Monday, November 30, 2009

Buddy & Cisco are STARS......!!!

Awhile back John was up at our neighbor's western town called, Gammon's Gulch , & met a woman making arrangements to shoot a film there. When she found out we had donkeys she asked John if he could bring up a couple for background color at the mine area. He told her it shouldn't be a problem. This morning there was a message on our answering machine saying they were ready for the donkeys..............HUH? What happened to things like, "we'll be there Monday..........or we'll let you know when we'll need you." So John called & they needed them in about 15 minutes. We hadn't even really decided who to take & actually had forgotten about it. Buddy & Cisco except for being a little chunky look like the burros the miners had, so we put some halters on them & started walking them over to Jay's. We had no idea if they would even lead, let alone walk thru a gate, & off the property. Neither of them has been off the property in years. NO PROBLEM..........they were ready for adventure I guess, we almost had to trot to keep up with Buddy. They had a bunch of horses, saddled & ready to go we walked past. A lot of horses are afraid of donkeys if they've never seen one before, but these horses didn't even turn an ear.

When we got up to where they were shooting, the first thing they noticed was the nylon halters rather than rope halters. Rather than go back home, I asked one of the horse wranglers if they had any small rope halters. He disappeared into one of the big trailers & came back with 2 that looked like they had seen a LOT of use. I took them back & started brushing on Cisco. Last night we got a few drops of rain, & all the donkeys made sure they got at least one good roll in the mud. One of the people said to leave him dirty, it was suppose to be a dirty mining town & all the people were dirty too.

They actually did a couple of shots with the guys in the background pretty quick. But after that we stood around all day long. We couldn't leave in case they shot a scene that took in the area where the donkeys were suppose to be tied. Cisco just stood where we put him, like a good little donkey should. Buddy, got bored real quick. He started pawing the ground, & trying to get loose. I had forgotten that he can untie a rope, so it wasn't long before someone yelled, "donkey loose", & Buddy is headed up a little canyon. I caught him, tied him up again, & it wasn't long before the cry "donkey loose" went out again. Thanks goodness he didn't head for where they were filming. John & I even have a job name, donkey wranglers. They were getting ready to "kill" a guy with dynamite, which was going to cause a lot of noise. So this guy is running around yelling, "donkey wranglers, where's the donkey wranglers" Took us a second or two to figure out, that was us.........!!! They wanted to make sure the donkeys were out of range & wanted us to know there was going to be noise that might spook them.

The weather today was very cold & windy, & it was really miserable. We hadn't planned on staying all day, & really weren't dressed as warm as we should have been. After standing around all day they decided they will need us again in the morning about 8:30. At least we were used today, all those horses spent the day, saddled & standing by their trailers, for nothing. I don't think I'm cut out for the movie business. All that waiting around, for a few seconds of work would drive me crazy in a hurry. But it is interesting to see how they do things.

They are going to be filming about 20 days & want a donkey wearing a pack saddle for a street scene in the town later. We have a pack saddle John bought from a guy years ago. We never did figure out how to use it, one of the horse guys said he will help us. He's the same one that loaned us the halters, guess he's taking us to raise.........!!! We think we'll probably take BlackJack. He's the only one we know for sure that has been packed, except for Rusty the mule, but they don't want a mule.

When they finally released us for the day, we headed home. During the day we had taken turns coming over to the house, & in the melee the golf cart ended up over there with us. We had no idea if the donkeys would lead if we were in the golf cart or not. John decided he would lead Buddy & not try it. I got in the golf cart, told Cisco to come with me, & he came up along the side & away we went.

I'd like to hope it is going to be warmer tomorrow, but according to the weatherman, probably not. We really should be getting ready for the Open House this week-end, rather than playing in the movies, but we didn't want the boys to miss their chance to be stars............!!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Paladin is still being a good boy. Occasionally there are some squabbles, with dust flying & everyone running. But it's not always him, although he's usually close to the center of the dust flying. But as long as he isn't being overly aggressive & the others don't mind him being close to them, he's doing OK.

Today we had a couple of women come out to visit. They were willing to be my guinea pigs to see how Paladin would react to other people. Just about a month ago, he was running wild & had very little human contact. He's made a lot of progress, but mostly with John & I. He let them pet his face a little & managed to eat some pellets from their hands without biting them. He dropped some pellets, but managed to get most of them. For the Open House we will put up signs warning of his short comings with being fed by hand, & will have pans in the pen so people can put pellets in there if they want. My next project with him will be putting a halter on him. I don't think it will be a big problem, but I sure wish I knew more about all this training stuff than I do.

This morning when John was rounding everyone up, he was putting Jenny & Pepper in their pens. Actually Pepper's pen is inside Jenny's, so they were both in her pen. John was trying to entice Pepper, he doesn't always move with purpose & Jenny started to go into his pen just about the time Pepper headed that direction. When he got close to her he decided to check her out. He started to put his nose on her side & she turned around to bite him. John just happened to be standing between them, so guess who got bit? Poor Jenny got chastised, Pepper got a cheap thrill & John found out being in the middle of one of Pepper's little trysts isn't much fun. You gotta love the old buzzard..............!!!!! Well I guess Jenny doesn't.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Paladin's nose was pretty clear yesterday morning so we let him out. John needed to grease & oil change the van, so he would be outside to listen for any misbehaving. We also had the bb gun ready in case we needed to get his attention & couldn't get close to him. I know, that's probably not the best way to reprimand him, but he's young, strong, fast & has a lot of winter hair on his butt.......... We old, weak, slow & know that yelling from a distance doesn't get his attention, especially when he is focused.

He went out, ran across Buster & Lucy, which of course set Buster off as protector & he started attacking, which we let him do. Paladin decided there were more interesting places to go & headed for the rest of the gang. We watched them for awhile & he for the most part was behaving or at least pulling back when someone kicked at him.

We went about our business, & John said he saw dust flying a couple of times, but nothing that needed intervention.

So we decided to let him out overnight. When I went out this morning I asked John how everyone was doing. He said everyone was fine, except Paladin had bloody scratches on his nose, where he had been in the brush. Maybe running into that trim limb, reset his hormonal clock.........!!! (G)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


He's been in his pen since Sunday, recuperating from his tree limb encounter. His nose was still oozing blood up until this morning. But he is alert, eating, drinking & acting normal. I would imagine some of the membranes in his face were torn or crushed. Probably when he would snort or bray, (which he's been doing a lot of, to let us know we forgot to open the gate) they would open up again. This evening he seemed OK. We'll probably let him out tomorrow, if his nose stops oozing & it's up to him if he gets to stay out or not. If he starts acting rude, he'll go back in the pen, & we'll have to set up a schedule where he & the girls won't be out at the same time. Kathy at Longhopes Donkey Shelter agreed that it's probably hormonal & sometimes it takes months for them to settle down.

Found out today he likes celery. Celery is a good treat for those that are insulin resistant if they like it. He's actually the first one we've had that would eat it. I tried him on 3 or 4 pieces & he seemed to think it was good stuff. He also got brushed for the 1st time today. That went real good, he stood real still, until I tried to brush over his hip. I think I saw a rear foot kick up towards me at his shoulder. But it was so quick, I almost missed it. He got chastised & we went back to brushing. This time he behaved himself. Good thing, as quick as he kicked I know I couldn't move fast enough to get out of the way.

Tonight when I went over to feed the chickens for some reason Gus went with me. I kept telling him there wasn't anything over there for him. I fed the chickens, & headed back over the wash. I heard all this racket from the chicken area, looked back & Gus is trying to dismantle the chicken wire in the guinea pen. His pushing it in with his nose. I yelled at him, he turned his head towards me, turned back, put his nose on the wire & turned his body so he could see me. This time he wasn't pushing on it, I guess he was telling me he could if he wanted to. But he was choosing NOT to do so. Brat.............!!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Actually things have slowed down a little bit as far as Jenny & the boys are concerned. Everyone is busy feeding themselves on anything that looks edible. I would imagine this time of year their bodies tell them to store up whatever they can. Years ago someone was telling us we need to make sure we have no brush under the mesquites, because if there was a fire it could get out of control. Believe me, our ground is cleared of anything that they can eat. Fire danger is a real low priority around here.

John just came in & said Paladin had Frijolita down in the pens was on top of her & biting her neck. John had got him out of the pen, & closed Frijolita & Daisy in the pen. I went out & Frijolita was really scared & standing with one hind leg off the ground. She has stringhalt & seems to get lame easily even without being mauled by another donkey. Since it was in the pens I thought it might have started over leftover hay. But while we were in the pen, we heard commotion down below the house. He was running Tula, with Quilla, Jenny, & Chester trailing. Around & around they went with Chester occasionally getting close enough to Paladin to give him a quick bite. Tula kicked him in the chest 3 or 4 times hard enough to slow him up, but he came right back. Tula came around the big mesquite tree by the courtyard, she ducked, he didn't. It set him back on his haunches long enough for her to get away & he followed Jenny into a pen.

This is a new one on me, usually the males aren't so aggressive with the jennies. Right now he is in the pens, with a bloody nose, bloody mouth & 2 banged up eyes. I'll have to ask around & see if anyone else has seen this problem. I still don't know if it was hormonal or aggression, he's been so mellow, I would tend to think it's hormonal, but why so aggressive? Certainly not much of a gentleman.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Boy I sure hope Paladin is shooting blanks. Our local hussy, Jenny has all the boys in a tizzy right now. Paladin & Quilla have been doing a lot of sparring & chasing each other, actually I think Paladin is doing all the chasing, but Quilla comes right back. Paladin seems to know what he's doing & is really good at it, so I hope we don't get a little surprise package in about a year.....!!! (G)

Last night when we were rounding up for feeding, Paladin followed Jenny down to her pen. Pepper was already there waiting to go into his pen. When he saw Jenny his old ears perked up, & he started wooing her, which she actually seemed to think was quite romantic. Unfortunately Paladin wasn't impressed at all. He started making jack sounds & was ready to squash Pepper like a bug. I picked up a stick & got Paladin out of the pen in a hurry. So until we got around to putting Pepper in his pen, he had Jenny's undivided attention, which he spent turning on the charm in his best Lounge Lizard routine. Nothing like an old fool I guess.

I guess John is going to have to start getting up & eating his breakfast in the dark. This morning when the light went on in the kitchen, Gus started braying & kept it up as he tried to figure out how to dismantle the courtyard gate. That poor gate has been mauled repeatedly over the years, & we know from past experience that Gus can pretty much destroy anything he wants to. I'm curious to see how John handles this little problem.

John left a packing blanket out by the garage & found it in 2 pieces this morning. Actually he found one piece & the other piece was being used as a tug of war toy by Pepsi & Justin. John threw one piece in their pen, but I'm betting they won't play with it now. They seem to play with things they know aren't theirs rather than the toys we provide...........!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Paladin went out Sunday as planned & it really went well. He walked out, roamed around for quite awhile before he started running, bucking & acting silly. Once he found the other donkeys everyone had to check him out. He was very good, even let Pepper act stupid & not try to take his head off. Of course our big worry was when it was time for him to go back in the pen to be fed. John just got behind him & he headed in the right direction. It would have gone with a hitch except Buster was standing by the feed room & when Paladin came around the corner, Buster had to make ugly faces & lunge at him. Paladin was a good boy & didn't try to fight. As soon as we corralled Buster, Paladin went right in. He's been doing just fine on going in until this morning & even then it wasn't a running crisis. I think he was testing to see if we really meant that he absolutely had to go into the pen. A couple of wrong turns & he decided to go along with the process, thank goodness. So far his play buddy seems to be Justin. Since Justin is only about 34 inches tall he's at a disadvantage, but they seem to have worked out that little problem when they are running & play fighting.

John came in yesterday morning & said he was trying something to see if it would work. We had decided to put Frijolita in with Daisy & Quilla temporarily, so Gus could go into her pen to eat. But when Daisy saw Frijolita in HER pen, she wouldn't go in it. She's such a funny little thing, she & Frijolita run together most of the time. So Daisy headed down the pens & went in with Chester. So far it's working out just fine, they seem to get along better than she & Quilla did. And Frijolita doesn't care where she is at, as long as there's food there. So this might be a long term fix on who eats with who.

Yesterday we picked up Gus to bring him back to the sanctuary. When we first got there he put his head across Leo the horse's back & looked at me like he knew what was happening. They had become real good friends the people said too good in fact. Gus likes to chew on Leo's mane & tail & I guess Leo didn't care. His tail was a little short even if you were wanting to show off his butt. A lot of times if someone wants to make the butt look bigger they will cut the tail short. Maybe Gus thinks he's a barber, who knows.

He loaded pretty good, but by the time we got home the sweat was just pouring off him. The floor of the trailer looked like it had been flooded with a hose, poor old guy.
As soon as he was unloaded everyone came to see him. This is Quilla having his turn. This morning we let him out & he immediately started hanging with Rusty & Jack the mules just like when he was here before, with Max the horse missing though. Paladin for awhile this morning tried to hang out with him, but Gus basically ignored him. It's really funny that he seems to have no interest in donkeys at all. Hopefully a good home as a companion for another horse will show up. Although that mane & tail thing might make it a little difficult.

John's latest skunk this morning was NOT happy to go for a ride in the Bronco. The cage was covered by the blanket, so he didn't do a complete spray, but it was enough that you could tell who John had been hanging out with. (G) It probably wouldn't have been so bad, but when John carried the cage covered with the blanket I think it was up against his leg.............soooo..........I've been washing this afternoon. There sure are a lot of skunks this year, one of our neighbor's a mile or so away is having trouble with ringtail cats. I would imagine territorial wise those 2 species don't cross paths if they can help it. If the ringtails don't kill chickens I'd rather have them, but I bet they would if given the chance.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Well today we're going to let Paladin out for the first time. It's gotten chilly enough we haven't been putting fly masks on, but for this "adventure" we'll keep everyone on just the 10 acres for the day. I don't anticipate any problems, but he is young & strong, & most of the others are "mature" & not so strong........!!!! Hopefully he won't remember old buzzard bait Pepper, challenging thru the corral panels. I'm sure Pepper doesn't remember it, sometimes he can't remember why the gate is open................!!!! (G)

I noticed last night that Daisy had a scruffed up knee. Where she lived before the ground was nice & soft. I think when she lays down the rocks & gravel are roughing up her knees. Pepper had that problem for awhile, & a friend made him some knee socks. So I doctored her knee & put the knee socks on both of her knees. She is such a funny little thing, anytime you do something with her, you can immmediately tell if she's never done it before. First she took a very cautious step. Then she raised up her leg & turned her head sideways, I assuming to look at what the heck that was on her knee. By this morning it was no big deal. I'll keep putting them on for awhile even if the sores heal, so she can lay down comfortably.

John was commenting this morning on how good she & Quilla are looking. Granted by any standards they are both still overweight. They don't look so much like overstuffed pillows, but they still have a long way to go. The pergolide has really made a difference with Daisy, she's much more alert & even though it getting into winter & everyone is putting on their winter coats, her hair is no where near as long & overgrown as it was last spring. Quilla does not have Cushings & I don't think he is Insulin Resistant. His weight is coming off like you would expect if he was taking in less calories, which I'm sure he is. Everyone gets rationed around here, especially the ones that really need it.

Gus will be coming back tomorrow afternoon. All the pens are full, so we will try to feed him with Lucy & Buster outside the pens. As I recall he eats fast, so this might not work, we'll just have to see.

We're suppose to be getting ready for the Open House, December 5 & 6th but I'm afraid we're going to run out of time before we run out of things to do. Oh! well the people come to see the donkeys, hopefully not to see spit & polish.

John is still hauling skunks, I think the count is up to 8 or 9, although he thinks one of them has been caught 3 times. It's the mismarked one. The last time he took it farther away by a couple of miles, & so far he hasn't hauled one that looks like it, so hopefully it went somewhere else. He thought he saw some dig marks inside the chicken house, which is what he's trying to keep from happening. Once they get inside the house, they'll go after the chickens.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yesterday we had to go to Tucson for the day. In the winter it's difficult for us to get home in time to feed before dark. Although we were only a little late time wise it was getting dark. The gang KNOW they are suppose to be fed before dark. So when we drove in there were 19 judgemental animals standing there looking at us like we aren't smart enough to know it's past feeding time. The only reason there weren't 20 is Paladin is still in his pen. Under those circumstances they were anxious to get in their pens, which meant round up was real easy.

Buster usually doesn't have much to do with the other geldings, he hangs out with his Lucy girl. But the other night he & Buddy were wrestling for quite awhile. At first I thought they were fighting, with donkey play sometimes it's hard to tell. Buddy loves to play, but I've never seen Buster play very much. They were running & rearing & biting & running some more. I finally decided to go out & break it up, as Buster seemed to be the aggressor..........not that Buddy can't take care of himself as he has shown many times in the past. But just as I started out to be head jenny, Buddy got behind Buster & started chasing him, so I guess he wasn't trying to get away too much. By feeding time they had gone off their separate ways, & Buster was back to hanging out with Lucy.

We seem to have a strange little triangle developing. I've been watching them for a few days to see what's going on. Usually we have a girl herd, consisting of Tula as ring leader, Jenny, Daisy & Frijolita. Since Quilla came a few months ago, he has hung out on the fringe of the girls. He doesn't seem to care much for any of the other geldings. And of course you know the saga of Daisy & Quilla & their squabbles, if you follow the blog. Recently the herd has consisted of Daisy, Frijolita & Quilla, no Tula. I'm surprised that Quilla & Daisy are actually hanging out together, I guess Frijolita is the buffer. Although the other donkeys all see Tula as their leader, I'm not sure she always enjoys her status. Many times it it's time to go into her pen & they are trying to follow her, she will peal off at the gate, because she doesn't want them in her pen. Who knows maybe Daisy & Quilla will become an item..................!!!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yesterday morning when everyone came in for breakfast, Chester came in 3 legged lame on his bad leg. He wasn't just lame, he was carrying that leg, without it touching the ground, which is really scary. It was also having spasms, which happens with a break sometimes. There was no swelling or heat anywhere which is good. He got a shot of banamine & stayed in the pen all day & night. This morning he was walking as well as he ever does, with a slight hitch. I have no idea what happened, but he seems to be doing just fine today. These animals would turn my hair gray if it wasn't already........!!!! (G)

This afternoon a truck drove in the driveway & it was Gus' family. Gus went to his new home early this year to be a companion for a horse. Gus is the only donkey we've ever had that preferred horses over donkeys. The man is having very serious health problems & is having to give up both Gus & the horse. New owners sign a contract to return the donkey to the sanctuary if they can no longer take care of it. So Gus will be coming back early next week. I hope we can find him another good home with a horse. He liked hanging out with Max the horse, & of course Max is no longer here. I don't remember him being very impressed with either of the mules, so he may not be too thrilled to be coming back.

Paladin is going thru a "I don't have to" stage I guess. I think I might have been confusing him with trying to do clicker training. Even though that was the only time he got treats if someone was in his pen, I think he is looking for treats, if we come close to him. So no more clicker training until he's tamer. He was just getting the hang of it too.

I'm still having problems with my computer, so if I'm gone for awhile, don't be surprised.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Cisco my little immune system problem has done real good this summer. He usually starts in the spring with developing sores on his sheath & on his face if the flies get on his eyes before we put his fly mask on. It seems to only take one warm afternoon, to start the process of intense itching & him scratching until he's bloody.

For the first time this summer we managed to outwit the flies with fly masks & thunja zinc oxide on his sheath every day. Recently, we had a cold snap & then it got up in the 90's again. There are more flies now than we've seen all summer. I was a little slow in gearing up with covering his sheath & it only took one day for him to get it raw & bloody............. Sigh! It's much easier to keep ahead of it, than it is to get it healed.

I found out more than I wanted to know about gelding & the way it use to be, when the people with the "scary" little boy came out to visit. The man was raised with working teams of horses & mules, they bred, raised, & trained them. I always thought gelding was barbaric, & have heard of cowboys, roping, hog tying them, getting out the old pocketknife, & going to work without any drugs. This man said they made a tool out of 2 long pieced of metal hinged on one end. Once they got the victim tied & exposed the testicle, they used this "clamp" to "tie" off the cord. He said they then smashed the cord to destroy it before they cut it. All without anesthetic.......!!!! It's still a barbaric operation, but at least now most of them are done under anesthetic. I'm sure on a lot of ranches they are still done the old way though. You'd think men would be more sympathetic wouldn't you.....??? (G)

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Finally found something to spook the boy. A couple came out this afternoon to visit with the donkeys & brought their 5 year old grandson. Judging from Paladin's reaction, he's never seen a child before. He took one look, spun around & headed the other direction. Wasn't the least bit interested in seeing that little person.

He now stands still for us to touch him on both sides. In fact after we touch & scratch for a little while, & back off he walks towards us wanting more, which is a good sign. Yesterday I started with clicker training. So far, he isn't the fastest learner I've ever had, but at least he doesn't run from the clicker, which I've had them do. It's hard to train them when they don't wait around for their treat. I've only worked with him for about 10 minutes total, & he's pointing his nose at the target, but hasn't touched it yet.

This morning Tula was outside his pen acting like a hussy. I might need to ask someone just how long he should be kept away from the jennies. Thirty days might not be long enough.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I should have had the camera handy this morning. We had 2 women come out to visit with the donkeys. Yesterday they had been peeling apples to dehydrate & brought the peelings & cores for the donkeys. Of course everyone was thrilled except for BlackJack & Lucy, who both treat apples like a horrible acid we are trying to ram down their throat. BlackJack was raised with a little boy, & much prefers junk food, french fries are a particular favorite. He's not really into healthy snacking. Lucy just gives you a sad look if you try to feed her apple.

When we got to Tula I told them that she doesn't like people & wouldn't take anything from them. Not only did she take an apple core she came back & took another one. That is the 3rd time in about 6 years she has taken treats from someone other than us. It's always been a woman, although I think she really prefers John over me. Maybe we should use apples with her. She really seemed to enjoy them.

We got in about 2am from the races last night & it was 31 degrees, so I went out to put Sha'ba & Pepper's blankets on them. Although it wasn't real cold, they both stood very still for me to put the blanket on, so I am sure they appreciate the blankets. Pepper is even resigned to staying the pens at night, & doesn't try to crash the gate to get out.

When Courtney was here last time she left a soaking boot for me to use on Jenny & Quilla. Mine is a huge thing, takes about 1/2 a gallon of liquid to cover Jenny's foot. This one is smaller & made of very "firm" material. I tried to put it on Jenny this morning, & for once in her life she was actually cooperative. BUT, Courtney is going to have to show me hands on how to get it on her foot, I didn't even come close. I think I can wrap her foot in a disposable diaper & it will soak up water, so I won't have to pour so much into my boot.

Tomorrow is suppose to be worming day. I never definitely plan anything around here, because if I do something else comes up. I'm looking for a microscope, so in the future I can do fecal samples & maybe not have to worm as much. Worm immunity to wormers is becoming a big problem, & in the southwest we usually don't have as much problems with worms as other parts of the country, that have pasture. So if I can test & not have to worm as much, that would be a good thing.

I tried to talk Paladin into letting me put his fly mask on this morning, without having to use the chute. He actually was interested, smelled the mask, let me get right up to putting it over his ears, & decided he didn't want to participate. That's OK, he did take apple from the women, so he's doing OK.