Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Micro View of Winter

Being thirty six inches tall limits the overall view of things within my orbit. I thought this would be a good time, given the idiocy of the weather, to show you some of these things and let you try to figure out what they might be.

On another note, Jack is doing very well and seems to have taken over running the sanctuary. He involves himself in all activities, from food preparation to visitor tours. He dislikes being on one side of a closed door so the humans have learned to leave all doors open where possible. Sheila holds his breakfast bowl for him and she tells us that by the time he has finished smearing it on her and then licking it off, her coat looks like a plaster cast.

She has been working on trying to get him to eat soaked cubes, an effort the Woman laboured at without success. Jack saw Russell Mule eating his dinner of soaked cubes and indicated he would like some of that. So. Sheila made him up his own bowl and - that was unacceptable. He only wants cubes that have been scooped directly from Russell's bowl into his own. For someone with compromised vision, he oversees all with an eagle eye, missing nothing.

This week has had brutally cold temps, the lowest being -29 degrees. Jack, who has the run of the barn with O'Sullivan and Simon, told Sheila that he was cold and she escorted him back to his room, which is now called the "donkey bubble". He had his lunch in there, bedded up to his knees in fresh straw. The temperature in the bubble remains toasty and warm, even on the coldest days, and Jack has quickly figured that out.

For all this we are most grateful. I simply cannot imagine how he would have coped with this cold snap in our much chillier barn. I know he misses me and I miss him sorely but he is where he needs to be. I am glad he has such a hectic social schedule at the sanctuary to keep him busy. Meanwhile, I can only count the days til spring and show you my world from a donkey's eye view.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

We Are Not Amused

The woman stumbled across this supposedly humourous photo and was appalled, as am I. We fail to see the mirth to be derived from a large, young, male human riding a small donkey and wielding a broom.

This sort of thing plays to the notion that donkeys are inherently funny, deserve to be ridiculed and can be used and abused at will because, well, because we are only donkeys. The public buys into it because most have never met an actual donkey. They can't be expected to do otherwise until images like this are considered to be a testament to the gruelling and often short life led by many working donkeys - not some sort of clever joke.

The link to this image can be found here:

Please note that there is an option at the top of the photo to vote on whether or not your find the offering amusing. The Woman has already voted a resounding "no" on my behalf. If you feel as I do, please join me in letting them know what you think by using the"thumbs down" option - unfortunately there is no "hoofs down" choice.

I know this would have been better delivered from a soap box but Herself says soap boxes no longer exist. Pity.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

An Award Softens A Savage Season

Imagine my surprise and delight when one of my new readers, Calm, Forward, Straight at , saw fit to recognize my scribblings with an award. It is called a "Stylish Blogger Award" and is a particularly civilized award because I in turn am invited to pass it on to my favourite blog authors.

The first stipulation is that I must share seven things with my readers which they may not know about me. These are as follows:

1) I would like to visit each and every corner of the world that houses donkeys and to report back on their situation. The interviews could take years, especially those in the warmer climes.

2) I would dearly love to visit each and every one of my readers and linger over a cup of Orange Pekoe and a plate of Stud Muffins, while we get caught up on each other's news.

3) Don't laugh, but I think I would like to try those things called hair extensions. I have always fancied myself sporting a long and luxuriant tail, not the least because I feel it would have a slimming effect.

4) I would like to experience the wonder of having opposable thumbs, even if only for a day.

5) I would like to make Jack young again.

6) It seems quite unbelievable, I know, but I sometimes wake myself up with loud snoring! I always manage to blame Molly, however, as her snoring is legendary.

7) I have amassed a collection of rather impressive expletives which I may one day unleash on Herself. For now I bide my time and never use anything stronger than "pshaw" or "gadzooks". The time will come...

As far as passing on this delightful award, my first candidate of course must be cameraobscura, the creation of donkey admirer billie , followed by the wonderful morningbrayfarm with its special "For the Love of Donkeys" page , Fenway Bartholomule who holds forth at braysofourlives , the7msn blog which whisks me out of Siberia to the donkey paradise of New Mexico, and of course my favourite non-equine blog, bumblebearies , where my friend Vee gets up to all sorts of crafty magic.

Thank you very much to Calm, Forward, Straight for providing a bright spot in a dark season.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A New Era Begins

And by new I don't necessarily mean better. I have not spoken to the Woman nor let her touch my person since Jack was whisked away before my very eyes. AND, oh the infamy! They used the beauteous PrimRose as a femme fatale, her mere presence distracting both Jack and self so we couldn't think straight.

Herself has felt his absence keenly as well but there will be no detente any time soon. It's all very well going around looking downcast and sniffling occasionally but honestly, I'm the one who has suffered the greatest loss and she knows it. In protest, I refuse to even look at my hot dinner until she has vacated the barn. I am certainly not accepting bribes in any form even if fed by hand.

Last night I nearly softened my stance - nearly - but managed to remain aloof. She stood next to me in my room and draped her arms around my neck. She launched into a long speech about how wonderful I have been with Jack and what a good friend and how caring etc. I felt compelled to bend one ear to her ramblings. And she may be right. I knew when Jack was cold so I would press my side close into his to keep him warm through his blanket, I know he sometimes gets confused so I would lead him into his room and show him his hot dinner and, not touching it, quietly slide into my own room. I know he has trouble seeing sometimes so I always went ahead and told him what to expect. I went first with the foot man so he would understand that it was not an unpleasant experience. And I always let him win our "rasslin" matches. I had no idea that Herself had noticed any of this. She is not known for her powers of observation (she once tried to put a young masked bandit in the motor vehicle, mistaking it for our tabby cat).

She told me his needs have grown greater recently and that it will take more than one set of human hands to see to them. Honestly, couldn't she just have hired a team of Jack minders? I admit, the idea of him being in a toasty warm room last night when the temperature plunged off the bottom of the thermometer gives me a warm feeling deep inside (not my exterior - the barn could be an ice storage facility these days). But why couldn't we have both simply moved into the house here? She's incapable of seeing the obvious solution.

She reiterated that I was a stellar donkey and begged my forgiveness. It's a start but I am still debating accepting a Stud Muffin directly from her traitorous hand. Meanwhile, Molly's reaction has been to smother me with even more slobbery affection. She insists on pinning me against a wall and washing me thoroughly. Needless to say, like Sally, I have frozen spikes down my back that Herself refers to as the donkey/dinosaur look. Women. Pahh.

I hear that Jack is adjusting very well which makes me happy but it will be a good long while before I stop sensing his presence beside me. I fervently hope they aren't thinking of sending that young hooligan TJ back here...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

mi new advenchures an kareer

this here is jack speekin an i got some storee for ya this time. ya wont beleeve it but i move bak ta the sandcherry with sheila.

i bin reel cold all this wintur on account of the tempirature don't never fully get motivatid ta move up anywhere near warm. some days i been shiverin pretty good tryin ta keep miself heated sufficient. the woman got the blankut on me a while bak and lef it on and she give me a big deep bed and some heatid water but lansakes, the cold just dont wanta quit. sonnys ok on account hes young and got a good layer a blubber on im. but that jus fer your ears cos he dont like bein called fat.

there also bin a lota talk about mi teeth and i got the young vitinry so skeerd a touchin me he gets the shakes jus thinkin about it. i got a thing call a hart stutter or murmer or somethin that i don feel until i gotta clim a hill but it sure as shootin skeer him pretty good. also i got a good ripe smell comin outta mi mouth these days - i dont mine at all at all but it makes the humins bak up pritty quick i kin tell ya.

anyways it seem the woman bin talkin ta sheila and they decide between em that its time fer me ta have what they call more intense care. so yestirday sheila show up with that metal box a hers an a bunch a humans i seen before and who do ya think was in tha box? onlee the best looking lady donkey in the histry a the donkey world is all! an holee jumpin criminy shes a looker! sonnys descripshun dont do her justice. its primrose herselve and she sashay out in her pink blankut and announce to the world she have arrive jus like the qweene. me an sonny go nuts and tear up the padduck callin her over. molly goes to yellin and hollerin cos she want to go in the metal box. no surprize there she jus a joy ridin fool.

nex thing i kno i follow the primrose inta the box an thats ok cause i got her ta look at all ta miself. she mosly ignore me tho bein royaltiy an all. we stop once fer the humans ta take on food and drink and i git to pawin and kiking and hammerin on that metal box til mi ears ring. i tell ya they know jack has hit town! primrose jus look disgustd.

we arrive soon an mi word sheila got a whole room for me all insulate up cozy and a heatir if i need it. the laurel woman made me mi own ear warmers fer reel cold days and i look pritty slick in em. i got the run a the barn so i don got ta go out in the bad weather and i got three other guys with me that need speshul care. we got a big roun thing a hay the size a small automobile. the woman send mi bukit feed pan food snaks and a course that stoopit wormer stuff with me. she evin cook my evenin meal an sen it so i feel at right at home. an this mornin i git another hot meal which i lik jus fine. sheila is trying to get me ta eat soaked alfalfer cube but i tole the woman and i tole her no sir i onlee like em broke up real fine by hand.

sheila tole the woman that i wok in my new room las night like i own it and thats exakly how i feel. onlee bad thing is sheila got the sandcherry vit comin nex week an she aint skeerd ta look in mi mouth. well we see who wins that one - im 44 year old which is a few more than her an i gotta life time a tricks up mi sleeve.

mi stars i miss sonny tho. hes the one what got me bak in good shape and he bin a true and loyal fren to me. i wil think on him every day and i will nevir fergit what all he done fer me.

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

Friday, January 7, 2011

Doc At Winter Camp

He has now been there a week and is having a thoroughly good time. He loves the activity of a large barn and, given his sociable nature, was greeted warmly by old friends and is making lots of new ones, human and other. The first day in the large indoor riding room he put on a display of leaping and air boxing when the Woman put him on the spinning rope. She said he looked like an orange salmon trying to spawn. Since then he has settled down and is hauling Herself around in there almost daily.

Meanwhile, Molly remains peevish because she knows exactly where Doc is and would like to be there herself. She spends her days commandeering whatever hay pile Jack and I are are working on. She has grown a goat-like beard this year and, coupled with her habit of grunting, she is looking and sounding like a Sasquatch pony. We are all dreading shedding season, when it finally comes.

Jack is struggling with the cold this year, in spite of his heavy winter blanket. The woman has plans to install a fleece lining in it. Given her seamstressing skills, which are nil, and her complete lack of fine motor skills, we can assume she will do as usual and sew it to herself.

Sally is almost permanently in her heated bed, and owing to virtually no exercise, she has grown to fill the whole thing. Getting in and out requires much concentration on her part or the whole bed becomes wedged on her hips. She is a simple soul and requires only sustenance and regular patting to remain perfectly happy. Molly grooms her daily so her fur is arranged in spikes all down her back.

And I? I persevere. That's all I can say. My mind is in warmer climes but my body remains resolutely stuck in the snow drifts.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year One and All

Well, here we are, another year having whistled by like the proverbial bullet. Odd how the winter months trudge and the summer ones travel at the speed of light. I have a few news items to report on this first day of 2011.

First of all, my dear friend Mosby Horse (senior equine to Emi Human) turns 36 years old today. He is in fine fettle, still leaping and frolicing about his paddock and still very much in charge of his harem of older horse ladies. He is receiving lots of congratulatory cards; ours features a fortune-telling ape of some sort and was chosen by Doc. Doc was driven over there yesterday to use their large indoor riding room for two months and he was chanting "Partaaaay, partaaaay, wooooo!" as he drove away so I can only hope Mosby is prepared.

Our friend Laurel, who volunteers at PrimRose, took some photographic imprints of O'Sullivan and Simon in their new and colourful coats so you could see just how stylish they look. We believe Simon's to be a Black Watch pattern and O'Sullivan's to be a window pane design. They are both inordinately pleased.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy year to come, with lots of empty calories and warm sunshine, free of burrs and full of Stud Muffins.