Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Jack Scares The Bejeebers Out of Us All

Last evening was much as usual - line up in the run-in and complain that our dinners weren't appearing fast enough, encourage the woman to improve her feed mixing skills and generally agitate until she let us in our stalls. She calls it slopping the hogs but her sense of humour is notoriously crude. The sounds of contented munching ensued. She went off to do some lawn maintenance while we finished. Then Jack started choking and coughing and gasping and got himself and the rest of us in a right state. The woman reappeared and vaulted over the front of his stall and began massaging his throat. It moved the mass further down but he was still most distressed. She raced off to the house and returned with the male human and told Jack the vet was on her way.

The vet was a long way away and took some time to arrive. Meanwhile Jack would cough and drool and snort and then suddenly have a panic attack and throw himself around the stall, nearly falling down. The humans stood with him and stroked him and he did his best to merge his body into theirs. When the vet came she gave him a needle to make him sleepy and then - I kid you not - stuck a garden hose down his gullet and began pumping warm water into him! It seems nearly his whole dinner was stuck and he began to spout quantities of food in all directions, drenching both the woman and the vet and the general surroundings. The vet got him cleaned out and left various meds for him and said he couldn't have any food for the next day and then only a sloppy mash. Jack looked like a he'd been in a bar fight and was suffering a violent hangover. The woman sat with him till he was awake and then checked on him through the night.

This morning he was his usual cheerful self and couldn't believe he was being starved. We stayed in all day and I got hay in my stall but poor Jack had nothing. The woman has modified his already soupy dinner and brought a device to the barn that has glass jar on a metal thing. It makes a screeching noise and pulverizes everthing to smithereens. Jack was so hungry he drank his whole dinner, meds and all, without blinking. Doc said, "Whoa, that is so cool, I always wanted my own blender!" He spent the rest of the day humming a dreadful tune called 'Margaritaville". Molly looked in the tack room window while the woman was mixing Jack's dinner and tried to place an order but the woman shooed her away.

Jack shrugged off the whole incident saying, "Twern't hardly nothin, I just got a speck of food stuck in muh craw." He says he got into the habit of eating as fast as possible when food was scarce and now his teeth are nearly useless, it can cause problems. His already soggy food is now positively awash and in addition the vet suggested putting rocks in with his feed to slow him down. She also said he's in remarkably good shape for a donkey of any age, and both Jack and the woman are just beaming over that one. Other than that the woman looks like she's been trampled by migrating caribou, but that may have something to do with lack of sleep.


the7msn said...

Oh my, Jack, you scared the bejeebers out of me, too! Slow down and taste your food, buddy. I remember when our vet told me, "put a rock in her bowl" when my beloved Lab ate too fast. Thought he had rocks in his head, but it worked.

billie said...

Oh, poor Jack - tell him to take care and slow down. This exact thing happened to our 25-year old mare Salina a few months back. She now gets "soup" and 3 meals a day to reduce the amount at each feed.

I have to confess I took Rafer Johnson for a walk and left my husband to deal with the tubing.

Thank goodness all is well there and Jack will get his blenderized food. Doc makes me laugh, singing Margaritaville. What a card.

Ginger (Baker not Rogers) said...

Perilous Events
Well Sheaffer, it seems that the ides (almost) of August are a particularly demonic time for donkeys. We here at Elfwood Farm have been imperilled by the appearance of not one but two additional German Shepherds, one the size of Fred. Worse, they are installed in a box stall in the barn during the day, where they moan, howl, chew the door and disrupt our afternoon nap. I took a shot at the smaller one when she ventured into the barnyard but it doesn’t seem to have discouraged them at all.

Yesterday, the fat lady caught Annie in the fat field, where she had selfishly been glomming grass all day. (We are penned in a smallish paddock that is as bald as the prairie.) Sure enough, out came the saddle, Annie got dressed and they snuck through the gate. We haven’t quite got the hang of that gate – they always manage to slip through and somehow we’re stuck on the wrong side. Then Fred tried to solve the gate question with nearly tragic results.

After trudging around in circles for a while, the fat lady and Annie left for a gallop up the hay field. We complained but Annie didn’t even answer. Sometime before their return, Fred said he was getting out. He managed to slip his head sideways through the bars of the metal gate. Naturally, when he straightened his head, he got stuck. I have seen him do this on fences. Usually he either breaks the fence or pops his head out. Not this time. The more Fred struggled, the more he was stuck and the less he could breathe.

I yelled for help. Fred couldn’t say anything but mfff; his jaw was clamped shut between the bars. Finally the fat lady and Annie rode up. Fred banged on the gate and I yelled some more. Now the fat lady, who is somewhat myopic (well, more than somewhat), didn’t quite understand what she was seeing. Then Fred made a huge lunge. Annie leapt into the air, spun around and got out of Dodge. She was probably afraid that stupidity was catching. I mean, who would stick their head through a gate?

The fat lady rode closer, vaulted off and ran to the gate. Annie took refuge behind the truck, eyeing the giant German Shepherds with distrust – stuck between an idiot and a sharp place. Fred was stuck so tight that his molars were grinding together and he was hanging by his neck. The fat lady tried desperately to turn his head but Fred was trying just as hard to pull it back. His eyes were starting to glaze when the fat lady wrenched his head sideways and pushed it back. Fred staggered backwards, shook his head and just stood there. I moved in for a snuggle to assure her that some donkeys are smarter than others. She mused whether Fred would be damaged by lack of oxygen to the brain. As far as I’m concerned, he is so stupid it couldn’t make much difference. Has Fred learned his lesson? Probably not.

But that’s not all the news. The fat lady’s sister (owner of the dreadful dogs) dropped by on Sunday – that is, she dropped them off on Sunday. She brought with her a bag of “donkey dates” from Siwa in Egypt. Fred grabbed a date right away but I spat mine out. First, I’m not sure we should be depriving third world donkeys of their breakfast and second, I never eat something that looks like a turd. Imagine my surprise when the fat lady popped it back in my mouth. It was amazing – sweet and chewy and there’s a great little stone in the middle that you can suck on and crunch for minutes. We think dates are the ultimate donkey drug and recommend that all blog donkeys get some. Unfortunately we are strictly rationed to one a day. Fred says we should work out a strategy for liberating the bag of dates but I don’t think so. Would you team up with somehow who regularly gets his head stuck in gates and fences? I think not. I would rather rely on my good looks and charm to get more dates.

Hope Jack is feling better.

Cheers, Ginger

billie said...

Oh my gosh - I hope FRED is okay too!

Those dates sound like very nice treats.

Ginger (Baker not Rogers) said...

Try Rafer Johnson on a date or two. It's hilarious. They go all zen for 2 or 3 minutes. These ones have pits but sister says that Egyptian donkeys yum them right up.

The Fat Lady

Dougie Donk said...

Oh boy, you gents have been living in perilous times! Kindest felicitations from Scotland.

Ginger - thank you for the recommendation of dates as a treat. My woman says the shops are all closed (it is after 8pm here), but she is under strict instructions to procure some tomorrow. I shall then feed back on whether I approve & also what effect they have had on our resident German Shepherd Dope (I'm told that should be "Dog", but I think not!)

Jack - the woman has already posted this in the wrong bit of the blog, but I recommend strong peppermint tea to lubricate your food. Infinitely more pleasant than just plain old water.

Ginger (Baker not Rogers) said...


Those are German Shedders. And these two visitors smell a bit too. Our resident GSD acts a little furtive around us (is it the way I march purposefully towards her?). The fat lady says I am not allowed to trample her but I feel strongly that interlopers should be trampled at every opportunity.

Just last month, I trampled a porcupine and required an emergency veterinary visit to remove 50 quills. The fat lady has complained to me about the bill but I was just doing my job. Not sure if you have these beasts in Scotland.

And tell your woman to head to the all-night mart. Tell her it's a date emergency!!

Janet Roper said...

Jack, you scared me too! It sounds like you took everything in stride, but slow down a little bit!


robert5721 said...

whistle a little Vivaldi to Jack while he is eating, maybe it can relax him so he eats slower, plus it can "Educate" Doc and Molly....Margaritaville?? REALLY!!
The blender sounds like a great idea, but Mr Jack really needs to learn to slow down....the big rocks should help, as long as they ain't small enough to get into his mouth in a fit of ecstacy eating....he he he ..
By the by, those Dates can give ya the screaming squitters, so be careful....don't want to ruin the new paint job in your abode now do ya??
Mr Gale

Carolynn said...

Yikes! That wasn't funny, Jack. There wasn't something in my throat too, while I was reading this post, but I think it was my heart. I'm sure glad the vet knew what to do. Chew, man, chew.

Buddy said...

Wow - what a week for all of us. I too had the vet out - I was limping up a storm - guess I have a bruised hoof and a possible abscess in my hoof - so soaking it twice a day for 20 minutes - yeah right - after 10 I'm done - so mom has ordered a soaking boot - that should be interesting. I got drugs too. I know this isn't choking or getting my head stuck - but my hoof hurt. No more limping!

Hope we are all feeling better today!!!

Give Molly my love!

ponymaid said...

dougie, the woman tried to take a photo of a thistle today but it kept bobbing around in the wind and came out as a mauve blur. She's quite hopeless. I will send her out again...Sigh.

buddy, Molly wants to be at your stall-side, holding your hoof. Believe me, you wouldn't want that. She eats everything in sight and snores like a walrus (though she denies it hotly). Abcesses are just nasty. Doc once had one and he complained bitterly.

Mr. Gale, if only Jack would listen to Vivaldi - he's more of a banjo fan and enjoys old fashioned "pluckin and pickin". Failing that, he's a fan of anything played on a kazoo. Very strange to my delicately tuned ears.