Molly the pony had a rough start.

She lost her home in Hurricane Katrina and was taken to a farm for abandoned animals. There, an attack by a dog left her badly wounded. With medical care and therapy, all her injuries healed, except for her right front leg. The natural inclination was to put her down, but her new adoptive owners, Kaye and Glenn Harris in St. Rose, Louisiana, fought to save her.

Kaye worked with her veterinarian, who consulted with Dr. Rustin Moore at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Moore was originally skeptical until he met the dark gray speckled pony.

According to Molly's website:

Dr. Moore met Molly and knew if there was a perfect candidate for the procedure, it was definitely Molly. She was the right size, had the will to survive, and had a person that was willing to see her through all of it. After Molly’s surgery, she was fitted with a temporary prosthesis. Upon awakening, she stood up and walked right off. She brought tears to our eyes that day.

Molly had her leg amputated in January 2006. In the past decade, she has gone through several prostheses due to changes in her stump, just as most humans would. She wears her prosthesis for most of the day and takes it off when she sleeps.

Now in her mid 20s, Molly makes regular visits to schools, nursing homes, cancer camps, rehabilitation centers and children's hospitals, offering a story of courage that anyone can appreciate.

It's fitting that Molly's prosthesis has a happy face built into the hoof. Wherever this gentle girl goes, she leaves a smile behind.

Molly the pony's prosthesis Molly the pony's happy-face prosthesis. (Photo: Molly the Pony)

Mary Jo DiLonardo Mary Jo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.