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September 2010

In the August newsletter we jumped forward to the beginning of September when we were honoured to be asked to have a stall at the SA Dressage Championships.  We continued after the show to receive a veritable beanfeast of feed and fodder donated and left behind or in Treloar’s horsebox by competitors on their way home.  A fabulous amount of cash was banked in the Unit’s account being proceeds of the Auction arranged by Candice and that will go a long way towards meeting various needs of our four legged friends.   To everyone who contributed in whatever way we say, thank you so much.

In the middle of the Show, Stanley and I made time for a visit to a Backpackers who were having problems with their donkeys and harnessing, and we managed to sort it all out without too much problem.
We, on Field Trips sometimes come across things we do not understand, like abortion storms in cattle, and so we are lucky that we have the Department of Agriculture who we are able to  alert to the problem and who hopefully are able to assist at no cost to the owners.
Georgia Rohrich had a birthday during September, and it had been arranged that the party would be held at the Unit.   So when I arrived back from a Field Trip to Humansdorp, I found the place buzzing with youngsters and their parents and with Liezl handling the occasion well.  Along with a thorough grooming of donkeys by the participants, we had arranged a donkey cart to pop in and give the children rides and I did notice that one or two parents decided not to be done out of a ride themselves!    Birthday gifts were requested to be in cash and were donated along with some kind donations of bales of fodder.  I sincerely hope that Georgia enjoyed her birthday that day, because the Unit and the donkeys certainly did! Thank you so much.
The jenny, Thembi, who had ended August off with the birth of her foal, got over her prolapse but her foal, although initially thought to be strong, died suddenly although every veterinary effort was made to save her.   It really and truly hurt us all.
On being called to a northern Metro township animal, it was found that she was giving birth but was having some difficulty in doing so.  After some manipulation, the foetus was ejected but clearly it was not to term as it was hairless and way too underdeveloped to be a viable foal. 
A chance Spotcheck on an overloaded cart in a northern area led to us meeting up with the Road Rangers, a Department of Roads and Transport initiative to keep livestock off the roads.  The relevant details were obtained from the Ranger and hopefully someone somewhere will entertain the idea for Walmer – well, let’s hope so anyway.

Meisie had her foal and what a little cutie Kleintjie is – she has even got secret socks on!   Good to have a ‘normal’ foaling.
Our Liezl was sponsored by Kiara with riding lessons and started this month.  Liezl has gone from false nails to avid equine admirer and had mentioned that she would just like to ride and Kiara (0833463209) made her offer.  So Liezl goes off for an hour and seems to be coming along just fine – although I am not sure what Kiara is going to do when she gets to International A!
Talking about Volunteers we need to tell you that this month with the School Hols, we have been so lucky with all the young girls and ladies who have pitched, grabbed a brush, halter and lead rein, and just gone and given one or more donkey or horse a good grooming.  You are so important to us and we value you devoting your holiday time to all our needs – Thank you.

A very late afternoon call about 4 horses heading into town down Old Cape Road had us all very concerned.   We assisted the SAPS Mounted Unit to get the horses safely off the road and out of the way of 5 o’clock traffic.  Our concern was that we really had no idea to whom they belonged.  But sometimes it just pays to wait.  And in due course, the owners called in to us to ask for assistance with their problems and so it goes.
It was all a tad confusing because some other fellow had lost his 2 ponies on the same day and had been directed to us to see if we had them.   Luckily another of our ‘customers’ had phoned in earlier to say that he had two ponies wandering around his garden and he was happy to keep them until they were claimed.   One was put in touch with the other and the story had a happy ending and we have found one more equine owner that needs our assistance.  It’s all about communication.

Coming home from banking one afternoon, I was hauled over by Capts Bradley and Richardson from Walmer Police Station who indicated a dog that had been run over and was in very bad shape – I picked it up onto the bakkie and took it to the vet!  Only to find around the corner about 50 goats trying to cross the road and that an AWS pedestrian staff member and I assisted to cross the road!   Exciting times indeed.
A donkey problem referred to the Unit by a Veterinarian led to us bringing the donkey mare and 18 month ‘baby’ in for treatment.  Through a number of circumstances relating to adjoining landowners, a group of dogs had attacked the old mommy on the ears and face, nearly ripping the ears off!  Treatment commenced forthwith, eating as well, and just to add to the mix, we weaned the ‘baby’ that has turned out to be a mule!

A Uitenhage owner phoned in a complete state about his donkey that was ‘down’.  We hurried through with the horsebox to fetch the recumbent animal and get it to the vet.  Nothing broken, just totally unable to get up!  It appeared that she had had an altercation with a vehicle and had come off second best.  Although it looked like it was going to be a bad ending, she has surprised us all.  We started off using a pole to try and get her up with no success at all, but on the following Monday, she had clearly decided to work with us and recovery improved every single day – going from 6 people to get her up, to 1 person holding her tail and then doing it all by herself!  We feel that she truly deserves the name we have given her which is Mangaliso (Xhosa for ‘miracle’).   Aside from one bedsore that is almost sorted, she has recovered fully and is a beautiful little donk and is currently in the Big Girls Camp getting stronger by the day.   Well done, Mangaliso, and the staff that really did everything they could in supportive therapy – like grooming, carrots, carrots and more carrots.

Huey and Dewey, surrendered donkeys, have found a loving child filled home.   They are going to be jacks (no pun intended) of all trades, looking after sheep and cattle with the odd cart pulling with the children.  We did good business with the selling of our home-made harnessing as well!
There are Donors and donors and we are the happy recipients of their generosity.  Money, fodder and, in some cases, purchasers of tack that we have made out of donated materials! If it is difficult or too bulky for you to deliver, we can always make a plan to collect.  It is all ‘grist for our mill’ so Thank you to all contributors.
Staff self-defence courses have now come to an end although for three weeks everyone really got ‘heavy’ and learned new skills, which is just as well as unwelcome visitors have made further visits.   But we are all ready and when the alarm is raised,  know what to do and all look after each other.

Although I set out every morning with a plan for the day, often it takes just one phone call to upend my plans (and tend to totally upend any keeping to my Budget!).   On a recent Saturday field trip to Grahamstown, before we could even start the clinic, I was asked to attend to another donkey with ‘a big problem’.   Poor girl, she had been attacked by dogs overnight and was in serious trouble and pain.  Both eyeballs having been popped she really had no future but we were able to handle the problem promptly.  The SAPS had been called and were on the spot, the owner was present, as was the interpreter, and the order for euthanasia given with which the SAPS did the job.   Quite a start to the day, but we were able to continue knowing that the girlie was out of her misery and pain, and concluding with the removal of stitches from a spayed bitch that was long overdue.   The donkey carcass was brought home on the bakkie and taken to the Kragga Kamma Game Park for disposal as the Cleansing Department was not going to be able to remove it anytime soon.

Talking about recycling, I have found that Eric from Grahamstown is a dab hand at leatherwork.   So, all that old leather that you would not use on your horse any more and have donated to the Unit, like stirrup leathers, has been taken to him on our trips and he has commenced making the most donkey friendly bridles for us to buy from him to circulate to other donkey owners.  His needs are simple: waxed cotton for stitching and Velcro for the nosebands. And next time I will take him some old browbands too.   Sterling work!  Of course Eric learned his trade thanks to Annerie Wolmarans sending him to Dee of Animal Issues Matter (http://capeaim.webs.com to join up) where he was taught ‘best practice’ by World Horse Welfare saddlers, and now we are deriving a benefit from this forethought.   Any leather strips, straps, whatever, are most welcome if you don’t know what to do with your old tack.
And then we were presented with an abandoned horse that had hurt itself on wire fencing.  We went to go and collect the animal but in the end event, the attending Vet recommended euthanasia.  She looked like a Thoroughbred and what an undignified ending to her life.  Sad too that she was handed over with the farm when it was bought by someone new.

On the last weekend of the month, it being my off weekend and in need of some 'time out', I decided to take off into the blue yonder.  Knowing that between Stanley and Liezl who have now been instructed how to and that they could handle the collection of a damaged animal and all the stuff that goes on after being assessed and treated and brought in to the Unit, I was able to leave at my leisure.   Highlights of my trip was a visit to World of Birds at The Crags where one parrot decided to really hang around me and brought all his friends!   The other was going to Tenikwa, a wild cat (from Servals to Leopards) R R R (rescue, rehab, release) centre, where on being introduced to the Leopard I found myself staring at a poster that featured a photograph of two of our donkey predator controllers with their herd of sheep!    We won’t go into the Robberg hike (the short one!) or Knysna Waterfront, but it was a real change from normal weekends with no insurmountable problems for the Staff!

Time is slipping by faster and faster and it is almost next Christmas!   It would be lovely to see you at the Animal Welfare Sunday on the 3rd (two days away).  Lord knows, we and our animals all need those
Blessings bestowed upon us in order to do our ‘jobs’.


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