to live a full life at a sanctuary

Obviously, Chief would have to come along, too.

"[Hawk] was about to be euthanized," Clare Staples, founder of Skydog Sanctuary, told The Dodo. "And the other we took ... They were so bonded we didn’t want to separate them."

As soon as Hawk arrived at Skydog Sanctuary in Oregon, he clearly started to relax. When the pair was let out of the trailer into their sun-filled barn, Chief couldn't help himself — he started running and jumping with joy. 

As for Hawk, he seems utterly relieved to be at a safe place with his best friend. "He is much calmer and more settled and not limping as badly," Staples said.

Hawk will get an X-ray and have a treatment plan formulated to get him up and running again. And Chief will be by him through the whole process. 

"Chief never leaves his side," Staples said, "and touches him with his nose every five seconds to make sure he is OK."

Hawk and Chief saw their lives change in an instant last year — and now it's changed again, but this time they've been given a beautiful new start.

"They went through being rounded up and losing their families," Staples said. "Now they have each other."

You can congratulate Hawk and Chief on their beautiful new home by making a donation to Skydog. You can also help other horses by remembering that "adopt don't shop" doesn't just apply to dogs and cats; you can see horses up for adoption through the BLM here.