BEHIND these beautiful dark brown eyes lies a heartbreaking story of cruel neglect and renewed hope for survival.
If five-year-old mare Lollipop could talk, she would tell how she stared death in the face, lived without love or proper care for a year and how her future looks today.
And she would tell you how she almost didn't live to say it.
Two months ago, the badly neglected mare was dumped at Whiteman Creek Rd and after breaking through a fence, found herself on Julia Smith and Ray Hanna's property.
Assuming the chestnut had strayed during the night, Julia rang neighbours who confirmed Lollipop was not theirs.
Concerned for the mare's welfare, Julia and her family took Lollipop, whom they nicknamed Kirra, into their care and gradually brought the quarter-horse-cross back to health. It was only when local vet Oliver Liyou recognised the mare during a routine visit to file her teeth that her past was revealed.
"He (Oliver) told me he thought he had treated the horse before and it had been euthanised a year ago. I didn't know what to say," Julia said.
"She was in poor condition when we found her. I just thought it was very sad that she had been abandoned."
After tracking down Lollipop's original owner, it was discovered she was looking death in the eye after a decision was made not to proceed with a $5000 operation to correct an ingrown tooth which was pressing against her tongue. After a reassessment this week, Dr Liyou declared Lollipop could undergo surgery for $2500.
"One or two teeth need to be extracted as one is still in an abnormal position," he said.
This time, declining surgery isn't an option for the loving family that has taken the mare into their hearts.
Local fundraising events are being organised to give Lollipop a new lease on life. Her owner said he was disgusted to discover the mare had been dumped after she was left in the care of an acquaintance. He is thankful to Julia and Oliver for their ongoing care.