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August 2007


Hi and a big welcome to Spring!

Sheepdonks, not sheepdogs!
From time to time I have been asked for Sheepdonks by farmers in the Karroo.  From what I understand, the Anatolian Sheepdogs that were brought into the country (expensive exercise!) to guard the sheep, although they were very good, did damage of their own to absolutely everything that threatened the sheep.  Someone introduced donkeys to the picture, and they have now become a valuable commodity and get very protective of their new 'herd'.   So from time to time, I get pictures of donkeys that have been removed from urban or town situations doing their new job of 'guarding the sheep'.   They get checked over every week or two weeks when the flock comes in for their checkups. 
Anyone who has received a kick from a donkey will know about it, especially as they 'aim' extremely well!  So, well done, fellas!

When rescuers need rescuing
I am sure that most of us know at least one person who 'rescues horses'.  One understands their good intentions, and most of the time, only good comes of it.    Until a problem arises.
Recently a couple of thoroughbreds required my intervention.   One unfortunately was beyond help but the other was a very sad picture.  After an arrival veterinary inspection, I was given a month to 'see what you can do' before a decision on his future is taken.   I mentioned this to my feed merchant, EquiFeeds, who took up the challenge (as only Jean can!).
In a short space of time, Jean had arranged a donation of lucerne from a farmer supplier and a sponsored bag of Capstone Life Balancer (just a cup a day, Megan).  Thank goodness I have taken pictures for my files because I would not have believed it unless I saw it myself - the horse began changing almost immediately.
Having had the Farrier out to do a corrective trim on a Friday night for 2 hours from 6 to 8pm (he had a lot of trimming to do) and having twice poulticed what appeared to be a hoof abscess that he subsequently opened for me, the horse was able to move freely and without pain.  With donated hoof conditioner from someone, a donated horseblanket from another, we were ready for the fight.
All his 'old' hair started to fall out, in clumps!  With a beatiful fine coat coming up underneath.  And his mind came together!  And then, one morning, taking him out to the camp, he was just like a child seeing the sea for the first time - a ginormous pig-rooting jump with all four legs in the air and lots of snorting and huffing n puffing.   It had me in fits of laughter.
So although his 'story' is not finished yet, I have had some prospective adopters recently, so I am hoping that his future will be rosy after all.  He is turning into a beautiful animal, or at least, he will be when all that excess hair has gone.  Luckily for him, we will take a hand in his future, and he will live out a happy life as a contented, loved, animal.
My thanks to Capstone for their wizard feed, and to the lucerne farmer - you are part of something good and I could not have done it without you.

I addressed a get-together of EquiFun on a Saturday morning at Bayworld.  All passionate equine lovers, I was able to tell them about what I see and attempt to do in the donkey world.   I took all my 'toys' and they in turn presented the Unit with the proceeds of a Raffle they had conducted - all R447.00 of it!    This will go towards the Unit's activities and their offer of volunteer assistance may well be taken up in the future.  
Thank you for having me!

In Tom's Footsteps
I have received a small supply of the above book by David Stubbs.  A number had already been 'on order' and so I am left with a limited supply.   If there is anyone else out there who wants to purchase a copy at R150.00 each, please let me know as soon as possible.
The book certainly brought back more than one memory for me!

The Refitting of bridles and harnesses has commenced for the Walmer donkeys.  It has not been easy and takes more than a few minutes to do but with expert assistance from Di and Stan, I am learning that not all donkeys are the same size!  When it comes to harnessing, measuring is important, so I have made up a pattern that will help us take the size of a donkey, prepare a harness and have it sewn, and only then can it be used.  The carters are asked to sit down and have a drink (orange juice) and a biscuit and then we get to work.   There is a lot of scurrying around by Di, Stan, Alfred and I, but when you are faced with Shadrack, you have to put up with his 'input' as well, and things can get a little heated!

Hot water
It was just after I returned to work from Leave, that I was phoned and asked by a donkey owner for assistance.  Someone had stolen his donkey and he had managed to get her back, but, because she is a 'sitter' (if she does not want to do something, she sits down) the thief had thrown boiling water on her.   She had horrendous burns from her flanks to the hindquarter.  Having had serious burnwounds myself, I really felt for her - she was very depressed and sore and did not like humans much.
After collecting her, I asked for veterinary assistance, and carried out what I was told to do.  It all worked well except for a piece of skin the size of an adult hand that 'stuck' in the middle of a large burn.   The animal could not be returned to the owner until it came off  because there was no way of knowing what was going on underneath!  
In any event, in due course, it came off with a fair amount of healed skin showing and she was returned to her owner who, because she had been with us for so long, wondered when or if his donkey would ever come home.   On bringing her to the township, she left the horsebox and was taken to her kraal, where she let everyone in the area know that she was happy to be home.  And the owner is happy too.

Waccy baccy
There are little gems of laughter in the strangest situations!
I had been to collect a couple of bales of lucerne - nice green stuff.  We had offloaded the lucerne but had not swept the back of the bakkie before we loaded a whole lot of donated feed to be delivered to the townships.   We were at our last call, when a young fellow walked past the bakkie, and then his eyes lighted up and he dived into the back of the vehicle, hurried scooping up the 'green stuff' with his hands and putting it into his pockets.   He obviously thought it was his lucky day and that the green stuff was waccy baccy just waiting for collection.
Alfred and I were hysterical with laughter and told him that he could try and smoke it if he wished, but that it was not what he thought it was!

And so, roll on Summer!


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