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June 2008


And, so back to work after a good rest and lots of unconditional love from my family.
I found on telling all the patients that I would be going on Leave, the general behaviour was one of 'you need it, ma'am, and you have a good holiday'.  On my first feed delivery to the townships after returning from Leave, I was met with smiles and 'did you have a good holiday?'.    I also found that there had only been one or two problems, but also found that donkey owners had done as suggested.  In one case, the sick donkey was brought to the Stables, the vet was called, the donkey treated, and after a few days monitoring, returned to its owner, much to the relief of all concerned (including the donkey).
However, once word got around that things were back to normal, the calls started coming in, including the owner who had a donkey that had been hit by a vehicle, and could you please come and fetch it.   On arrival, I found a 2 month old donkey foal that had been 'hit', but the Vet thought that it may well have been dragged after being hit.  Its injuries were extensive and it took two Vets and I about two hours on a consultation table, to find all the sore spots, shave and cut the wooly hair, and apply a cream to the multitudinous gravel or tar scrapes.   The little donkey was an absolute star, so while she was belayed by Alfred and yet another member of staff, she barely moved a muscle and in fact, was a star patient.  Regretfully, the picture that was taken of everyone slaving away has been lost otherwise I would have sent it to you.  
It caused quite a stir when she came walking back through the Vet's Reception area which of course had dog and cat owners oohing and aahing all the way.  She of course was totally unfazed by all this and walked through like she owned the Practice!
She is making good progress with her daily treatment compared to how she was hobbling when she was first collected, and I hope to be returning her to her concerned owner in the not too distant future. In fact a day later, she felt sufficiently well enough to let fly with both back legs post treatment just to prove she was feeling better!  It will also be nice when the hair starts growing back as she looks a little motheaten at present. 

The ECHCU has a very good relationship with the local Walmer Police Station, a relationship that has been built up over many years of co-operation in various matters.
So it came as no surprise, although I did not know whether it was Guy Fawkes or Christmas at the time, to receive a phonecall at 1 o'clock in the morning from the Duty Commander, Capt Kritzinger.  The SAPS had found a dead donkey lying in the middle of a busy road and could I please come and collect it.  It took me a while to find my clothes, but eventually when I got there I found a Police Van with assorted personnel waiting my arrival.  Unfortunately, the four of us were unable to lift the donkey (with a hind leg broken in more than one place and a very distended abdomen) onto the back of the bakkie.  In due course, a further Police Van arrived, followed shortly by an Atlas Security Armed Response vehicle, the personnel of which jumped out to assist us.   In due course, the donkey was safely (for other road users) out of the way.  SAPS and Atlas have both received their 'Thank You for helping me help them' emails.
I had already identified the donkey by way of a veterinary stitch job that had been done about 6 weeks previous to a penetrating wound just below the spinal column.   So, it was with heavy heart that I returned to the township later in the morning and made my way to the only lady carter I have.  Both of us were very upset, especially when she realised that it was her favourite POPPY. (Me, I'm useless!  When I see someone crying, for some reason I have to follow suit!)  I have known Poppy right from her beginnings when I first named her just after birth and had been called to take a photograph of her with her owner and accompanying dog, which picture had been printed and presented to the owner.  Your copy is attached!

The man who came looking for his stolen donkey (mentioned in the last newsletter) and who found it and who also wanted to find his son, did find him.  He took his son home but all to no avail, as the boy ran away again.   The Mother is obviously very unhappy but one out of two is not bad.

One of our rehomes to an owner in Gauteng, Big Easy, has found a new, additional vocation in life!   I was amazed to hear that when he is not being ridden by his owner or having downtime in a camp, he is being used as a remedial ride for a Physically Disabled child.   The horse has taken it all in his stride (I always said he was the most uncomplicated horse I had ever met) and the child is improving by leaps and bounds.  It is always good to hear that in doing good by an animal, a very positive and happy result has been obtained in others.

It goes with the territory that Complaints are received on an ongoing basis about donkeys and horses, but the one that had me chuckling, was the donkey complaint received from Arlington Racecourse. The Course Manager asked that the donkey on the racecourse be removed forthwith.  As I was out of town on a field trip, Alfred was despatched to go and fetch the donkey and bring him in.   When Alfred got there, he found not one, but five donkeys grazing on Kleintjie Badenhorst's carefully tended grass on the main straight at Arlington!   What exactly were these donkeys thinking?!   Were the donkeys dreaming about if they were horses? Were they looking to lay a bet on the Tote?  Or was it simply the acres and acres of perfect turf that they felt could do with a cut?
Alfred herded all 5 home and subsequently 3 different owners arrived to take their donkeys back.
Sorry, Mr Badenhorst, and thank you for your call!

'They' say 'necessity is the mother of invention'.  'They' are right!    When my diary was lost, I had a huge problem as I like to keep my patient records up to date, i.e. everything from feed deliveries, deworms, vaccinations, wounds and their treatment, etc.  
It is taking a bit of getting used to and has meant a bit of a change in record keeping, but hopefully it will be a good one.  And in the end, probably a lot less time consuming in the long run.  It certainly was not something I needed at the time.

Thanks to a 'prod' from Sally Blinman, I arranged a trip with my son and grandchildren to the Donkey Sanctuary. I had read a number of articles on the Sanctuary from Di Roe, but decided to act on it.  Due to the excessive cost and difficulty in getting to Sidmouth in Devon, I suggested rather that I pay the rail cost in petrol for the car and do a day trip with the family.
I am so glad that I did!   Dr Svendsen has set out this delightful place where donkeys can be treated, looked after in their twilight years, rehabilitated and generally 'hang out' in large camps with their mates all with a large degree of dignity.
A delightful giftshop added to my woes as there was so much to choose from.   The children had a wonderful time, and my youngest grandchild just dived in to 'hug a donk' from the first minute she saw them.  A family trait?  Certainly a place to visit on your next UK trip with the added bonus of passing Stonehenge on the way there or back again!
We also took a trip to Beale Park, a captive wildlife breeding centre, where I found the most stunning life-size statue of a Valkyrie on her steed - absolutely beautiful. 

Finally, I need to say Well Done to Alfred for fixing fences, feeding donkeys twice a day everyday day and handling problems in my absence.   Thanks also to Sharon and Kerry at Animal Welfare for keeping a watch over everything and assisting where necessary.  ....and Thank you to my bosses for allowing me some 'me' time.


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