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April 2011


At last, we are in May!   All the public Holidays meaning long weekends and fractured weeks (and don’t forget the Royal Veddink!) have made for time constraints all around.

Our Food deliveries, thanks to Feed and Seed for a generous donation of spoiled feed, continue, much to the appreciation of Carters in Walmer Gqebera.  Our horses awaiting adoption were treated by Anne to some donated unspoiled feed too – Thank you so much, Anne!

Carter Patrick found himself the unwilling recipient of attempted robbery while driving his cart, and aside from the stab wound to his hand, had his tyre slashed at the same time!    Tyre problem sorted out by Hi Q, Walmer Park.

12 horses, 2 mules, 10 donkeys dewormed in Humansdorp.  However an unhappy donkey that had had a rough ride by some children and who had crashed on a corner, was found with a ‘dropped hip’/sacro iliac subluxation with a probable dislocation of the leg which the local Vet concurred, and was collected a couple of days later, and having been discussed in full with the owner, was brought back for Euthanasia.  Clearly he would never pull a cart again and he would just be subjected to nasty stuff.

A farmer with a horse hoof problem requested help and so Ayanda was taken along and in due course the source of the problem identified – abscess.  The farmer was very happy that his horse was helped and commenced treatment before we got to the exit gate!

The two horses belonging to our customer, Milton, were duly returned to him by the SPCA.  Both of the horses are beautiful and fat and were taken in because of a small cut on the inside hind leg.  Milton was so excited when, after Treloar had done the pre-arranged trim a week early, he received brushing boots for both the horses.   Milton’s cart that had been left abandoned on the side of the road had been returned to him by the Unit the previous week.   Milton was glad that he would not have to explain to his granddaughter why the horses were not home, and he himself would now be able to sleep at night – and that made two of us!

Two donkeys from two different rural areas were collected, an assessment made, then surrendered by their owners, and taken directly to the Kragga Kamma Game Park for euthanasia.  For a change, damage to their ears not inflicted by humans but other donkeys, but severe enough to be maggot ridden and torn, especially in this heat and with flies.

El Salaam, Kahlua and Bingo have all found their new homes this month, and a couple of donkeys also adopted out and moved to greener pastures.

Thanks to the Ironman competition in the Metro, a vast store of what we call ‘splosh bottles’ were retrieved from the side of the Sardinia Bay Road.   They work well for dosing feed, getting medicine to a donkey’s mouth, as well as being ideal for Epson Salts water application to wounds.   And, I guess you could say, helped get them off the road where they had been dropped during the Race!

A complaint received about a donkey cart negotiating its way down Target Kloof had me careering in the same direction, to no avail.  There is no doubt in our minds, that donkeys can slip out of sight in the ‘blink of an eye’ so to speak.

A panicked owner of a colicky donkey had his donkey returned to him once she started producing copious amounts of pooh.  Unfortunately his previous donkey with a similar problem did not make it, hence his panic. 

Our only lady Carter suddenly expired one Sunday.  We are sad for those left behind, because she really loved her animals and supported the entire family with her cart, but at the same time find ourselves grateful that she has been removed from her arduous circumstances without too much illness prior to her death.   Go well, Marjory!

Twice during the month, we have experienced an extremely loud bang followed by a whizzing sound and then the lights go out!  Yup, the electricity substation down the road has blown its gasket and the surge of electricity along the wires had the horses doing cartwheels in the camp.  Quite a large job for the Electricity Department to fix, and Telkom had to come and install new wiring for the landlines, meaning that Animal Welfare was unable to receive and make calls, which in turn means phonecalls to us to find out what is going on!    Unfortunately it also causes us a few problems in that the inside of the stables can be awfully dark and so you splutter around, hunting for whatever it is you wanted with never a cup of coffee to be found. 

21 donkeys were dewormed at the Grahamstown Donkey Clinic with many more to come.  Included in this particular mix was a man with three donkeys, two of which had abscesses in their hooves.  With farriers Anthony and Patrick, plus a couple of packets of Epson Salts to do poulticing, the problems were sorted quite quickly – and two new harnesses issued to replace the grotty ones that were being used.

Crayon, having had muscle and mind memory jogged, came on in leaps and bounds – literally and figuratively!   Two kind offers of hydrotherapy were received, but by the time we were able to take her to the two swimming pools, she had ‘got it right’ by herself!  The night time feeds and lunch time feeds have ceased and she spends the day with the mommies and aunties and other ‘kids’.   She really is a little dear, she is.  And she made many new fans at the Splash Festival too.  Animal Welfare had made the request of a donkey visitor, but knowing what ramifications the traffic, people and noise might have on an adult, never mind about finding parking for the horsebox, we decided to take Crayon.   Judy AWS dollied up a straw hat with butterflies and flowers and she looked just so cute.  She handled the adventure with much aplomb and was much admired and when it came to going home, the pedestrian crossing at the robot was a doddle.  Safely inside the Audi, she became quite the jetsetter!   Small change donations amounted to a spectacular R700 towards Unit funds that more than covers the cost of milk for herself and some of the requirements for Ellis.  She frequently pops into the office to say hello or to assist with the cutting of her carrots!  I commend Liezl, Stanley, Alfred and Eugene (who helped with the working dynamics of the front legs) for their patient handling of her problem and for a job well done. 

A further donkey was brought in at the request of the SPCA Uitenhage with a really nasty wound to the pastern which is now in the process of getting better, however the pulled tendon is going to take a little more time yet.

And, then Ellis went down, never to rise again.   On discussing the case with the Vet, it was agreed that although we had made great strides with his healing, even so far as to getting hair sprouting all over the bald places, his system was just too compromised with car oil and mange.  Poor boy, he tried so hard and we miss him whickering softly over the fence when he sees his breakfast or supper being brought to him.  Although there were one or two folk who recommended immediate euthanasia, generally we give these sick and damaged animals a chance at life – some get through their problem and others, although they try hard to work with you, just can’t seem to do it.  Again, hard work by Stanley, Liezl and Alfred to solve his problems as well as those generous sponsored goods to assist with his cleanup are much appreciated.  Much was learned in the process, as with Crayon, and somewhere some equine will derive a benefit from what was learned in both their cases.

Towards the end of the month, the SAPS called to say they had stopped a cart on the other side of town and the donkeys had blood on their mouths.  On arriving at the scene, it was found that the two wheel cart had been loaded with a mining drill weighing about 600kgs and the two men on the cart had been arrested for theft.  There was no question about it but to go and fetch the horsebox, uplift the donkeys – by now grazing safely in somebody’s garden – and bring them in to ‘safe custody’.  All on a public holiday in a howling gale!

Isaac phoned to say that his mare had foaled down and could we please come and take it in for its own safety and at the same time, he would love to have his other mommydonk and foal (Miriam and Pinky) returned to him.  Pretty Girl and Easter Surprise  - Surprise is his father and he was born on the Tuesday after Easter – are currently in the Hi Care Camp and Easter Surprise is getting more and more mobile as the days go on.

Having had his previous foal eaten alive at birth, David requested that we collect his mare for foaling down too.  It should not be too long now before the Big Event comes along.

A dog problem in Blikkiesdorp, Uitenhage, was passed on to the SPCA for them to handle.  (We frequently get small animal calls from townships which are then transferred onto the nearest welfare organization – it prevents a whole lot of wasted petrol and time for charities that depend on public donations to get the job done!)

We finished April off with a flourish!   A phonecall at 1am on Saturday morning had me woken from a deep sleep, only to be asked to come and collect a donkey that had been hit by a car in Uitenhage.   Deon and the SAPS met me on the township road and the donkey was brought in, but at this moment in time her future is very uncertain, but again, she is being given a fighting chance with us.

A few hours later we were back on the road to the Humansdorp Equine clinics where 26 hooves were given the once-over and a tweak or two by Ayanda who found that the hooves were as hard as rock!  Volunteers Melody and Jo gave much needed back up with writing and holding and catching and fetching – but a good days work by all including Liezl who came in to see to the latest arrival and to also feed Crayon her ‘last lunch’.

In addition to the above,

Kerry came in and groomed all the donkeys and horses,

Kirsten donated a grass roll,  

Marianne contributed 4 bales of lucerne from their 'Easter Bunny Hunt' at Greenacres,

 Hannah, aspirant journalist, put together a charming article for her school newspaper accompanied by pictures of her Home School Group having a wonderful time interacting with the donkeys,

Dorrie donated a bunch of bits that with a little work can be used by donkeys, and  

 Teacher William van der Riet at Cilliers High School, Sydenham brought about 15 scholars to meet donks with promises to return in the future.  Thank you one and all.

For those who appreciate the best hard workers, this years’ INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE DONKEY is 7 May 2011.


Website: www.echcu.co.za

Facebook: East Cape Horse Care Unit

Banking Details:

Bank: Standard Bank

Name:  Racing Association, National Horse Trust

Number: 080563473

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