It seems ages since I last wrote and since then we have endured what seemed like the longest winter. The Little Angels were fed up plodding around with their ‘winter faces’ on and we ran out of ideas to keep them amused. So here’s a brief resume of what they’ve been up to and what else we’ve learned about keeping donkeys!
Uncle B got an abscess (our first experience) three visits from the vet failed to locate it despite poultices to draw it out. Finally in desperation a frantic call to the farrier - “Please come quickly Uncle B needs you!” True to his word he was with us within an hour and after five minutes locates the offending invader. As if by magic Uncle B almost danced out of the stable reminding me of the donkey in Nanny Mcfee!
With the spring came the new grass and despite being aware of the dangers that can cause, China Boy got a bout of colic (also another new experience for us). Why do these things always happen late at night? There we were at midnight with the vet - a lovely lady called Mel - ears pressed against flanks, worried faces, after an injection and some close monitoring throughout the night he recovered and after a couple of days was back to normal. A lucky escape for us and a lesson learnt. After that they were on a strict two hours out and three hours in routine until the end of May.
Anyway all things have a positive side and the good things that came out of the long wet winter and the colic incident was that it has done wonders for the weight. I confess I felt quite smug when the tape measure came out for our last Welfare visit!
The better weather has meant that we have also been able to resume our weekend walks. How they love strolling along stopping for the odd munch on the gorse and most of all meeting people. Our first walk coincided with Mothers Day, and on passing the pub it seemed a succession of ‘Mums’ were coming out having been treated to lunch. Of course they all wanted to speak to the donks, some had photographs taken with them. I was praying Uncle B wouldn’t do one of his famous nudges and lift someone off their feet but thankfully he was too busy enjoying the photo sessions.
Our walks can take anything from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on how far we go and how many people we meet, but they usually end with a call to the pub garden for a quick drink. This is the donks' favourite part of their outings. A couple of Sundays ago having finished our drinks, answered endless questions about donkeys and the amazing work of the Sanctuary, we get up to go as usual. Picture the scene - a sunny afternoon the pub is busy and the carvery, overlooking the garden is full. Uncle B decides he’s actually not ready to go yet, the grass is tasty and there is no shortage of attention. It’s at moments like these when all the Behaviour Training goes out the window. I pulled - my husband pushed - he pulled - I pushed, you wish the ground would open up and swallow you because you know that everyone is watching and finding the entertainment very amusing! China Boy starts to get impatient, he wants to get home, so decides to add to the chaos by dancing round the picnic table to see how many glasses he can knock off!
Eventually we manage to regain control and beat a hasty retreat, with me vowing never to go back to the pub when it’s busy! The pub landlord told me afterwards that a few days later some people rang to book a table and asked “Will the donkeys be there?”
There’s certainly never a dull moment when you have donkeys!