Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Update and Some Explanation of The Auction Photos

First of all, thank you Gayle for making them viewable on the blog - Herself is not quite - well, she means well, but you know ummmm...nevermind, I'll say no more.

The jack donkey is now called Leon and is thriving at Sheila's. Turns out he's a real people person when overtures are friendly and no one offers to strike him about the head. His feet are terribly long but will come back with care. He is to have what I have heard referred to as "brain surgery" on his nether regions. Humans - just don't know their donkey anatomy. He has a festering sore under his chin, possibly from the too-tight halter he has been wearing for who knows how long and several warty growths. He is young, just six, and is rapidly coming out of his state of guardedness.

The small pregnant jenny is now called Annabelle and after a rough first night, she is settling in well. The farrier made an emergency call on Monday and best of all, though the jenny is horribly foundered, it is a "mechanical" founder (this does not mean her feet are mechanized in any way) but that it is strictly from neglect and none of the internal foot structures are harmed. The humans who consigned her sawed off the front of her hoofs in an attempt no doubt to spruce her up for the auction. She has been dusted with louse powder, has been wormed and will have a vet check this week. She is being doted on by a volunteer called Carol and spends much time with her head buried in Carol's arms.

Annabelle had a bay pony stallion friend in her pen (possibly the father of her unborn baby?), consigned by the same humans, and he too was foundered but no longer lame and had also had his halter taken away. He was extremely courteous with the jenny and the humans alike and knew how to pull a cart and carry children. He was only about ten or eleven hands high so you can see in the photos that Annabelle is truly tiny. The pony was sold for twenty five dollars - fate unknown.

The lamb is now called Kristina-Rose, after the young lady who helped load the trailer and who lent a pony halter to Annabelle (knotted twice at the crown) so she could be led. The lamb is still confused (she is only four months old but was one of the largest at the auction) and sometimes seeks the security of the carrier in which she was transported but Helen, the ancient sheep, is behaving like a great granny and bossing her around so all will be well shortly. Goliath, the small donkey who is self-appointed sheep guardian, is hovering like an expectant father outside their pen, making whuffling noises of assurance.

Laurel, the saintly volunteer who works with TJ/Virgil has offered to take some photos of the crew and send them tomorrow so we shall all be able to see them in the safety and comfort of their new digs.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Three And A Half Now Safe at PrimRose

About two weeks ago my highly-tuned senses began to pick up news of an abandoned donkey in our vicinity. The woman's brow grew more furrowed and she had many telephonic consultations with Sheila. I knew something was afoot and kept my highly receptive ears tuned for more information.

In brief, a young male donkey had been caught in the middle of a nasty family fracas and had been unceremoniously turned loose to fend for himself, near a highway, for two weeks. Finally, he was caught and turned over to someone who holds such foundlings for the town for thirty days until they are claimed or sold at auction. Sheila and the woman desperately tried to speak with the powers that be, offering to buy the foundling so he wouldn't have to endure another traumatic experience and would be assured of a happy future. No response was forthcoming and the wall of silence remained unbreached so the poor lad went off to a livestock/meat auction last Saturday.

Sheila was embroiled in a fundraiser at the same time and so Herself volunteered to go to the auction, on Sheila's behalf, in an attempt to purchase said donkey. She was joined by some other donkey rescue troops who formed a determined cadre, bent on emerging with donkey in tow. The weather behaved disgracefully, with the skies opening in a tap-like fashion and refusing to shut off all day. The auction site was a horror of mud and mire and crying animals.

And there they found the soaking wet donkey, along with four horses, in the only outdoor pens at the place. A short time later, a small, bedraggled female donkey was thrust into another pen. She was lice-ridden, pregnant and foundered and her consignors thought so little of her that they took her halter away with them. The group determined that she must somehow be taken to PrimRose as well.

The day wore on and it became evident that the donkeys would be the very last to be auctioned . The rain came down in buckets and the donkeys, without food for the duration and probably since the night before, stood forlornly in their pens. Finally, they were chased into the auction ring and the woman set to with some furious bidding. She said she only began breathing again when the hammer went down and the man wielding it said SOLD! in her direction.

Then began the process of getting the donkeys from the pens to the PrimRose trailer. Geographically, these are as far removed from the busy loading docks as possible. There was a moment of great concern when it was discovered the little jenny had lain down in exhaustion and defeat and didn't have the energy to stand. She was finally coaxed up and followed the young donkey lad to the trailer, reluctant to walk on the concrete because of her deformed and aching feet.

I must mention that a lamb had also been purchased by the woman as company for the ancient rescue sheep, Helen, whose equally ancient sheep friend died recently. It was felt that Helen would come out of her deep depression if another ovine companion was found. And that is how, at a meat auction, three and one half creatures out of thousands, found their way to the safety of PrimRose and not to ...well, somewhere else.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Magnificent Gift from Scotland

Thank goodness for friends near and far. My bitter disappointment at being excluded from last weekend's visit to Willy Donkey's place has been tempered by the generosity and thoughtfulness of Dougie Donk in Scotland. He sent me a large, mysterious box all way across the Atlantic Ocean. And what a gift there was inside!

We received a notice in our mailbox that a parcel had arrived at the local post office and the woman duly set off at her snail's pace to retrieve it. I watched her embarking in her vehicle and she said casually over her shoulder "Sheaffer, the notice has your name on it." My name on it? I felt that in that case her pace could have been a tad brisker. I waited by the fence with bated breath. Ages later she came trundling back and showed me a large box wrapped in brown paper. The excitement was almost unbearable.

After fumbling first with a kitchen knife and then a pair of ancient scissors, she prised the thing open and there in protective wrapping was the most magnificent hat I have ever beheld. A Fire Fighter's hat to be precise. It is made of the finest dark blue wool, with a peak and a band of black patent leather on the front. And...I could hardly contain my official badge that says "Strathclyde Fire Brigade". I felt quite weak in the knees. Then the woman showed me the inside and it says "Bates Hatter, 21 Jermyn St., St. James S., London". I had to lean on the fence to recover my sense of equilibrium. I have long dreamt of having an offcial hat but to have one made by the finest hatters in London - well - words fail me.

Thank you Dougie. You understood my unease with year after year having plastic nonsense foisted on me as novelty headgear. My problem is solved. From now on I will have a most official and dignified presence at all public affairs. I understand you made a pact with the resident fire fighter at your place to not drag him about the paddock for at least a week in exchange for his hat. Please thank that kind soul as well. I hope he isn't put in a dungeon or sent to the Orkneys on a training course as punishment for donating his hat to me so selflessly. You are a good donkey and he is a gallant human.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Gracious Invitation...And I Was Left Behind

I've wrestled back control of what Jack insists on calling my "blob", and just in time, too. You won't believe what has happened. Actually, if you are a regular visitor here you won't be surprised in the least.

Saturday morning the woman came out to chambermaid our rooms and announced that she and the male human and Jamie (our minder when they are away) and Mosby's human, Emi, had been invited to Willy donkey's house for the day. Then she casually mentioned that I was also invited but that there was no room in the vehicle. Preposterous - I have a metal box on wheels parked right outside the paddock, and I prefer to travel solo in any case. She is simply mean-spirited and intent on keeping me away from any sort of situation that might provide a donkey with a pleasureable few hours.

Of course THEY had a wonderful time and were toured about and wined and dined and generally treated like honoured guests - of which I should have been one. Willy's place is called "The Moose's Roost" and is a superlative retirement facility for a small number of lucky horses. It is also home to Willy and his mother Roberta (Bert) and to Molly and Marble donkey. They toured the humans around their paddock and summer house and gave a rousing and sometimes physical display of how to extract treats from a many-sided ball thing called a Nose-It. Willy has it down to a fine art and forces the thing to expel treats in all directions. He is not terribly keen on sharing said treats. Occasionally his mother or one of the other donkey ladies fires off a hind hoof in his direction, Willy bellows and it begins all over.

Willy's human, Joan, and her friend Marlene were responsible for arising at the crack of dawn, motoring over to Mosby's and Emi's place on the day of my party/fundraiser and extracting considerable monies for the 50/50 draw. They were key to the success of the venture and I commend them for their stellar effort in helping the PrimRose donkeys.

I know THEY wanted me to be included in the visiting party. The blame must be laid in it's usual place - directly at the grotty feet of Herself, who wouldn't know a breach of etiquette if it bit her on the ankle.

Friday, June 11, 2010

a jack flash

sonny is still thinkin about his partee and gatherin material fer his memoroars and what not so i thot i would get ya up ta date. i kinda hi-Jacked his writin, so ta speek. also the g 7 or 8 or 9 or sumthin is takin place in the citee soon and hes expectin them to ast him to speak at it and adress all them world leeders. i dunno...its like the queen showin up to his partee - mebbee it could happin and mebbee not. all i kno is i ain't goin to no citee.

anyways i'm doin reel good, sheddin plenty and mopping up my eight squares a day. i put a good run on sonny mornin and evenin juss ta keep him movin. he puts in toooo much brain work and not enough runnin. vitinary is comin to flile teeth nex week but i don have ta get mine done on account they ain't growin no more and i got no abcisses. i'll stay to a good distance and put the stink eye on him.

molly horse is clear cutting the paddock and is reeel mad at the electrik wire that keeps us off a the long stuff. she keeps testin it and goin OW, dammit. she's gettin a wide body saddle cos her reglar one is too tight in her sholders since she been climbin mountins. she feels superieur on account she gits to go with the woman to the foress all teh time an shes always sayin no boys allowd juss girls and then she flounce off on the metal box, all struck up like.

doc went on another play date and had hissefl a wunderful time stompin on fake briges and fake watter and i dont know what all. woman has ta do that stuf otherwise hes reel jealos and pitches a fit when molly goes out to the foress. woman call is qualitee time but i think hes juss spoilt gettin driven all over creation juss to go play with other horses.

cats is good too but violet cat keeps on ketchin baby bunnnnies and leavin the boddies at the house door - she keep the head for herself. sally couldn ketch nothin if she sat on it by akkcitent. she once find a drownded mouse and give it ta sonny but he dont appreciate it so much bein on his hay.

penny dog is good too and puttin in lots a runnin and jumpin an then bathin in our water tank which aint so good. that dog shed somethin fierce unner water and i dont got no teeth to strain dog hair with.

thass it fer now i jusst wanted to ketch ya up to date. goin back to chasin sonny now.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Party - Some Further Thoughts

It has seemed awfully quiet the last few days and we are all beginning to lose that glazed look. I have thought deeply on the events of the big day and have some observations to share.

I have studied those porta-potties and I don't trust them. They are the size of a small standing stall turned on end, which is to say quite compact. Humans go in and seem to simply disappear. Perhaps I glanced away at a crucial moment but maybe they are just dematerialized. I have no scientific evidence to the contrary so for now I will avoid them. The woman calls them the "Tardis" - she is as mad as a hatter.

Russell Mule doesn't trust them either. Last year he had a terrible time convincing the humans that he had to answer the call of nature -they obtusely guessed at everything else until he practically dragged them into a stall. This year he was much more comfortable being at the party because he had good memories from last year. He discretely concealed himself behind a large shurb and used it instead of a stall. He says he wouldn't give those porta-potties the time of day. That is how a young mule gets to be an old mule.

PrimRose's new hat is the height of millinery elegance. I admired her from afar but didn't dare approach the distinguished lady herself. Last year I tried and she made a snorking noise and twitched her tail, so I must admire in secret and hide my unrequited love. Who knew that a middle-aged donkey bachelor could suffer such a "crise de coeur".

Speaking of hats, a young lady named Sabrina attended my party sporting the most magnificent salad-like creation on her head. She graciously presented me with a bag of donkey treats, hugged me gently and gallantly removed some small carrots from her hat and offered them as a snack. Too bad Queen Elizabeth 2 could not make it - I feel sure she would have rewarded such good breeding with a title -" Keeper of The Royal Hat", perhaps.

Carrot cake is an abomination. It has very little to do with carrots and appears to be coated with white vermifuge. The two large birthday cakes skulked on a table under an awning contraption and even though this year they did not arrange flames on the top (thanks to a brisk wind) I refused to approach too closely.

Those monkey cupcakes are the demon offspring of the carrot cakes.

The bake sale table contained no Stud Muffins.

Mosby does not feel thirty-five years of age and thinks a sign saying "Green, Rank Stud Inside!" was long overdue for the front of his stall. Emi, his human, agrees. Maybe if I had one of those PrimRose would give me a second look...

I was more than pleased to lend a hoof to such a worthy cause but relieved to finally retire to the quiet of my room. I confess, I was so tired that while the woman was cooking our dinner, one minute I was leaning over the stall guard giving her instructions and the next minute my nose began to brush the floor and my knees to buckle. I have a year in which to ruminate over all I have experienced and observed - I may have to write a book.