Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tooth And Consequences

I was (somewhat) mentally prepared for the visit of what Jack calls "them red-headed vitinary gals" but he was quite surprised when they walked through the door with their various bags of tricks and gadgets designed to poke and pry a donkey's innermost personal areas. He went on high alert mode immediately and began inhaling deeply in preparation for the upcoming "rasslin" match.

I was extraordinarily brave and volunteered to go first so he could see how unstressed I was. In truth, they took me by surprise and before I knew it, there was Dr. Kathryn with my tongue clamped in one gloved hand and the other hand exploring the darkest recesses of my mouth. She seemed bemused that I swallowed all the rinse water that she shot in there first. Hmmm", she said, "hmmm, hmmm.". That's one of those sounds that can mean anything so I was hugely relieved when she announced my teeth were near-textbook perfect and didn't need to be floated this time. I am a proponent of chewing everything one hundred times and of flossing carefully with bits of bark. It would seem to be working.

Jack was ready for them and the ensuing wrestling match was waged with vigour on both sides. He HATES needles and is convinced they will kill you. He says he has seen it happen and I believe him but I think that is probably a different kind of needle. They wrestled back and forth, up and down the aisle and he finally had to have a bit of his yak-like coat shaved off his neck so the needle could get in there. He also hates clippers. By the time the "juice" as he calls it, was circulating, he was so pent up it had virtually no effect. So he had another one...which helped somewhat. Dr. Kathryn put the metal ratchet tooth plate device on him and wiggled each tooth to see their condition. After all that chaos, it turns out his teeth are virtually unchanged since last time except for a front top tooth that is loose-ish. She will consult with a dental specialist to form a plan of action but for now it stays where it is. We were all very pleased.

While he was still groggy, they siphoned off some of his blood so it can be checked. And then - you will hardly believe this - they rummaged in his toilet area and put some of his manure in a plastic bag! It's true! I saw them do it! We were absolutely staggered but there is simply no telling what humans will do from one moment to the next. These bizarre collections have something to do with Jack having lost weight in the last few weeks. Oh well, if it gives them information of some sort I suppose we must turn a blind eye.

Jack was not allowed food after this mugging. He had to wait til the "juice" was out of his system and so by evening he was ravenous. He ate some mush and a bit of hay but his tendency to choke came over him and didn't "thet other red-headed vitinery gal", Dr. Maggie come to see him. Oh no, thought Jack and proceeded to rodeo around his stall so wildly that the obstruction came loose and shot all over the place...unfortunately, according to Jack, it missed the humans by inches. The scene was grotesque but somehow satisfying. Another round to the ancient donkey - huzzah!

This morning, Jack had glue-like paste in his nostrils and wasn't overly interested in his food, though he ate well overnight. Back came Dr. Maggie just to check on him and he was absolutely livid. I can't say I blame him. The first thing she did was to whip out a glass rod with numbers on it and try to insert it in Jack's nether region. He was having none of it and attempted to double barrel her. She must have knowledge of this tactic because she simply stepped aside. His numbers seemed to be normal. She listened to his front end and declared it sounded fine, Then she cleaned the glue from his nostrils, which he resisted until he realized it felt quite good. He must take various pastes and pills just to be sure but this evening he is quite himself. I must add that I was so professional throughout that Dr. Maggie entrusted me with her stethoscope and draped it round my neck when she wasn't using it. I did not betray her trust.

On the upside, Jack now has new high-calorie hay cubes that smell like the food of the gods. When herself put them to soak in hot water the smell was so extraordinary that we all began braying and stomping. In vain, it seems, as the woman has declared the last thing we three "blimps" need is calories. Hah, I saw that box of Girl Guidance Cookies going into the house tonight. I'll say no more. But Jack wants a word.

"there's no call WHATEVIR to go to tormentin a ole man in his home. I near nailed one a them redheaded gal doctors and nex time i won be missin. my intire life no buddy tried ta file muh teeth an i aint lettin em now. they say ya gotta git teeth care all yer life so you younguns better heed. i stil want them mailorder teeth but oooooonoooo i gotta keep on wrasslin them gals. an thats all i got ta say on that. excep that green cube stuff is real good."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

We're Exhausted From Overwork

It's that frantic time of year when all the detritus of winter must be cleaned up before spring sets in for real. The woman has turned our barn upside down and vows she is just getting started. Sally is a tremendous help on the inside jobs. She has tried to tidy up her things by putting various toys in feeders and water buckets. I got a bit of a start when I found a plastic ball with a bell in it floating in my drinking water. She put her fur mouse under Jack's hay which caused him to snort and look sideways down his nose - without bifocals he can't quite see clearly.

Outside, we are shadowing her every move. We carefully rummage through all the piles of leaves and hay she rakes up in our paddock. So far, no treasure, (except for a paper coffee cup but that had an unpleasant, waxy aftertaste); we will keep dismantling those piles systematically just to be sure. She just got the water trough scrubbed and filled when the dog rushed back from foraging and had a thorough bath in it. Then Molly, inspired by Penny, washed both front hoofs in it. The woman sighed and began all over again.

Jack instigated a rowdy wrestling match that ended with me pinned against the fence, panting for breath. Jack strode off very pleased, flicking his ears in all directions and looking like a young sprout. He then lay down in the sun and had a long nap that featured a symphony of loud snores. Doc and Molly alternate snorting and bucking with digging for the first green shoots that are pushing their way through the mud.

On a more alarming note, the veterinarian is coming on Monday to float donkey teeth. I enjoy that about as much as the woman's singing at me in close quarters. She's worried about Jack because it upsets him so terribly. He wants what he calls "a set a them catalogue teeth" but none seem to be forthcoming. I won't mention the impending doom to him. I will indulge what the woman calls my obsessive/compulsive nature and worry for both of us.

Monday, March 23, 2009

How To Frighten A Donkey Nearly To Death

This newest piece of outrage happened to me last week and I only now have the strength to write about it. I'm surprised my hair didn't all turn white over night. She's apologized but I am considering legal action to recover my medical and psychiatric expenses.

One night last week the aqua gods or whoever is responsible for the skies opening, turned all the taps on full blast for an entire day and night. Ark building weather if ever I've seen it. Jack and I stayed in the run-in and watched the horses squelch around the paddock. The woman let us in early and gave us our hot meal with tidbits and good sized piles of hay. We dined and then fell asleep to the sound of rain drumming on the roof. A very nice sound when one is inside rather than out.

At the hour of our late night feed we heard a strange rustling sound emerging out of the dark. It was a sound that required two ears forward but nothing too alarming. Then the light went on. Standing there was a figure clad in a plastic shavings bag, wearing a smaller plastic bag on it's hideous head. It carried half of a cloth sphere, held over it's head on a stick. I let out a mighty trumpet and tried to climb in with Jack. It collapsed the half sphere and made coughing and glubbing noises. "Sheaffer," it said. "it's me!" That confirmed my suspicion that it was an evil spectre come to steal my soul. Rained poured off the plastic garments and it's beady eyes fastened on me. Then it advanced toward me with it's bony claws extended. I tried to crawl under the partition into Jack's stall but onward it came.

It removed the bag from it's head and something about it looked familiar. It was HER of course, as I realized when my heart rate began to climb down from the stratosphere. She had made arm holes and an opening for her head in an evil shavings bag and donned it as a raincoat. Words fail me - I mean, who else would dream up such a demented and hare-brained scheme and not think of the consequences? I don't care if the other three paid not one iota of attention to her garb. She knows my sensibilities are highly tuned. Jack said "Lansakes, boy, ain't ya never seen one a them portable ruffs (he means roofs) they tote around in the rain?" I didn't sleep a wink for the rest of the night and was quite short with her the next day.

The weather has been fine since then, thank goodness, but today it was cold enough for our water trough to have frozen nearly solid over night. While the woman was fiddling with the ice-filled hose, Molly took things into her own hoofs. She broke the ice with a tremendous blow from a front hoof only to pull forth an enormous disc of ice that clung to her pastern like a bracelet. Not one to panic, she stamped her foot in annoyance and finally pulled the thing free with her teeth. The woman sighed and rolled her beady eyes. She left muttering about the sensitivity genes in our barn being unevenly distributed. We have no idea what she was babbling about.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Official Invitation

You Are Offically Invited To Attend

Sheaffer's Birthday/Garden Party/Fund Raiser for PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary

May 24th, 2009, 1PM

Serendipity Stables (Mosby's House)

15488 Mc Cowan Road

Refreshments Will Be Served

Classical Music Will Be Played

RSVPs Appreciated

Ladies Are Requested To Wear Large Hats

PrimRose Herself Will Be In Attendance

We Look Forward To Seeing Everyone

Friday, March 13, 2009

Expanding The Donkey-Sphere

The pro-donkey forces of the world took another step forward today. Ben and Jerry from PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary are now ensconsed in their new home. My horse friend Mosby, who along with his human, Emi, owns Serendipity Stables, officially has his own donkeys. Emi has been pondering the donkey question for years and last week, with considerable lobbying from Mosby, my woman, Sheila and her farm friends, Emi finally saw the light and recognized the great, unfulfilled need for donkeys in her life.

Sheila, and Al, who is the unofficial godfather at the sanctuary, chauffered Ben and Jerry to Mosby's place this morning, where a highly excited and enthusiastic welcoming committee awaited their arrival. They stepped off the trailer like two well-seasoned travellers and began exploring to a chorus of ooooos and ahhhhhhs from their admirers. As it should be, of course. Then they led the humans into the barn and were shown their new room, halters, leads, buckets and so forth. They tested all the flakes of hay that are put in front of the stalls for the horses' luncheon and tried out many of the stalls themselves. There was a mixed reaction of keen interest and sheer horror from the horses. The donkeys ignored them and carried on exploring.

Then, they led the humans into the huge indoor riding room and sampled the hay pile in there. They did a brief tour and marched the humans back into the barn. I am told that owing to a fit of the vapours suffered by two of the horses, who refused to enter the building and walk by Ben and Jerry, their living quarters have been switched to the far end of the other aisle. Fortunately they are small donkeys and can be housed comfortably in an already-full barn. In fact Colleen and Rob, the humans who live in the barn apartment, will surely see reason and invite them to live in there.

Sheila and Al then came by my place for a visit and there was an extremely touching reunion between Sheila and Jack. He stared very hard at the three humans as they made their way over to us and then his whole face lit up. "It's her, what saved me last year, I'd know her anywhere!" he said. When she walked through the gate he rushed over and buried his head in the front of her jacket and just kept smiling and smiling. He greeted Al, too, who spent a lot of time with him when he was so weak he could barely stand and who held his head up for dental work. Then back to Sheila he went to soak up some more bliss. We all wished they could have stayed longer but they will be back for my birthday party at Mosby's place.

The outpouring of generoisty and goodwill today does a donkey's heart good. Sheila left clutching cheques and cash and Canadian Tire money and those kind souls even filled her metal box on wheels with hay. I've been called many things, including a sceptic, on the subject of humanity, but today was an example of what kind hearts can do to change things for the better.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tales From The Bog

We are enmeshed in the process called "spring thaw", which sounds quite nice until you actually try to set hoof outside. As far as the eye can see, a glutinous layer of deep mud covers a shrinking layer of ice. Donkey hoofs are not designed for these sorts of barbaric conditions. Jack and I venture forth and are immediately sucked down to knee-level by unseen forces. We flail around and make our way back to the run-in, legs covered with black goop .

The horses don't care one iota about the mud and gallop around like idiots, covering themselves and us with the stinking mire. Jack says he's heard of donkeys being sucked right down to the centre of the earth, their bones only coming to the surface as the gloop dries. He is sometimes prone to exaggeration but I think he's quite accurate in this case.

As if this mud scenario isn't enough to give a donkey sleepless nights, Sally has developed a tremendous case of spring fever and plays in her gym all night long. She bats the mouse in the spinner up to particle acceleration speeds and the thing makes an incessant "zzzziiiiizzzz, zzzziiizzz noise. When she is satisfied with that element, she begins whacking something called a cat tree, which features spheres filled with ball bearing-like objects. Then she gets out the mouse with the squeaker and roughs him up. Finally, she begins a one-cat field hockey game with the collection of hard plastic balls that are filled with bells. The cacophany is deafening.

Jack is rather deaf and sleeps through it all and Molly is so intent on her beauty sleep that she simply tunes it out. Doc and I have developed carry-on luggage bags under our eyes and spend the day in a state of fog. We love Sally dearly and don't begrudge her her delayed kittenhood but I will certainly welcome the warmer weather.

I am busy planning my party and keep the woman hopping with suggestions and "must haves". One of the latter was that Sheila from the PrimRose Sanctuary has to attend and she promises she will be there, with several donkeys in tow, including the venerable PrimRose who started the whole sanctuary years ago. And now, back to my stall to work on the master plan not, as herself says, "continue the devious plotting."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Some Heart-felt Thank You's

I spend much of my time deep in thought, analyzing patterns and trying to figure out what it all means. The woman refers to it as "brooding", which it is not, of course, it's strictly scientific. The rattle of the feed bin is a good thing, the concealed needle behind the vet's back is a bad thing and I have until now felt the arrival of a mini-mule is an omen of satan himself. I may have to reconsider that somewhat in light of my new discovery.

My very good friend Billie, human to Rafer and Redford donkey, has a blog at www.cameraobscura.blogspot.com, where she discusses happenings at their farm, November Hill. She also visits here regularly and has been a great support to me throughout my trials and tribulations. She has helped the cause of PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary by purchasing things in my e-store and always inquires about the state of TJ the terror's well-being (my answer is always the same "demonically possessed").

Last winter she bought some equine leg warmers for her aged mare, Salina, to see if they would help her with the aches and pains of arthritis. They did. Billie spoke about these on her blog and mentioned the name so others could purchase them. These leggings are made by a human named Mr. Petterson and can be seen on his web site, http://www.whinnywarmers.com/ . He was so pleased with Billie's endorsement that he donated a number of them to a sanctuary in the United States, and at Billie's request, sent three sets to PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary here in Roseneath, Ontario.

Now Tabolinsky, the mammoth donkey with dreadful feet, will have a set and Amos, who is around Jack's age and has a fracture in a front leg, will also have a set. Amos is the guardian of the blind jennet Patsy and will be able to fulfill his duties in comfort with the new leg gear. Russell the mule has his own personal set to help keep his nearly 40 year old joints toasty warm. TJ will NOT, as per his request, be getting a set in shiny red with lightning bolts.

Mr. Petterson has also developed anti-fly leg covers called Summer Sox and Jack and I will both be ordering sets of those. Jack has requested that his have an argyll pattern and I would like mine in paisley. The woman says we will get what we get - I dislike the phrase TJ uses to describe her but in this case it is most appropriate - she's a "hard-a**".

There appears to be a pattern to all of this (besides paisley); the setting in motion of one pro-donkey action seems to beget another, and so on. Who knew that TJ's arrival in my life would lead to all this? I envision a world-wide network, seeing to the needs of donkeys globally, with pro-donkey forces strategically situated for maximum effect. And mark my words, there will be paisley anti-fly socks in this utopian donkey world.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Bright Spot on A Frosty Day

The winds from the North Pole continue to sweep over us in spite of the sun's best efforts to strong-arm spring into making an appearance. Jack and I have spent the last three days sheltering behind the cedar hedge at the front of the paddock. Fortunately, the cedar fence rails are aged to perfection and I chew on them at my leisure. Whenever the woman sees me as she pilots her vehicle down the drive she rolls down the window and barks instructions at me to stop. I merely look puzzled and indicate that, owing to the high winds, I can't here a thing. Then I carry on chewing.

Back in the summer I mentioned that the woman and various others humans participated in something called the "Ride For Cancer" (actually, it's aimed at FIGHTING cancer, but they're only human and thus my low grammatical expectations are always exceeded). Molly hauled the woman the prerequisite 25kms and other humans pledged monies for the fight against cancer. They called themselves "Team Sheaffer", without my consent, of course, but I don't mind lending my name to a good cause.

There was some distinct unpleasantness when Molly realized she did not get to keep the money and she's still mumbling about charity beginning at home. Well, today the woman returned waving a large ribbon/badge affair, stating that Team Sheaffer had come second in this money-raising business. I was shown the ribbon and then it was whisked off to the house. I hope that means they're constructing a glass case for it so it can be exhibited in my room, but I have my doubts.

They are planning on doing this ride again next summer and I am strongly encouraging them to aim for a first place ribbon. If the woman and her friends begin harassing other humans for donations now, by August I should be in possession of an even more magnificent ribbon to go with this one. Pshaw. Now the woman is blathering on about the real purpose of this ride, which is apparently not ribbons...