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May 2012


May 2012  

I normally try to start whittling down my diary from the beginning of the month, and not the last day, but as I have 43 pages to whittle, and with all the rioting going on in Port Elizabeth, I will start with today, Wednesday.  I shall try very hard to be as succinct as I can!

Rioting at the local township started yesterday, Tuesday 29 May, and having arrived at work very late due to being caught up in the riot and taking refuge in the local Golf Club, I found that my staff, bless them, had all arrived for work and everything was happening as it ought to.  Things were not going to get any better as we found out later, so we left early, having fed all the kidlets and brought Rory inside to his stable.

This morning, Wednesday 30th, violence had not abated and we now had a problem of feeding up.  In addition, unwelcome visitors had penetrated the AWS boundary and were causing problems inside.  We were able to get SAPS assistance onto the premises and get the area secured.  Believe it or not, two of my staff members made their way to work at great risk to themselves, and with SAPS assistance, fed the boys and girls and put Rory into the Audi to get him fed and out to a more quiet, safe space.  I salute W/O’s Nel and Hancox for their assistance, especially for this afternoons feed, where they trailblazed up a rock strewn and burning tyre road to get me there.  I will never be able to say how much your actions mean to me personally.   Thank you, Bonita, for helping us out with temporary accommodation!  It will certainly make feeding in the morning and evening easier, and a lot safer, for Rory and us.  U r a *!

OK, back to the beginning of May!

Although Mayday is a ‘day’, staff kept to their paces as normal, excepting for a now ex-groom who took to ordering longer term staff around and muttering at donors!

The ‘overweight with puncture’ cart that we had taken out of circulation last month was towed next door to the Tip where the weighbridge indicated that 240kgs worth of rubbish, rubble and junk was loaded.  On our return we cleaned it all up with a hose and chained and locked it to the biggest tree we could find where it remains today.  Our special Friend, Jan Beyers (Sand Saviour) jumped the queue at the Tip but it was so that he could stop and pump the cart tyres up with an attachment from his truck.  Jan, U too r a *!  Unfortunately, the smaller of the two donkeys is taking time to heal from whipping wounds.

SPCA Humansdorp phoned to say they had been alerted to a ‘baby donkey’ on the Hankey Road and that he had been there for 5 days.  Stanley and Alfred took off with the Toyota (with a canopy) and in due course found the little scrap.  On checking with the local SAPS, they were told that ‘mommy is dead’ and in due course the owner arrived, was read the Riot Act, and the baby donkey brought home under the canopy on the bakkie.  It was heartrending to hear its questioning bray to the Girls, as if he was asking ‘which of you is my mummy’.   I was unable to establish its gender because every time I tried to grab its tail it would drop right down on its hindquarters and its tummy hair is luxuriant.  So I named it Rosy.  That is, until Sarah came and took pictures and alerted me to the fact that there was a ‘dangly’.  So we changed the s to an r, and now we have a RORY rather than a Rosy!   Aside from the fact that he probably had not had anything to drink for at least 5 days, he was actually quite bright so we commenced bucket feeding that frees us up during the day and night.  A wound well hidden by hair on his croup was found, hopefully from getting scraped while going under a fence and not from anything else.   It is being treated and although slow, it is healing.  The next thing was feeding.  An appeal was sent out by Sarah, grabbed by a number of people, and all I can say is that thanks to the generosity of many, milk is the least of my problems!  Thank you all so very much!  And then I found I was not sleeping well and would wake and worry at 2am about his safety in his little camp with no protector.  So he was moved into a stable overnight and recently has taken to bringing himself in when dinnertime comes around. 

A call received from a Carter’s brother to say that the cart was stuck at a garage with a tyre problem, was sorted out by Stanley fetching another tyre on a rim from another Carter and assisting with getting him off the roads in the late afternoon.

One of our fostered donkeys, Madala, surrendered by his township owner as ‘too old to work’, could not overcome a bout of cynanchum poisoning and expired much to the distress of the foster parents.  He was really old and his ex owner, on being told what had occurred, was obviously upset but happy that he had given him a good retirement, ma’am.  Thank you to all who looked after him, giving him lots of TLC.

A regular visitor, the Colonel, accompanied by a Captain and a Warrant Officer, brought carrots and apples from the Motherwell Spar (they asked her to collect ‘for the donkeys’!) had all the Officers beaming.  So nice to see SAPS members smiling and enjoying themselves, they don’t have an easy life!

The Unit was nominated to have a horse in the International  Charity Race in Johannesburg and drew Peregrin.  Although he did not come in first, the Unit has received a nice donation from his nomination.

Erica Primary School visited 3 days in a row, different classes and teachers.  Some children were very scared at the beginning, but on being given brushes to give the girls and boys a groom, the fear became enjoyment, the teachers finding it difficult to remove the children from the camps at the end of their adventure.  Great stuff!

A SAPS Warrant Officer, phoned in early on a Saturday to say that on returning from a House Breaking, she had found a donkey corner Circular and Moffett!  Stanley collected the owner who then walked her home.   Until the next time, that is.  This time on Main Road Walmer at 7am on a weekday morning, where upon I drove to the scene, phoned Stanley to say I’m holding her, bring the horsebox, which he did, and then discussed with the owner that perhaps she should stay with us for a while until she has stopped looking for her ‘dead foal’.   But the amount of phonecalls and sms’s received about this quiet grass munching had to be heard to be believed!!  Hectic!

Treloar very kindly brought in a donation of cat food and hand sanitizers from the organizers, Walmer Athletics Club, of the SPAR Ladies race.     The Stable Cats are suitably impressed with their food!

The horse from last month with the double snake bites, was euthanased humanely by the Kragga Kamma Game Park, having been visited by her distressed owner when the matter of her future was discussed.  Requiring hard work to improve her was an impossibility for him and it would not have been fair to adopt or foster her out, he agreed to the euthanasia.  On asking the right people the right questions and having had her scanned by Mike the Stipe, the Thoroughbred Thina’s story was a very sad one and should never have happened in the first place!

A visit by SABC TV2 was organized by a Friend for the International Day of the Donkey on 8th May.  We were assured that it would appear on telly the next morning, the 8th.   It was only later that I found out that not only was the insert on telly, but the verbal also used on Radio 5 and SAfm! 

Because the likelihood of Stanley ever seeing a proper Horse Auction in Port Elizabeth, we spent a little time at a local Dispersal Sale where his eyes were opened to what happens and just how great the horses looked.

An urgent appeal from a SAPS Officer about 5 saddles found in Motherwell led to a Facebook appeal for anybody ‘missing’ saddles.  A veritable avalanche of information came through and hopefully the saddles will be relocated to their rightful owner.  Thanks to all who ‘shared’.

A call from one of our Kwanobuhle donkey owners led to his donkey being brought in with a locked stifle.  He was obviously very agitated because he had never seen one before, but once seen, never forgotten.  Treatment commenced, explanations made, donkey returned to owner.

Animal Outreaches phoned about a donkey at the new development on Victoria Drive and I wondered at the time if he was looking for the 19th hole at the next door Golf Course!

Our gorgeous Shane, his mum Miriam, Pretty Girl and Surprise left us for their new adoptive home.  Eina!   It really hurt having known them since June 2006 and having been through all sorts of sickness  and health over the years.  I was advised a few hours later that all was well and the donkey ‘family’ safe in their camp.  Farewell!

It’s amazing what a little notebook costing R1.89 will do.  In order to encourage donkey owners in Grahamstown, little ‘Passports’ giving details of owner and donkeys and the last date of their inspection at the monthly Donkey Clinic and details of what was done, if any.  You can’t believe the clamour for a Passport!!   The deworming currently in hand also has everyone in an agitated state.  We also have identified a man in Joza who can do hooves as well as simple first aid with our donated Epson Salts, Supona, and extra packets of Epson Salts to give out and he is doing a great job.  He also has a notebook/passport where he writes what he had done for whom and makes them sign for it too.   A hurried visit to Siyabonga Funeral Parlour to get his notes photocopied, ensures that we all keep up to date with each other.  Lekker!

Two horses went ‘missing’ in Theescombe and that led to another Facebook appeal that was ‘shared’ and eventually the horses were found not too far away.  Owner very relieved!  They had been taken inside a property for their own protection by a caring landowner.  So well done!

Stable cat Liquorice was found to have a tyre thread around his off hind paw, leading to massive swelling of the foot.  We popped him across to AWS where the offending piece of thread was removed but he was kept in for a few days to ensure no sloughing of skin would occur.  On my final visit to the ward, he got very vocal saying hello and took great pains to use the sore paw to scratch his ear as if to say, look ma, I’m using it!    All better now.

We arranged, with Isabella and Treloar Childs, a presentation of a Certificate of Appreciation to Friend Rhoda, for the beautiful fax/copier machine she had donated.  Rhoda was floored but got over it by feeding carrots to the donkeys!  Isabella’s Death by Chocolate Cake was sublime, and Sarah took some delightful photographs!   As Ayesha had donated a desk top computer and arranged for a donation of a computer stand, we asked multitasker JP from i4africa to come and connect the whole lot up and it has been a lot of fun finding out what button to press when!  ‘Thank you’ is just plain insufficient!

Animal Anti Cruelty asked for assistance with donkeys in a ‘village’ up country and we were able to oblige and henceforth will empower somebody else to keep an eye on things.  Thank you, Linda Louise.

And then the pain of separation again!  Our Braveheart and Easter Surprise were adopted out to somebody down the coast as ‘companion’ animals to their lonely donkey.  Braveheart was reared by the Unit from a young age as his mother had been stolen and the owner had no way to feed him – in other words, a special boy.  Easter Surprise on the other hand, had been brought in for a leg malfunction and the day he was due to return to his owner, was attacked by the hunting dog pack and ripped to shreds.   They travelled well in the horsebox although the weather was ‘vrot’, and made friends quickly with the lonely donkey.

A Talk at the Walmer Methodist Church Women’s Auxiliary was well attended by the Ladies who made a generous contribution to Unit funds as well as a wonderful Tea with delicious sarmies!

We took up a Department of Transport invitation via AWS to talk to the Road Rangers on Animal Care.  Stanley did the translations for Jeanne and I and added more of his own advice about the handling of the various types of animals that they are employed by the Department to keep off the roads.

A Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Mark Wright on behalf of the Local Chapter of the Racing Association for their generous, ongoing support of the Unit.

The 26th was rather busy.  SOS Horsing Around Trail Run event in Schoenmakerskop, arranged by Sharon Jessop of Xtreme Bootcamp and sponsored by Triangle Sports and others,  kicked off at 8am with good entries.  With the fair weather and the glorious scenery, we hope that all enjoyed their run. The next run is on 26th June at Oshry Farms and you can still enter the remaining fun runs at Triangle Sports.  Well done, Sharon and Dawn!   By all accounts a good ‘un.

At the same time, the Priory Fair was getting going, and this meant loading and taking Thembi and Lady, our two venerable ladies, to the Fair so that Sarah could do her fund raising and ‘sensitizing’.  Ably assisted by Meg Botha and Sharon Ruffer, a good time was had by all, especially the little children who cadged a ride, or just gave the girls a brush.

Having sorted the girls out, I headed off to Humansdorp for the monthly equine clinic.  Luckily for me all was well, except that one of the donkey carters there just could not handle life anymore, and so ended it.   And he was a really nice guy.  At the end of this, it was back to PE, hitched up the horsebox, loaded (like lambs) the girls, off loaded at home and then collapsed at home for a short while.

In amongst all the above, we have managed to complete Investigations, make a dent on the Unit database and some of the pictures that are relevant to them, and we have actually managed to do some gardening!

And then a lady phoned and asked to speak to Rory! This is where I collapsed with laughter!


Stan - 25 bags dried grass

Craig and Cindy - new cut grass

Sarah – Epson Salts

Anne  – Lucerne leavings

Sarah – delivered the Heideman grass cuttings

Dorrie - bags of racehorse leavings for the working donkeys

Tracey - donated saddle and bits

Tess – donated a saddle, buckets, halters and tack

TREEMAN – donated 3 chameleons in the Perdepis tree at the Stables.  (He found them in copse in Sidwell and just couldn’t bring himself to kill them.)

Barbie – grass

Nicky – tack and horse buckets etc.

PE SADDLERY – tack donated to donation bin in the shop

Kirsty and Alison – a delightful framed picture of Gift, filly of Ntombi,  adopted out to them last year.

A VERITABLE DELUGE OF MILK donated in response to appeals by Meg Botha, Kirsten Rohrich and many others:  Lambi, Val , the Schenker staff, Rebecca, Sharon and Richard, Dawn, Pam, Jacques, Colin, Karin, Estelle, Chris, Melanie, CTLM, Sharon, Chris, Ernest & Wilson, PK Ferraris & Associates, Fultons, Marion,  A Malan, Marizanne, Trina, Jayne, Jane, Viv, Sarah, Marianne, Marilize, Georgina, Sherle, Tracey, Rene, enise, Joy, Nadine, Lovely Anon Lady, Staff @ Micrographics, Roxanne, Erica, Angela, Marie, Greg, Lynette, Riaan, Beryl, Carolyn, Diane, Lucretia, Rudolf Crusaders Ladies Hockey Team, Brigette, Carmen and Leo, Malcolm, Jason, Clarendon Park Primary, Antoinette and others who have just dropped the milk off at AWS Reception!  I’m speechless!

Banking Details:
Bank:  Standard Bank
Account: Eastern Cape Horse Care Unit (all donated monies are used by us in the Metro and beyond!)
Account Number: 080733875
Landline:  041 366 1594
Cellph: 072 357 2505
Website:  www.echcu.co.za
Facebook: East Cape Horse Care Unit.
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