DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Lying in a ditch along Dallas’ busy Interstate 35E, a horse summoned her strength and struggled to stand.

Time and time again, she fell.

“My first thought was, ‘Oh god, they’re going to shoot the horse,’” said Todd Genuit, the first bystander to jump in and help.

According to her owner, the horse collapsed after an accident involving her trailer.

When the driver went to check on the mare, she “flopped” out, explained Cat Poage of Circle G Carriage Company. The business had recently rescued the malnourished, old mare and her sister from a kill lot in Louisiana and were transporting her to Denton to live in retirement with its older horses.

Suddenly, that happy future seemed unlikely.

“We were just so afraid she was going to have a heart attack or just die there,” said Genuit, who tried comforting the horse.

Dallas County sheriff’s deputies arrived, offering their assistance.

“When they told me she was trying to stand up on her own, she just couldn’t get her footing, I thought, okay, maybe we can get her up,” said Poage.

Deputies flagged down a construction loader to try to lift her. When that failed, they called a wrecker service.

They pulled straps underneath her body and the truck began to hoist her up, allowing her legs to straighten underneath her.

Once again lowered to the ground, she found her footing and, after more than two hours of trying, she stood on her feet.

“We’re going to be able to get her home,” said Poage. “I could not say Thank You enough to the people who showed up.”

Once a victim of neglect, this horse finally saw humanity at its best.

“To see people come together to help an animal,” said Genuit, his voice cracking with emotion. “It was neat to be a part of and it wasn’t that cold after a while.”