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February 2010

After an exciting two days preparing and doing the NMMM Cart Recapitalisation roll-out that has been in the planning and executing of The Solution over three years, I am very glad to say that February 2010 was a memorable one, filled with all sorts of different cases leaving everyone scratching their heads and having us on our knees with exhaustion!  Herewith an abridged Diary for the month.

Aside from the weekly feed deliveries (thanks to Equifeeds) to all the Metro townships as well as stray donkeys and manure deliveries to next door, and the collection or receiving of fodder donations (Thank you Ian and Nina and Feed and Seed) and the inspection of horses here and a horse there, collection of donated tack from PE Saddlery and sales of tack to visitors, all adding up time wise, we have had all the routine stuff with many mouths to feed and a hectic medical round every day!

We admitted a mare with Mastitis at the end of January but much to our confusion, the Mastitis would not go away!  Then I saw something funny and on Iooking closer, I found two fang marks in her udder that was nicely swollen because she had a foal at foot and probably lay down on a snoozy puff adder.   Having found the fang punctures we then could engage on a proper treatment which had the desired results quite quickly, but not before the udder sprouted yet another abscess below the wound.   I am happy to report that the owner in Uitenhage was so happy and excited to get her and her foal back home again.

Elliot the horse from the same township on the 2nd day of the month with a low-grade colic.  He never stopped eating and drinking but the low-grade pain just went on and on and on.  Obviously his pain level was controlled and monitored on an on going basis, many tubings and rectals and night visits, but what made it more frustrating for vets and us alike, was that the obstruction could be felt moving slowly through his system.  With about a foot to go, he suddenly got very distressed and a decision was made.   Post mortem revealed a large, heavy, irregular with sharp edges, enterolith that was extracted.  It explained the sudden violent pain and the object was given to the owner so that he could see what had caused the problem.  Sorry Helmut!

Rasta, the man who asked for us to keep his cart and donkeys until he was better, and who a generous sponsor had arranged a special porridge to help his system, died suddenly too.  Now we are waiting for his family to come and tell us what they would like to do with his donkeys and cart.

An incontinent donkey with urine burned legs was given a second chance with a Caslicks and treated to ‘specialling’ by a volunteer who fostered her for a while.  Only time will tell. 

A problem that is becoming more and more common is that people are buying properties ‘and by the way, you have got two or whatever horses’ with it.  Another problem is that some folk leave a horse or pony as a companion to another animal, and then years later reappear demanding their animal!   I can’t stress how important a piece of paper is and it is not difficult to write a ‘contract’ saying who owns the horse, where it is being left, and who is responsible to pay for what. 

Brenda was happy and eager to brag that one of the donkey mares she adopted last month had been delivered safely of a foal, and to be fair to him he has been called Wilhelm so that he won’t feel jealous of Frederick.   

And then we watched in absolute amazement as a donated 5 grass rolls were delivered!   Orchestrated by Sally and paid for by various people who know the problem we have with grazing – thank you to one and all.  The donkeys were excited about it as well, wondering what they were, but once they sorted that out, they were happy to oblige by contentedly munching away!

Our Ayanda, along with instructor Treloar (now renamed Shiloah as the people can’t pronounce her name), paid a visit to a township horse owner where the horses had a much needed trim and for which Ayanda was paid by the Unit.

We were called to inspect the tiniest foal in yet another township, and having given the obligatory hug and kiss, we said our goodbyes – for good, that is, because the foal was killed by township dogs two weeks later.  The mare is very thin and has been brought in to get her over the worst.

The sponsored African Horse Sickness Vaccine is almost at an end, having found a number of horses in outlying areas requiring it.

And then the heatwave came affecting donkeys, horses and humans alike in amidst of which all three of us had to go and assist applying tick grease to a ‘wild’ horse.  He did not present much of a problem to us.

In dealing with Elliot at the Vet on another day, a phonecall was received summoning help for a horse that had got between a pig boar and a pig sow and that had been gaffed in the gaskin for her trouble.  So, drop the one horse off back at the Unit and take off for the gaffed one.  No sooner had that horse been stitched and treated, a further phonecall was received from a spluttering, stuttering township donkey owner, screaming that his donkey mare had been attacked by a large vicious dog while she was in the traces working in another township. So, drop the gaffed horse back with his owner and carry on to the next crisis.  Pretty Girl was very cut up and damaged, and once the Vets had finished with her, she was full of staples and stitches, but was happy to eat and also feed Christmas, her foal – thank goodness.   We had left the Unit at 8.10am and only returned at 6pm, a real ‘meals on wheels’ 326km day!   Pretty Girl has had her stitches and staples removed and been returned to her relieved owner.   The dog has been taken in hand by the NMMM Dog Control Unit.

We have had a number of Schools visit for Projects information this month, most of which have led to the youngsters giving the donks a brush to thank them and learning that a donkey is really ‘n wonderlike ding.

I am happy to report that the urgent email that was sent out about the SAPS recovered stolen saddle that the saddle has been correctly identified and claimed by the owner.  Stolen about a year ago, and a very expensive dressage saddle to boot, we are happy that this had a happy conclusion and were part of that particular solution!  Thank you to all who sent the email on.

Talking of emails – I actually managed to sit down this month and go through my email address list where I was horrified to find that some other folk had been inadvertently ‘dropped’ and others were receiving more than one copy of the newsletter.  I apologise and hope that I have sorted it all out now.  And further – if anyone wishes to unsubscribe from this List, please do send me an email or sms.

We found on a Recheck that a donkey stallion that had had his throat cut by some meany, had with our recommendations and supplies, had healed spectacularly well! 

We were really pleased to adopt out two stray donkey mares that had found themselves eating the neighbourhood grass in Blue Water Bay.  Currently they are doing duty on a dairy farm and I am sure that pretty soon, one if not both, will foal down safely.

In the early hours of a Saturday morning, a phonecall roused me from a deep sleep indicating that a donkey had been hit by a tow truck on Heugh Road.  On arriving at the scene all bleary eyed, I found two young fellows and an older man who were quite convinced that the donkey’s leg were broken.  It turned out that the legs were just fine aside from cuts but there was a nasty profusely bleeding wound in his lip.  The story I was told was that the towtruck had not even swerved and had hit the donk on his off side face/head so hard that he had spun around 360 degrees before falling. The towtruck did not even stop.  The young fellows, having seen the accident occur, were quite shaken, but I was happy to report to Ryan when he phoned a few days later that Boesman was doing just fine, thanks to the Vets pitching at the scene of the accident and then back at the clinic.   I think Boesman was very lucky and the worst wound in his leg is almost healed.  The donkey owner was shattered!  My thanks to the Vets for their prompt reaction to my early morning call.  Aside from a capped hock, Boesman is doing just fine and is one very lucky donkey.

Then there were the two sweet ladies who phoned during a country trip to tell us that there were two donkeys at the end of 3rd Avenue, Walmer.  The one lady was phoning from her flat on the other side of the Baakens Valley – which of course, I had a good laugh over.  And then the other lady asked if I would mind if she brought them into her back yard until we got back to town to which the answer was a definite Yes.  We collected them at about 5.30pm and gave her a bunch of flowers for her trouble – and just in case the donks had destroyed the garden although she was pleased with the free manure!  Thank you Hilda!

Marjory’s Stompie (because her tail dropped off, as did her previous two foals) presented us with yet another foal on the 14th.  We now had 5 mares and young foals in the camp and it was a joy to watch the kids playing with each other while the mom’s hunkered down under the trees for a snooze.

An agitated horse owner with a cynanchum problem was resolved swiftly and hopefully Jumper won’t eat anymore.

Another township sick horse, after a few days of worrying whether he had the dreaded African Horse Sickness, Helmut landed up being successfully treated for Tetanus, but only for a while, as despite the best treatment possible, he succumbed to the disease.  I have never seen anything like it and hope not to again.  I have had my Tetanus vaccination, have you? And your horse?   On bringing him home, Sharon from AWS had a crowd of scholar volunteers who assisted with getting the stable bed down, the water in the bucket, the lucerne in a haynet, and with a bit of muscle, got the ‘stiff’ horse out of the sunlight and into the stable.  It was very upsetting to us but in the end, he could not pull through and was euthanased humanely.  And such a beautiful horse too.  I took off for two hours in depressed mode.

I could not believe my eyes when I came across not one, but two, Scholar Patrols in a Uitenhage township.  Wow – I thought they went out with the ark, but it had the desired result of the getting kids crossing at the zebra crossing – Great stuff!

On two occasions during February, we were hysterical with laughter.  On delivering food and also coming to work, finding donkeys nearby.  Suddenly, a heads up from them and as we started driving off in the bakkie, we have had no less than three donkeys galloping after us, much to the amusement of township dwellers and to the consternation of the owners!

An urgent Please Call Me had us in the early morning collecting a dead donkey mare from the Walmer township.  She had been electrocuted by coming into contact with a fence touching an illegal electricity connection.  We remove the carcass promptly because we don’t want anyone getting any silly ideas.

A donkey mare from one township and an 8 month old donkey foal were brought in suffering from dehydration and malnutrition, due to the drought.  Both have settled in with each other and are eating the best carrots I can find.

Now we have had some rain and the grass is recovering, deliveries of clean, fresh cut grass by Garden Boyz (0837096921) has had all the donks braying over the fences as the vehicle arrives.

The horsebox also threw not one, but two, punctures on the same side!  I removed a 2 inch screw from the one and the other puncture was because the previous horsebox renovator had just welded closed a hole in the rim and the welding had rusted.

It was about the 20th that I started wishing for March!

A very beautiful Racehorse filly surrendered to the Unit, on vetting was found to be infested with sarcomas.  She had had a poor racing career and, having left the track, had found herself handed from owner to owner, until she came to us.  As the sarcomas were of such magnitude and very prolific, on Vet’s instructions, she was euthanased – but at least now she and I do not have to worry where she will land up next.

A donkey stray from the other side of town has been fostered to be a companion animal to another of our fostered donkeys.  Luckily for him he will have hordes of children to pamper him and I hear he is getting along with Spook seeing they speak the same language! Dan the donkey has also been Adopted out as a companion animal and his eyes were popping when he saw all the grass!

And finishing off the month with a horse that has got a new owner who dowsed him in Deadline!

I have whittled away as best I can at the Diary, and hope you enjoyed reading it.   Please find attached a Friend of the Unit application form should you want to become a Friend.  Times are tight and there is no rush, so you can respond at your leisure.



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