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.


billie said...

An amazing day all around, Sheaffer, and what a treat to see it via the lovely photos!

I am so happy for Ben and Jerry, and the united front photo is a classic.

And Jack's reunion with Sheila made me cry. My goodness - a fine day indeed!

ponymaid said...

Billie, these are giddy donkey days indeed. Ben and Jerry are winning over a whole new group of humans and most of the horses are beginning to accept their presence. There is still some wild-eyed snorting and blowing but B&J just politely ignore it. We donkeys are embarrassed by the histrionics to which some horses are prone and feel the best policy is to remain aloof. Jack's reunion with Sheila transcended anything the woman and I have seen before. It was sublimely wonderful. And to think some humans dismiss other animals as dim and unfeeling. Tchaah! They don't know Jack.

billie said...

The new photos remind me of the day Rafer Johnson arrived, also documented in photos on my blog.

He was so little and of course the first donkey to join our family, and I remember mostly how brave he was in the face of 4 big animals. Keil Bay and the pony thought he had landed here from Mars, Cody seemed very calm, and Salina of course thought he was an orphan baby who badly needed her to be its mother.

We spent the day letting him visit each horse individually with us and all of them over the fence,and we had originally planned for him to spend the first night in the barn aisle where he could be in the company of all w/o the close interactions of any yet, but he and Cody were so comfortable together, and Rafer was so small and sweet, we decided to let he and Cody have a stall and the grass paddock together.

We checked on them through the night, but they were very happy together.

It was only on the second day that we let Salina loose with Rafer - she was so insistent on mothering him we didn't want to overwhelm him. But she settled down and they went in the field together and that was that. Poor Cody had one night of a best new pal and then Salina wouldn't let him near for the longest time!

Redford sailed into the herd like he had always been here, but of course Rafer had paved the way by being such an amazing donkey. The horses knew exactly what to expect.

Jack and Sheila's reunion is one of those things everyone should see - it would make believers out of the most uninformed of humans.

Gale said...

Emi is one lucky person, and Ben and Jerry are two lucky donkeys. Ben and Jerry will soon get those horses off the barn ceiling and have them begging for a small taste of hay. I hope Ben and Jerry will post here about their new home. It's always a wonderful thing when TWO donkeys go to a new home together!!!

The pictures of Sheila and Jack had me reaching for the Kleenex. That must have been something to see. Wish I lived closer...well, not this time of year know what I mean.

We've had several days of steady drizzle...the daffodils are blooming but slumped over with all the rain. I will try to get photos of the cedar tree "artwork" as soon as the sky stops falling. Spring is headed your way, Sheaffer!

completecare said...

Hi Sheaffer,

We had quite an emotional few minutes in the barn this morning as our human filled my mom and I in on Jack and Sheila's reunion. The end result was many extra hugs and scratches - unfortunately no treats were forthcoming!!!

As many of your long time readers already know, my mom and I are foster donkeys from the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada. My mom was a rescue but I was born at the sanctuary so have know nothing but love and kindness. It is amazing how donkeys like Jack and my mom can suffer abuse but can learn to trust again if given the chance.

Our human always updates us on the happenings at the DSC when the newsletter arrives. The latest one mentions that Sheila from PrimRose and the DSC are working together to find homes for the many needy donkeys that have come to their attention.

Make sure you do not stress yourself over the planning of your birthday party. Let the humans do all the work so that you will be in "good form" to meet and greet all your special guests.

Your Fan,


rangus said...

Hello All
A heady few days indeed at Serendipity! Ben and Jerry have turned our little world upside down. Far better than the first Robin of Spring. Of course the Lads are showing a sensible donkeylike detachment from all the fuss going on around them. The Equines are starting to settle down or at least get their 4 on the floor. I suspect a return to normal in a few more days. Ben has informed me today that he will likely have a few words to say in the near future. He is a very reserved and thoughtful soul. I suspect he wants to complete his observations before he comments. Having met Sheila I can see why Jack would hold her in such warm regard. A truly wonderful woman indeed. Springlike weather and Donkeys...who could ask for more.

Buddy said...

This is just an awesome story - Ben and Jerry, Sheila and Jack. It warms my horsie heart!


ponymaid said...

Billie, Rafer was obviously the donkey ambassador in your herd - he allowed Redford to slide in effortlessly and take up his role as junior donkey. Rafer's broken leg ordeal showed just how stoical and mature even a very young donkey can be.

Gale, I too love these stories with happy endings and I agree, two donkeys are always better than one. Ben promises to give us an update soon. The woman assures me they have a trail of adoring humans following their every move. We wish you lived closer too - the Jack moment was unexpected and most touching. He may occasionally forget things like where his stall is but he will never, ever forget Sheila. I'm highly interested in those artistic images you mentioned...

Willy, I'm glad you and your mum Bert got the whole story but saddened at the lack of treats...I hope you did the downtrodden donkey face as a result. It seems both sanctuaries are just scrambling these days to find homes for so many unwanted and abused donkeys - these are hard times. I very much hope you can come to my party? And of course bring your entourage of humans. You can then see for yourself how emaciated I really am.

rangus, your soul is now complete. What was missing was donkeys and now your psychological needs have been met. We await Ben's insights with bated breath. Like myself, he needs to gather his scientific data before publishing a report. I promise to come for a visit soon to meet my new nephews.

Buddy, hope all is well with you. Has your woman spoken any further about getting you your own donkey companion? Sheila has many in need of homes but the transport to you might be a tad complicated and long. Are you coming to my party? There is an aeroplane called a Concorde that might work well for you.

Ben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben said...

Hello Shaeffer. My name is Ben. My Stepbrother, Jerry, and I were recently rescued by the wonderful Sheila human at Primrose Sanctuary. Now we have been adopted by the Emi lady at Serendipity. I am so happy that she took both of us as I would be lost without Jerry, even though he is a little brash and pushy. Jerry says that he will contact you when he tires of his current game of "Petrify the 1200lb equine by twitching an ear." I keep warning him that you only get one chance to make a first impression. I have heard that Emi may require our services as "Therapy" Donkeys, well , from my initial sessions on Saturday I can see we have our work cut out for us. I hope that I may consult with you on occasion as I am told you are a Philosopher of note and much of this is new to me. For example; Emi lady said something about trying a weight tape on us tonight. Is it heavy? We are both quite fit, so I see no need for a weight lifting regimen. Have you any insight on this?
Until later

Buddy said...

Sheaffer - I will be at your party in spirit - whatever that means. Please have your woman take lots of photos so we can see how much fun you had.

Ben - so glad to see you posting here - please keep updated as me and my mom just love you and Jerry - such a nice story.

Sheaffer - tell Molly I send my love.


billie said...

Yay, Ben and Jerry!!

I personally think the Ben and Jerry of ice cream fame should announce a brand new flavor. I'll have to think about the name, but of course it would have little chocolate donkeys inside! And a portion of proceeds could go to Primrose and other donkey sanctuaries.

Nachodonkey said...

Sheaffer, I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Ben and Jerry on Saturday. What a darling pair!!! They posed for the camera like professionals so I got some good pics. I thought it hilarious the way the other horses were acting. You would think they were sabre-toothed donkeys about to devour them. Mel came home last night and said that her horse Cass had quite the opposite reaction to all the others. She immediately started to nicker and call them over. Even when she went back to her stall she was calling for them. She seems to think they are long lost babies.

My other daughter and two granddaughters came with me yesterday and were quite taken with the very friendly duo. Emi invited my six year old granddaughter to Sheaffer's party and apparently that is all she has been talking about ever since. I think this party is turning out to be the event of the century and hopefully will raise money and awareness for donkeys less fortunate.

Nachodonkey said...

Billie, Barn staff have already beat you to the punch!! The names are Chunkey Money and Cherry Garcia.

Ben said...

Happy Day Sheaffer
The Sun is warm and the muck is drying up. A perfect day to stretch out in the Paddock and contemplate. There was a most amazing demonstration of equitation this morning. We heard a great noise coming from the spacious indoor riding room, which is close to our paddock. Suddenly a most enormous steed busrst through the doors and raced past us onto the outdoor riding area. It was screaming and roaring and bucking. It was so worked up that it even seemed to be steaming. The Colleen lady was riding it and despite the steeds wild behaviour actually waved and smiled at us as she thundered past.
Such courage. She somehow manged to tame the beasts fury and proceeded to make it bend to her will. It was lead to perform a series of loops and circles and then they sped off. Jerry and I watched in rapt fascination and called our admiration as they left. I heard that the process was harrowing and can only agree with the description. I have not seen that breed of equine before. It was strangely developed. Perhaps one of the Draught breeds?I heard the Emi woman call it Kubota. This surely is a place of wonders.
You really must visit

Buddy said...

Chunky Monkey and Cherry Garcia - very good names. My moms loves the Cherry Garcia - she is not a big banana ice cream fan but she approves of both names.

Wonder what ice cream is???


ponymaid said...

Ben, I'm glad to hear you're settling in so well and using a firm upper hoof on the humans and horses. Best to get that established at the beginning. Under no circumstances should you let them use that fiendish weight tape on you. It is an instrument of the devil and can only lead to sorrow and suffering (on your part). Run, my friend, run. Run fast and far when you see the wretched thing. What you saw today is fairly common; a human using a horse slave to transport them aimlessly. I do not know why humans have this burning compulsion but we donkeys are usually not afflicted. Except Jack, who has the sway back to show for it. From the sounds of it, this human Colleen may also be a lion tamer. Molly speaks very highly of her. In terms of your speaking voice - use it at every opportunity and aim for staying power. The last notes of your bray should still be hanging in the air half an hour after you've stopped. And Ben, do not hesitate to consult me on any matter - as you can see, I have hopefully saved you misery on the weight tape front. I look forward to meeting you and Jerry at my party. Are you tea or coffee drinkers?

Billie and Buddy, I do not understand these ice cream analogies. Nor have I sampled ice cream but I'm never surprised by the level of silliness that can be achieved by humans when they put their minds to it. My own woman is calling Ben and Jerry "The Good Humour Men". Why, I cannot say. Unless it has something to do with their future role in the field of therapy...

Nacho, I understand there are varying reactions from the horses at Emi's when in the presence of Ben and Jerry. Some wish to smother them with affection, others wish to examine them in a personal way and others are still trying to head for the hills. I find horses are usually intimidated by our lavish ears and the bold cross on our backs. I understand Nacho himself will be attending my "do"? Is he allowed tea or coffee or should he stick to the lemon squash? I believe he will be the youngest donkey in attendance.

billie said...

Sheaffer, you must tell the woman immediately that instead of putting FIRE on your birthday cake she should serve it heaped with ICE CREAM.

I am not sure about the taste preferences of donkeys for sweets (Redford initially declined a peppermint!) but somehow I think if you enjoy cake, ice cream will be good too.

We will clearly need to add more boxcars to our "donkey peace train" that will be running from north to south and back again. (and east and west as needed to pick up Buddy and any other travelers wanting to evade bugs and cold)