Sunday, January 9, 2011

In The Nick(olas) of Time - Another Happy Ending From PrimRose


The PrimRose Sanctuary is the scene of many, many donkey tales; some involve humour, some sadness and some evolve from sad to happy over the course of time. The tale of Nicholas Donkey - who arrived with the rather unattractive appelation of Nipper, is one that began with abuse and neglect and ended with the happiest of circumstances.

Nipper was acquired as a very young donkey by some extraordinarily ignorant humans who thought they could protect their poultry by locking him in a stall while said poultry ranged around loose in the barn. I can only presume they thought his mere presence would prove a deterrent to invaders. For two and a half years the poor donkey literally did not set foot outside.

A neighbour heard of Nipper's existence and somehow managed to convince his jailers to sell him to her. The rescuers had to shovel their way into the stall to free him, as the jailers did not believe any sort of cleaning was necessary. Nipper had "brain surgery" and had his feet done, probably for the first time. He was a wild man. He was angry and confused and tried to kick and bite anyone who came near. And for that we cannot blame him one iota.

His rescuer realized he needed the sort of help and facilities only Sheila could provide and so he moved to the sanctuary. He was sadly lacking in social skills, with all species, and remained rather short-tempered with the world in general. Enter a young lady volunteer named Stephanie, who made it her job to convince Nipper, now named Nicholas, that life really wasn't that threatening. He reluctantly and slowly came around to realizing that humans were not only excellent scratchers of donkey itches but reliable dispensers of treats and affection. He vowed loyalty to his new friend for life. And her mother, being a kind and sensible woman, said of course he must come and live on their farm, where they have two horses, sheep, another donkey and various types of poultry.

Nicholas was amazed and pleased with his new home but rather confused about where he should spend his time so he made his way to the sound he had known his whole life - the reassuring clucking and bokking of the chickens. His human, Stephanie, wished he could form a bond with the other equines but he remained apart and on the periphery.

One blizzardy day last month, Stephanie returned home in a conveyance called a school bus. On disembarking, she could make out the shape of Nicholas in the middle of the field, standing over a small black form. Puzzled, she rushed over and discovered a newborn lamb whose mother had gone off to seek shelter and food and left him alone in the storm. Nicholas had taken charge and was carefully standing over the lamb, licking him constantly to keep him warm and reassured. We donkeys do not care for this sort of weather at all, so this was rather a large commitment on his part.

Both were taken back to the barn, the lamb reunited with his rather casual mother, with Nicholas hovering in worried attendance. He has appointed himself official uncle and minder of the lamb and they are as close as two brothers. We have no idea how he figured out the lamb was in trouble and how he decided what needed to be done. He certainly had no experiences in his former life that prepared him for anything like altruism toward another species. And yet he did just the right thing.

There are many lessons to be learned from the short life of Nicholas but I think the most important is that of forgiveness and openness to new beginnings. It is remarkable to see someone deprived of any sort of life from such an early age become a happy and well-adjustred individual, capable of a great act of kindness and caring to another species. Blessings upon young Nicholas and all the humans who helped him find happiness.
Photo: Nicholas at PrimRose Sanctuary

17 comments:

BumbleVee said...

Oh, how I love a happy story.... big hugs to Stephanie and her Mom.... how wonderful for sweet Nicholas.... and what a lucky little lamb his new buddy is... may they all enjoy many great years together....

Dougie Donk said...

What a nice theme to start the week on..... Peace & forgiveness :)

My addition would be that there should be a permanent plague of locusts on those who abuse otehrs, of any species!

billie said...

Oh, Sheaffer. Another lovely story and once again I just cannot FATHOM what people think when they take on the responsibility of animals and then so completely fail in their safekeeping.

Do people have no common sense at all? The idea that ANY creature should be permanently ensconced in a cubicle of whatever kind and never cared for or let out just seems insane to me.

Sheila does such a service - she is a saint among humans, for sure.

billie said...

Just glanced at my comment and of course meant such a lovely ENDING to a story - the beginning was of course terrible!

ponymaid said...

Vee, thank heavens for these good news stories - the capacity of animals for healing and forgiveness is truly remarkable. Now that Nicholas has another being to look after, he is a new man indeed. He must have learned about kindness and caring from his mother - I can't imagine where else he would have found these qualities after two and a half years of incarceration.

ponymaid said...

Dougie, I like your thinking. Perhaps a plague of permanent fleas should be visited upon those who mistreat animals. Although that seems a light sentence for someone who inflicts pain and suffering to such a degree. Imagine young Nicholas being able to experience his first spring ever (assuming spring comes this year) as he turns three years old. And accompanied by a young lamb...the mind boggles happily.

ponymaid said...

Billie, I ponder long and hard over the inner workings of some human minds. There exist individuals and cultures who believe that since God gives them dominion over all other beings, that somehow means those beings have no feelings or soul. They ignore the obvious suffering before their very eyes because that is simply how life is in their world- no thinking involved, just a sense of self-righteousness and piety that they are following the correct path. Frankly, these people frighten me half to death. How Nicholas maintained his sanity, I don't know, let alone how he was able to begin to relate to the world around him -especially humans. Like many others, he found himself and salvation at the sanctuary.

Gazelle said...

Sheaffer you nearly made me cry again. Poor Nicholas ! What an awful way to spend one's youth, but what a wonderful new life he has now.

You know what really amazes me ... Where on earth does Sheila find all these wonderful volunteers who give so much one-on-one attention to the neediest individual Donkeys ?

And then to go one step farther and actually adopt Nicholas ... Stephanie and her mother are clearly the sort of people this world needs a lot more of.

South Valley Girl said...

Oh what a lovely story - blessings to Nicholas and the good people who have taken him in and opened his heart. We should all have friends like that...

Christina / SVG

ponymaid said...

Gazelle, I too am amazed by the work that quietly and effectively gets done at one small sanctuary. And thank goodness, because there is a steady stream of donkeys, and others, needing their help. I understand you have a photograph of young Nicholas that you will share with us? Thank you.

ponymaid said...

Christina/SVG, you put it so well - his heart has been opened. Who knew that was even possible after the largest part of his young life had literally been spent alone in the dark. As the song says "These are the days of miracles and wonders".

PrimRose said...

Hi - thank you for all your lovely comments on Nicholas. He was a real brat when he arrived and all he needed was a little understanding and Stephanie and her family gave that to him. Yes donkeys are amazing caring animals if given half the chance.

ponymaid said...

PrimRose, I understand young Nicholas was a bit on the tabasco side when he arrived! As the current saying goes, he was "acting out" his issues, I imagine. It's nice to know he is settled with a family who know his past and who love him unconditionally.

Linda in New Mexico said...

Nicholas was blessed with a very special set of rescue circumstances. Obviously, from a the "fire" of abuse came the "refined gold" of a loving spirited animal, when given a place in which to flourish. What a blessing this story is. Good coming from terrible. Love coming from unthinkable human neglect. Yay for Stephanie, her Mom, the Sanctuary and those who have passed this story along in love. The Olde Bagg, Linda

ponymaid said...

Linda, that you for this lovely, beautifully written comment. To think of such an intelligent and playful young animal locked away in solitary...well, now he has a whole life of being lavished with love and affection. And of course developing his sheep minding skill set. We very much enjoy your blog, by the way. Donkeys and donkey lovers of the world unite!

June said...

Thank you for this story. I needed to know that sometimes the forsaken animals win bigtime. I know it . . . I've owned some of them myself . . . or have been owned by them. But I need to hear a happy story about them every now and then.
Thank you again!
And thanks to Justina for sending me over here!

ponymaid said...

June, I'm so glad you found your way over! We are a house of rescues and I know exactly what you mean about being owned by the rescued souls. I may be a donkey but I consider Sally the rescue Cat to be my own personal feline. I am honoured to be able to use this blog to spread information about the incredible work that Sheila does at PrimRose. I so wish all my blog friends could meet her.