Canadian horse rescued from sewage pit dies with owners petting his neck

His owner thought that Digger had run away

Canadian horse rescued from sewage pit dies with owners petting his neck

An Alberta horse that was rescued from a sewage pit has died, but its owner says she’s thankful she was able to clean the animal off and be with him during his final moments.

“I was so glad my horse did not die in that hole,” said Lynn Danyluk, in an interview Sunday from her home in Waskatenau, north of Edmonton.

“I would always have thought that somebody stole him or a cougar got him.”

The horse, a 17-year-old Morgan stud named Digger, died early Sunday morning in Danyluk’s yard where he had been recuperating after being hoisted from the pit Friday.

Danyluk said Digger was usually a therapy horse. She agreed to loan him and another horse, Chocolate Thunder, to a family with an overgrown farmyard with the idea they would munch on the grass. She said she thought everything was fine until she got a call Wednesday that Digger had escaped from his pen and hadn’t been seen in three days.

For the next two days she drove around looking for Digger and was so worried that she couldn’t eat or sleep. Digger, whose registered name was Sir William Barr, wasn’t a horse that wandered, she said, and always liked to be near his friend, Chocolate Thunder.

Danyluk said she kept returning to the farmyard to see if Digger returned, and to reassure Chocolate Thunder.

“I pet Chocolate on the top of the head and I basically said, ‘I don’t know buddy, we’re still trying to find him. He’s got to be somewhere.’ All of a sudden, a horse nickered, very coarse. And I knew it wasn’t Chocolate Thunder because I was standing right at his head and he didn’t nicker. I thought, ‘Oh my god he’s got to be here somewhere!’” she said.

Danyluk ran in the direction where she’d heard the horse crying out and saw the hole, which she said was a septic tank overflow pit. She looked down and could see the top of Digger’s head and his back. She called to him and he looked up, but the animal was so exhausted he could barely keep his mouth and nose out of the liquid.

She said the hole had been covered with boards, but Digger had fallen through and had likely been standing, stuck in the muck, for five days.

Firefighters showed up, along with a vet, friends and a backhoe. Then someone arrived with equipment to safely lift a horse and Digger was hoisted from the festering hole. The vet administered an IV and penicillin, and when Digger was able to stand again, he rode in a trailer along with Chocolate Thunder to Danyluk’s home.

Danyluk said the following day, Digger appeared to return to his old self.

Digger ate and drank, but Danyluk said when he lay down to sleep, his feet would start paddling and he’d crane his neck, like he was dreaming he was still in the sewage.

Then Danyluk said he got up like he was in a trance. He was trying to lean on everything and fell onto a patio swing set.

Danyluk said her husband took the swing apart from underneath Digger and the horse lay on the cushions. She called her vet, who told her to get Digger somewhere safe where he wouldn’t hurt himself or anyone else.

Their trailer was large so they planned to lead him there as soon as Digger got another burst of energy. But it never came, and early Sunday Digger moved off the cushions and lay down one more time.

“We were petting his neck at 2 a.m. He took two deep breaths and his body quivered and he quit.”

Danyluk said she’s never cremated one of her animals before, but plans to do so for Digger.

“I had Digger since he was three months old. He was a rare horse — he had golden eyes,” she said.

“He was a very important horse to us.”

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

This bird’s eye view shows the tanker truck fire on Highway 24. (Photo taken by Kurtis Rainer)
UPDATE: Highway 24 open to single-lane traffic after fuel tanker fire

Driver pulled into the runaway lane after the truck wheels caught fire

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

(TNRD Library)
Let the mystery of the Summer Reading Club begin

Are you ready to ‘Crack the Case’ at the Barriere Library?

(Metro Creative photo)
Gardeners of all ages invited to enter 2021 NT Fall Fair contests

The North Thompson Fall Fair Drive Thru scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4,… Continue reading

Milsom Lodge was built in the East Barriere Valley when the Milsom brothers purchased two parcels of land in 1911, DL 2323 and DL2324. (Milsom’s photo)
The Milsom Lodge: The mansion, the ballroom, the history

“At the turn of the century, when so many families were leaving… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Most Read