Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Tomorrow morning Judy the mule is coming to stay for awhile. She has had a problem with chronic founder & tender feet. We're hoping that by soaking the sugar & starch out of her hay & using supplements to balance hay, that we can get her more comfortable. She's a riding mule & her owner has been trying different things to help her, but she is still having problems. She will just be here on loan, if we can get her sound she'll go back to her family in the future.

We had a family stop by to visit today. We ask that people call first, but they found out about us at the local Chamber of Commerce & that little piece of information got lost in the process. That's OK, the main reason we ask they call ahead is to make sure we're here, so they don't have a long drive for nothing. Also if people are coming we leave the fur kids in their pens, so they can be seen without being obnoxious. By the time the people got here, most of them were already out of their pens, so we had to roam around to find them. Chili & Rusty both got put back in pens, because they were behaving badly. They both had a "ME, ME, ME" attitude, which isn't attractive. If Gus had been here, he would have gone in a pen too. Haven't heard how he's doing, but I'm sure he's enjoying all that free feed hay...........!!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008


The last couple of days have been busy around here. At least the weather is getting nicer, today it got up to 71* which was really appreciated by everyone.

Yesterday Martha came to massage Chester & Max the horse. Chester seemed to think it felt pretty good for the most part & seemed to enjoy just about everything she did. I noticed today he wasn't turning his foot backwards as much as he usually does, so maybe a regular routine of massage would help him walk more comfortable. He has a lot of muscle wasting in his shoulder & chest area from non-use that probably won't ever come back. But it doesn't seem to slow him down, he goes everywhere the others do, & moves as fast or faster than they do, & has been known to kick up his heels if I want him to do something he doesn't want to do.

Max was a little less accepting of all this hands on attention. He was quite nervous when she started, but after a few minutes he decided it wasn't too bad & before it was over he was almost leaning on her. She said the muscles in his neck are very tight & he also has some muscle atrophy in his chest. She showed me a few massages I can try to do. I'm sure after having someone massage that knows what they are doing, they probably won't think much of my attempts, but we'll give it a try. She thinks stretching Chester's leg up & forward would help him a lot, so we'll work on that.

Today after chores we loaded Gus up for his trip to his new home. He went in the trailer by himself after a few minutes & a few ginger snaps, but still sweated up a storm during the trip. They were all ready for him, with his own pen & hay bunk filled with bermuda hay. He came out of the trailer & promptly kicked the dog. It wasn't a "kick him into the next country" kick. It was just enough to thump the dog on the shoulder & make him kiyi for a few seconds . I would imagine given the chance the dog will be more careful next time about wandering around behind Gus. They will probably be good friends, before too long once they get to know each other.

This is he & Leo meeting for the first time. Leo was very excited when he saw Gus, but Gus had to investigate the whole pen & eat a little hay before he deemed it necessary to introduce himself. By that time Leo had paced back & forth many many times, trying to get Gus' attention. When we left, Gus was in the run in shed dining on hay. They keep hay out all the time. Gus isn't a pig about food like some of the donkeys are, so I think he will do OK, with having food available all the time. Leo is definately lacking in the ear department, isn't he.............????? (G)

This is a link to a wonderful story of people getting involved to make a difference:

We had been joking all day, that since we were taking a donkey to a new home there would probably be a message when we got home about donkeys needing a home. It's happened before. Would you believe there was a message about 2 donkeys a 2 goats that showed up on Colossal Cave Park on our phone when we came in? Right now I don't have anyone wanting donkeys & even with Gus gone, we really aren't in a position to take in two more. John is going to make a call in the morning to the ranch where he does jeep tours in Tucson, to see if they might take them. They have a old donkey named Louie, roaming around with the horses. Maybe they wouldn't mind a couple more. Louie might mind, he likes to mug the tour jeeps when he sees them. Most of the drivers carry treats, so Louie & the horses have learned when they see the jeeps it's "showtime"......!!!!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


It was 19 degrees here this morning, after yesterday being windy, cold, rainy & even some snowflakes to add to the misery. Last night Pepper & Sha'ba got their blankets. They were wet when I put the blankets on, but the material wicks moisture away from them, so this morning they were nice & toasty. Today hasn't warmed up a whole lot, so they are having to stay in their pens. That's the bad thing about blankets, once you start putting them on, you have to use them as the weather dictates. Sha'ba doesn't mind staying in his pen, but Pepper acts like he's being mistreated, & tries to ram thru the gate if you open it.

Sha'ba is "helping" John pick up poo. Actually his interest is in the "treat" pocket. I don't carry treats, but they all know John always has something in a pocket, if they can just figure out what they have to do to get it. Sha'ba's speciality is standing in the way of the poo bucket, till John gives him a treat to get rid of him. Of course that doesn't work, it just makes Sha'ba more determined to get another treat.

We did the home study for Gus yesterday. It should be a wonderful home for him, he'll have a run in shed to eat in, & plenty of room to roam with his new friend Leo. Leo is a real people horse & likes to be the center of attention. The man has trained & also owned mules which is good. Gus wouldn't be a good donkey for someone that had never had equine. He is the type that if you give him an inch ("Oh! isn't that cute, what he's doing") he'll take a mile ("good heavens he's getting to be pushy") We're going to have them take him for 30 days to see how it works out, since he will be going to a home with no other donkeys. It shouldn't be a problem, since he doesn't pay any attention to donkeys anyway. In fact his only play buddy is Rusty the white mule & they don't play that often. Leo looked like he might like to play, so Gus should have a good friend to hang out with. We'll haul him to his new home next week.

I'll be glad when the wet cold weather is gone. I know our weather isn't nearly as bad as a lot of folks get. But after living in the desert for years, we get real whiney when we have to bundle up to do chores. John broke & dipped ice off the water buckets this morning. They immediately started freezing over again. A few years ago we tried using a heater in the big stock tank. The donkeys refused to drink from it & we found out we had an electrical leak that was causing the water to tingle. I worry about them not drinking enough & colicing, so we're trying to come up with a plan. I wouldn't let him experiment on the big tank for 2 reasons. # 1 it's their only large source of water & it usually doesn't ice completely over. # 2 I didn't want him to stick the heater in the water & make it miserable for the goldfish (3) that live in that tank. They would have no way of escaping if the water was charged. So he set up an 18 gallon tank with the heater to see if they'll drink out of it. If so, we'll go ahead & get another stock tank, 18 gallons won't last long, if they all want a drink.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL............!!!!

Today was a miserable cold day, with rain & wind. I don't like it & the donkeys don't either. They look at us like it's our fault & we should fix it. In case they haven't noticed, I'm not outside anymore than I have to be.......!!! (G)

A couple that was here for the Open House a couple of weeks ago, came by today to visit with Gus again. They were quite taken with him, & in fact Gus laid his head on the man's shoulder. They have a gelding & since Gus prefers horses to donkeys, we are thinking of letting them take Gus on a trial to see if it works out. We'll do a home study Friday & go from there.

Chester has been limping the last couple of days. I don't know if he hurt his leg, the cold is bothering him, or if the infection is coming back. The woman that does massage is going to be here Sunday. We'll see what she thinks.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, with lots of good food, & a generous Santa........!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


John came rolling in about 1pm yesterday, from his adventure. He said it was windy & cold up around Alburqerque (I don't think that's spelled right). I've got news for him, it was cold & windy here too, 22 degrees yesterday morning. What is great in the desert is, it can be bone chilling cold, but as soon as the sun gets a little height in the morning, it starts warming up quickly. The donkeys definately know the warm spots, & once they are standing there, even the idea of breakfast doesn't get them to move.

The trip went well, except for a bolt breaking for the alternator. Things like that happen when you're driving a van with over 460,000 miles on it. They were close to Hatch, NM & just had to wait until the auto parts store opened, get the bolt & replace it. They waited in the local cafe, with all the locals. Had to get their own coffee, once one of the guys told them the routine. I love cafes like that, it's like hanging out in someone's oversized dining room & the food is usually great.

Everything went smooth around here while he was gone. Of course last night when we fed, Gus & Rocky choked. Rocky cleared himself, but we had to work with Gus for awhile. Gus has choked before, I've about decided he can't eat pellets of any kind. We spread out the pellets so he can't grab a whole mouthful, but he still chokes. He's suppose to be getting antibiotics, BUT, it's a challenge to get him to eat his beet pulp & soaked timothy pellets with the antibiotics in them. I've tried different things to get him to eat, but he seems to figure it out, no matter what I try.

We had visitors today. They had been out here a couple of years ago. Last month they lost their donkey, & really are devastated. Sherry said she didn't know if she would be able to come out today, but once she saw the donkeys & they started their, "feed me, I'm starving" routine & all the antics they can think of, she enjoyed being around them. She plans on getting a couple of donkeys in the future, but not right now.

Santa brought my new camera, & I have to make the effort to get some pictures. It's disappointing to see a wonderful picture opportunity, run in the house, get the camera, go back out, & everyone has disappeared. I don't dare carry it around with me on a regular basis, they would think it was something to eat.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Taken off a MySpace page........... what a cute little Santa helper.......!!!

John left on a short road trip this morning. One of our neighbors was coming back from a trip to Georgia & his car broke down in the Albuquerque area, so he had to rent a car to get home. The logistics of getting the rental car back & getting his car home, was a little much unless he had access to a trailer & a vehicle to tow the trailer. John offered to go get it for him. So this morning in the dark, Michael drove the rental car up on the trailer, they tied it down & hit the road. It's only about 450 miles up there, so they should be back tomorrow sometime. Unless the weather gets bad. Right now a winter squall is roaming around Arizona & New Mexico, hopefully they'll miss it. I know this morning I will get to do chores, by myself, in wind & spitting rain. UGH!

Gus actually helped them load the car on the trailer. Well actually he was trying to get into the "treat" pocket in John's coat. But I'm sure he thought it was help. Rusty the mule, & BlackJack also were out in the driveway to see them off.

We got a new toy or piece of necessary equipment, depending on your point of view yesterday. Originally when we got the sub-compact tractor we thought we could use it in the pens. It's too long with the backhoe & the turning radius isn't short enough to work very well. So I checked out specs on skid loaders & decided a Bobcat 463 would probably work pretty good. Found a good deal on Craigslist & picked it up yesterday. In fact it didn't get unloaded until after dark, & John left before daylight this morning, so it's sitting in the garage awaiting it's christening in the pens when he gets back. I'm not real good with equipment, I can take out a fence or hit a tree without any supervision, so I will wait until he's here to drive it away from whatever I run over.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Courtney made it out to trim Sunday. She was later than we expected & got here just about feeding time. We managed to get everyone corralled & fed the ones that weren't getting pedicures. Unfortunately Lucy was one of the ones that had to wait for her supper. Good grief you would have thought she had never ate in her life & was being forced to stand & watch everyone else eat. Actually Courtney was keeping her busy with the trim, but to say Lucy was uncooperative is an understatement. Usually she's good about her feet. But you could tell from her body language & her level of cooperation (not much) that she felt she was being mistreated. When she was done & I started to lead her to her pen she TROTTED, almost dragging me. Believe me, moving fast isn't something Lucy normally does. (G) Although we've never x-rayed her feet she is what they use to call a sinker. The bottom of her feet are flat as a pancake & always will be.

We were quite pleased with Chester. Not only did he stand still to have his bad leg trimmed, he actually stood about 5 seconds on his bad side while Courtney picked up his good leg. It's a start, certainly a lot different than the first time she tried to trim him, & he whizzed a hind leg past her head more than once. She thinks he might enjoy a massage, so the next time she comes out she's going to bring a friend that is really good with equine massages. I'll probably have her look at Max while she's here. Maybe she can help make his broken neck with 5 years of arthritis more comfortable.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gus seems to be back to his old obnoxious self. I wouldn't think 2 days of Tucoprim would make a difference, but who knows. He'll get it for 2 weeks unless he gets so pushy in the meantime we can't stand him......!!! (G)

Does anyone have any brilliant ideas as to why Sha'ba would dig holes like this while he is eating his hay, every day? He's done it for years, but lately has really been going for some sort of a record I guess. I keep telling him if I fall in one of these caverns & break a leg, or hurt my back using a shovel, I won't be able to mix his special feed & give him extra treats. Needless to say, he keeps his hooves nice & short. We've tried feeding him in a bunk hanging on the corral panels, he does the same thing. He has a hard time raising his neck because of arthritis, so we thought on the ground would take care of the problem. Obviously not.

Courtney is coming out today to trim. She should only have to do a little touch-up, everyone seems to be wearing their feet even, except for Chester. He's hard to trim because he can't stand on his bad leg. But Courtney has his feet much better than they were. Right now his hoof on the bad leg is too upright, & the frog isn't touching the ground because it has atrophied from non use. Now that he is using it more we hope the frog will regenerate.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Gus actually loaded pretty easily this morning. I was surprised, as in the past he's not always been a cooperative "trailer loader". A few ginger snaps & me putting one front foot up in the trailer as John put pressure on the halter & he decided it might not be so bad.

Once he was in the trailer he started shaking & sweating until the sweat dripped off him, poor guy. The only other one we have that sweats like that in a trailer is Buster Brown. Needless to say his heart rate was elevated by the time he got to the vet, but she still managed to hear a heart murmur. The blood test was almost perfect, so she doesn't know if he's always had the murmur, or if he might have some sort of infection. Judging from the blood test, infection doesn't seem to be a probable diagnosis, but just in case we will give him Tucoprim for a couple of weeks. Tucoprim is good for bacterial infections.

On the way out, we picked up the mail. There was a check from Country Supply as their donation to our rescue. I want to thank everyone that took the time to enter our code when making a purchase from Country Supply. I told John it was like an early Christmas present...............!!!!! (G)

We're going to take Gus in to see the vet today. He's not really sick nor does he have something definitively I can put my finger on. But he seems to spend a lot of time laying down in the wash. He's never been Mr. Energetic, but it won't hurt to have him looked at & maybe do some blood tests to make sure he's OK.

Everyone else seem to be doing good right now, even old Pepper. He actually seems to be putting on a little weight. That means instead of his ribs sticking out like a hat rack, they are only showing thru his winter coat. We won't even talk about his hipbones........!!!!! Although it's getting in the low 30's at night, I'm still not putting a blanket on him. He's moving good, & if he has a blanket on he has to stay in the pens.

Courtney will be here Sunday to trim the ones that need it. Four have to be trimmed on a regular basis, but the rest self-trim, which is great........!!!!

Lucy is still hanging around her pen every morning, waiting for the people to come & visit. Even Buster has given up on waiting for her & goes out to start his day. I'm surprised, usually he won't leave her side.

Monday, December 08, 2008

This morning after everyone finished their hay we started opening gates & letting them out. John & I were still picking up poo. Usually when the gates are opened, the ones that feel they have been cheated in the hay department start running around checking all the pens to see if someone left hay. In fact they all know who is inclined to leave hay, & they head for those pens first.

I happened to look up & everyone had dispersed, but Lucy was still in her pen. This was unusual, so I watched her for awhile. She started out by the open gate, then she roamed over to the other side of the pen. Then she stood in the middle & brayed & back to the gate area. It took me awhile, but I finally figured out what was going on. She was waiting for the people to come & feed her pellets like they did during the Open House. It took about 1/2 an hour for her to finally decide the party was over & she might as well go out with the rest of them. Lucy is usually rather uninvolved in her surroundings. As a former roping donkey & probable baby factory, she is usually emotionally detached from what is going on around her. I was happy to see her participating in working to get the people to feed her, which she has never done before. And this morning I could tell she was upset because there wasn't anyone walking around the outside of the pen with cups of pellets. I wonder if she'll try again tomorrow?

Sunday, December 07, 2008


We had a real good Open House. Saturday was almost perfect, weather wise. Lots of sun, no wind & lots of people came to see the donkeys. Once the donkeys figured out what was going on, they really got into making sure the people found them entertaining. Gus started wearing thin, from my point of view. We knew we couldn't put a sign on his pen, or he would tear it down. So we got the brillant idea of stapling the sign to the wooden side of the shelter in the pen. I don't know how he knew it was there & also don't know how he managed to reach around the side & rip the sign off. John & I spent the day, retrieving & restapling the sign. I kept moving the sign farther down the side of the shelter, & figured eventually it would be closer to Tula & Chester than to Gus. When he wasn't doing that, he was beating on the corral panels, or digging a trench with his foot. I think he was trying to tell us, he doesn't like being in a pen. He would stop all the shenanigans when the people came by, so he could put his head over the top of the gate, or bray to make sure they saw him.

Tula actually took some timothy pellets from a woman's hand. Two years ago she took pellets from another woman. I don't know what triggers her to "take a chance". Most animals if they took the chance & nothing happened, would be inclined to try it again. Not her...........!!! She actually spent most of Sunday, walking a few steps towards people, but didn't get close to anyone again. Chester was in the pen with her, & he was at the front of the pen to make sure he got all the pellets he could wheedle from the people. So she could see him getting all the goodies. But that wasn't enough to make her give up her independence.

Today was cloudy, cooler & we didn't have near as many people. But the ones that were here, seemed to enjoy the adventure. Of course by today, all the equines knew the drill. There was a lot more braying, & positioning themselves, to make it easy for the people to give them pellets. Buster, Lucy & Rocky, learned to work the people at their gate, & then follow the people around to the other side to beg some more. They seemed to think the people wouldn't notice that they were the same donkeys, that had been begging at the gate. It didn't seem to matter the people fed them anyway. Jenny really learned quickly how to work the people for treats. Last year at this time, her feet were still pretty sore. I don't remember her interacting that much with the people. This year she brayed & stuck her nose thru the corral panels, wiggled her nose & tried all sorts of tricks to get their attention.

We left Pepsi in his pen, so he wouldn't have to compete with the other 3 minis for attention. Cheyenne got tired of competing with Lynn & Justin yesterday. So instead of standing where the people came down the fence, she would stand by the gate. Lynn & Justin would mug the people for pellets, but once the people turned the corner, Cheyenne seemed to know she was next. I'm surprised Lynn & Justin didn't simply follow along the fence with the people. They seemed to have staked out their place & weren't interested in horning in on Cheyenne's spot, so it worked out pretty good. I've seen Cheyenne back up Gus or BlackJack when she feels like it, so I was suprised that she was so docile about the whole situation.

All in all I think the Open House was a rousing success. Yesterday we had volunteers from Kartchner Caverns come out for the day. They were great, I don't know what we would have done without them. Today it was just John & I, but with less people we could handle it. Tonight they will be able to go over on Burroland for the 1st time since Friday. After 2 days of being in their pens, & 2 nights of having to stay on the plain old "boring" 10 acres, I'm sure they will be excited to get back over there.

It might be a few days before I have anymore pictures. Do you know what a digital camera looks like, in it's plastic & nylon case & someone (read that John) starts a fire in a wood stove without noticing the camera case on top? Let me put it this way, once the smell & the smoke cleared the house, & the plastic quit dripping off the stove I got a chance to look at the camera. I think it might pass for a decent piece of modern art..............but I don't think it will take another picture. I've been promised that Santa Claus is going to put in a rush order, so the getting a new one probably won't take but a day or two. Unfortunately this old dog will probably have to learn new skills, which will take a lot longer. I always hate to replace my old stuff with new stuff. The new stuff always has more buttons for me to learn. I try to only learn the minimum amount I need to know, that way my brain doesn't have to get overloaded........!!! (G)

Friday, December 05, 2008


We're busy getting ready for the open house tomorrow. John attempted to put out some of the signs this afternoon. I looked out the window & saw something pink across the driveway, flopping up & down like a flag. I couldn't see what was making it move, so I decided to go out & check on it. Gus, (the picture above is him thinking about what to do next) had ripped one of the signs off where it was stapled & was trying to eat it. I had to pry the "treat" out of his mouth, before he finally gave up & let me have it. Guess that answers John's question about leaving the signs out overnight, huh? (G)

Tonight everyone will have to stay on the 10 acres, no Burroland. We will have to start feeding early in the morning to get everything done before 10am when the people will start coming. This morning John had to go round them up on Burroland. So since they see nothing wrong with wandering in at their leisure, they'll have to wander on 10 rather than 30 acres. Then dear darling Gus will have to go into a pen. We've decided that he will go in Chester's pen & Chester will go in with Tula. They've eaten together before when we had full pens, so that shouldn't be a problem. Gus is probably going to try to knock the pen down once he's thru eating, hopefully once the people start coming in, he'll be too busy helping to empty their cups of timothy pellets to destroy the pen. I just looked out & he had his head over the courtyard wall, trying to reach a poor little gardenia I've been trying to keep alive. I don't have the greenest thumb in the world, so the deck is stacked against it's long term survival anyway. Fortunately his neck is too short for him to reach it.

Hopefully lots of people will come out to see the donkeys. We think of it as a a chance for education. Many people have not been around donkeys & also a lot of people don't realize the need for rescue & sanctuary. Other people have or have had donkeys, & just want to get a donkey "fix". The kids especially enjoy the minis, & of course the minis love all the attention. So it should be a great week-end.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

We're busy getting ready for the Open House this Saturday & Sunday. The last few days have been sunny & warm, hope it stays that way. Last year was cold, windy & rainy. Needless to say it wasn't much fun for anyone.

We asked for help, from the volunteers out at Kartchner Caverns & have 3 couples that will come out. John & I could do it by ourselves, but it's a lot nicer to have others that can show groups around too.

Everyone seems to be in fine fettle & ready to perform their little tricks to get the people to feed them timothy pellets. Once they figure out that it's "show time" quite a few of them have their methods of getting people's attention. Max the horse plays a tune on his gate with his lips. Most of the donkeys just stick their heads thru the corral panels & stretch as far as they can with mouths open. Not the prettiest sight in the world, but the people seem to enjoy it. Two years ago Tula actually touched a woman's hand, which was quite special. She immediately took off (Tula not the woman) but we hoped it might be a break thru. I don't think so, she will probably spend the whole day in the far corner of her pen watching all the action which is her normal behavior.

We were going to try to put Gus & Chili in the same pen, but have about decided it probably wouldn't be a good idea. They are both competitive, especially when there is food involved. In such a situation they might start lunging at people's hands, with teeth nipping. Not good, especially with folks that aren't use to equines. So John is going to enlarge Chili's pen for the 2 days & they can each be in a pen by themselves, which should work out OK.