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October 2009

The month of November has started which means Christmas is just around the corner!  How time flies.
The colicky donkey mentioned at the end of  the previous newsmail duly produced a couple of plastic bags after the visit to the Vet and was returned home to her relieved owner a few days later.
Then we had a case of donkey with a bad case of Sweeney that because his future looked rather bleak which ever way we looked at it, was not good, so a decision was made for him.  It was very distressing to find him frequently unable to get up, even when he wanted to say Good Morning.  Poor boy.   Sometimes things just don't pan out the way you want them to, no matter what you do.
On going out on a food delivery, we came across a horse careering around on the New Seaview Road.  With our red flags flying he was shepherded off the road and kept safe until the owner arrived.  The staff had left a gate open and the sudden space just filled him with a feeling of freedom.  Unlike the owner who was a little hacked off!
The three ‘girls’ we had spelling  for some time on a farm down the road for, were duly returned to their owners.  Only for one of them to return one Sunday to stand outside the gate and ask for admittance.  Four days later she produced a beautiful colt in a textbook delivery.  The foal has been named  Arthur and he is just such a cutie and steals the hearts of all who visit – I am having to check the car boots when they leave the premises just in case someone tries to take him home!
A number of calls about abandoned donkeys and horses in bad places have been investigated and as so often happens things are not always quite what they seem.   The donkeys are well loved and the horses have food and are in good shape but there are a couple that need attention and the education of the owner. 
Kiara continues to do a sterling job with the Second Hand Tack Shop, sorting new supplies as they come in.  Talking of which, any old reins to fill up my rein barrel would be most welcome.
The replacement of punctured, totally worn out tyres with donated ones from the Unit continues unabated with the assistance of HiQ Walmer Park.
The deweeding of the ‘girls’ camp continues and there are less and less weeds to pull out every week and favourable comments have been received from visitors.  You see, it is not only about horses and donkeys, but about stable and camp management too!
I had an absolute guffaw on reacting to a complaint of donkeys in Walmer suburb.   I found the donkeys alright, all hanging out, snoozing and grooming each other underneath the shop sign at the Sixth Avenue circle – Easylife (kitchens)! How I wished I had a camera!
Then that sheepfarmer I was talking about in the last enews came to the fore.  So one Monday morning, we loaded up the badly burned donkey mare who had come in in May with her foal, and Cinnamon and Sugar, fostered by Peter and Val.  We were all a little stressed but realised that it was all for the best.  On taking them out of the horsebox, they were faced with acres and acres of space filled with green grass, although they were very puzzled by the sheep!  After hanging with the sheep for a while, they will all be turned out with their own flocks to do the business of sheepdonking.  Thank you to the Foster parents for giving them a good start. 
Ayanda and I sorted out the sulky one afternoon and I was the lucky recipient of the first sulky ride round the AWS grounds.  I enjoyed it so much I dragged Sharon, AWS manager, out of her office so that she could also have a ride.  Great fun was had by all, although the donk we used was a little confused with having no bit in his mouth (we used a halter) and such a light weight to pull.
We also had no less than 3 different donkey owners from Kwanobuhle yelling for help one afternoon for a donkey they had found with a strange shaped penetrating wound to the croup.  Someone had sprayed it with purple spray, but clearly, this wound needed a little extra help as it was abscessing.   I was not quite sure what the whole problem was as she is in foal, and was also producing plastic bags in her droppings.  I am happy to report that the wound has healed, the plastics have come to an end and I assume the foal will be born in the not too distant future!
A trip to Humansdorp for an Equine Clinic had a positive effect on the dogs of the area because Animal Anti Cruelty sent a team as well.  Their passionate-about-dogs volunteer had a whale of a time dipping dogs and learning about the problems experienced by AACL in the Metro's townships.
One of the highlights of the month was the continuing story of Smokey.   You see, there was a man who married a lady in a far off country.  A family member who lives in a coastal town here wanted to give them a gift but a gift of money would have been daft.  So she approached us with a deal we could not refuse to sponsor a foal and its mum for six months.  Smokey had been born to Daisy in the foaling camp a few days earlier.   In due course, a framed certificate with a picture of the foal was gift wrapped and handed over at the wedding.  The months went by with occasional updates with pictures of Smokey.   Thanks to another yet adoptive parent, Smokey was, after six months, adopted out to an animal crazy family and life carried on as normal and Smokey had Annabel for company and all was fine in the garden.   And then the man came to visit and meet his wedding present who behaved like a well brought up child.    It was very touching to see the man and his family meet Smokey for the first time.  Photographs were taken for the album back home and they left with promises to visit Smokey once a year on their holidays. 
And then we got the phonecall from Jean at Equi Feeds to say that Anne Hart had found 2 donkeys playing in the 8 am traffic on Montmedy Road!   Anne had done a sterling job of catching the one donkey, but not before he had taken her for a bit of a run!   The other donkey was found lying down in a commonage, feeling sorry for himself as his friend had gone missing and he was tired and was lost.  Anne had gamely held onto the other donkey until we arrived with the horsebox and once loaded, both were brought back to the Unit.  Well done and thank you, Anne!   A few hours later a phonecall was received from a frantic owner in Theescombe.   You must remember the high winds we had.   This had spooked the donkeys who had broken the fence during the night and taken off until they reached Montmedy Road and that is a bit of a racetrack in the morning.    The two donkeys were returned to their very relieved owners the next day.
We finished off the month by attending and judging 40 carts with 80 donkeys at the Grahamstown Donkey Festival, a yearly chance for the carters in that area to get smartened up and show their paces to the residents of Grahamstown.  The ECHCU,  the SPCA, AACL, the NMMM Dog Control unit and and moral support from  the SA Red Cross Society all worked together for a fantabulous morning that was had by all.  Annerie and the ‘varsity students had outdone themselves with obtaining sponsorship of refreshments for all and that included Lucerne and horsefeed for the donkeys and clothing (for the drivers).  This is all part of an ongoing education and learning process for everyone and really, they are doing the best they can under arduous circumstances. 
It is always good to get feedback from Adoptors.   The day old calf brought in by AWS last month and who found a home through the ECHCU, has been named Trixie and when last I saw her she was growing and playing happily with her own kind.  Melany and Prince of Dane have been having a wonderful time getting to know each other and having fun together.  Sadly, Tiny, a donkey foal from Noxolo who found a loving home with sheep farmers in the Karoo, was attacked by a swarm of bees and although help was urgently summoned, Tiny died before it arrived.  It was painful to hear but I know that she had a wonderful home and was loved from the heart by Petro for the year that she was with them, even taking part in a family wedding.
Gabriel, (not his racing name), was adopted out to Lauren in East London, and has he ever come on in leaps and bounds, literally and figuratively.  Comparative pictures of what he looked like when he was surrendered to the Unit and how he looks now are attached.  Lauren is to be complimented on a job well done and for taking on a problem child and producing a fine upstanding adult. 
ECHCU Christmas Cards are available for purchase at the new AWS Shop in the MGE Building, corner of 6th Avenue and Heugh Road, at R20 per packet of 5 cards. 
Do you ever shop at Woolworths, Engen garage shops, Reggies, ToysRUs, Waltons, kalahari.net, ClubTravel, Jack's Paint & Hardware, Supa Quik or Quiksilver?  HHCU is now a MyVillage/MySchool beneficiary! So every time you shop in one of those stores, you can swipe a MySchool/MyVillage card and donate DIRECTLY to the HHCU without it costing you a cent extra.  Click over to http://www.vmptest.co.za/myschool_village/villages/general_village.php to order your card - it's a 5 minute process and it's free, and this will REALLY help the HHCU and therefore the ECHCU.
And, finally, as I sit here watching the donkeys peacefully mowing the grass around the stables – we don’t posses a mower or a weedeater – I can say God grant me the equanimity, forebearance, honesty and acceptance of a donkey – Please!


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