Puddleby & Friends
About a year after Smooch came to live with Mr. McFadden, a newcomer arrived. Puddleby the pony arrived under circumstances very similar to Smooches’.
Once again, the local ASPCA had come across a small pony that had been left behind on the grounds at an auction house. The ASPCA was called by a service company one evening after an auction, when the company had come to clean the grounds.
Quite to their surprise, the workers discovered a small pony in a pen with no food or water. But why had someone abandoned the tiny colt? Had the colt come to the auction with a mare, and the mare had sold but not the colt? Or was the sale a package deal, and the bidder at the auction simply did not realize he got a mare AND the colt at her side? Whatever the reason, there was no way to find the owner of the tiny colt.
This beautiful colt was only about three months old - too young to be weaned from his mother. Options were limited, as it was not expected that another mare would “adopt” him. But the ASPCA came up with one unanimous conclusion: turn again to Mr. McFadden and hope he would adopt the pony.
When reached by phone Mr. McFadden had strongly objected to the idea of adopting the colt. He insisted that at age 80 he was too old to handle a pony. He had many other excuses, as well: a pony is a herd animal and needed to be in a herd; Cedric the goose was too possessive to allow a pony on the farm; he even used the excuse that the natural predator of a pony is a pig. It seemed that it was highly unlikely that Smooch and the pony would ever share McFadden’s barnyard.
The two ASPCA workers - Elmer and Gaylord – had known Mr. Mc Fadden as their 4-H leader for 40 years prior, and the two men decided to take a gamble and just bring the pony to McFaddens farm (thinking he couldn’t say ‘no’ under those circumstances!). Elmer drove the pickup truck as Gaylord held the 75 pound colt straddled between his legs on the floorboards of the truck. The little colts’ caramel colored head poked out the open window, as wind blew his fluffy forelock to and fro and the colt frantically bit at the wind.
Mr. McFadden was in his garden and looked up from his hoeing to see gravel flying and an approaching pickup. As the truck ascended the steep drive to the field where Mr. McFadden was working, the farmer realized it was his ASPCA friends. He first thought was that the critter in the front seat with the men was a dog, then he thought it was a pig … and when he realized it was a pony he started forcefully objecting even before the engine died.
“No way, boys. Your little hoax isn’t working! Sit and rest a bit and I’ll get us some lemonade,” the lonely farmer said, and motioned to the swing and chairs lining the porch of his house. “Let the little guy graze a bit, then scramousal out’ta here!” he added for authority.
Then as the three long time acquaintances approached the porch, an unbelievable amount of clatter arose! Smooch and Cedric, who could see the house from the barnyard, carried on with screeching oinks and honks, and within seconds the pony bellowed back. The calls continued back and forth as the farmer poured fresh lemonade.
“What the heck is going on?” the farmer wondered aloud. Elmer shrugged, and in doing so allowed the tiny pony to pull free. The pony galloped to the barnyard gate and he and the goose sniffed each other happily. Then pig joined in the greetings as well, actually planted some smooches on the pony through the wooden rails of the fence. It was obvious the three animals were becoming fast friends.
The three humans rushed to the barn yard to witness the introductions. Gaylord spoke first, astonished: “Well, I’ll be darned!”
The odd trio had an instant bond.
“Okay, you win,” the defeated farmer finally said to his old comrades and they turned to walk back to their pickup truck. But he realized he needed an important piece of information:
“Hey! What’s the pony’s name?” Mr. McFadden shouted to his leaving guests.
“Oh, the people who found the pony over at the auction grounds said they found a piece of cardboard in the pen where they found him. They weren’t sure where it came from. Probably blew in….written in red crayon it read; ‘P U D D L E B Y' so call him that or, whatever…”
And the rest is history.