Tuesday, November 30, 2021

I'M BACK..........AGAIN

 John and I went to Indiana for Thanksgiving with the cousins.  We always enjoy the drive and this was somewhat of a trial for John.  He's been driving to Tucson for the last month or so and his broken leg hasn't given him any trouble.  But Indiana is a lot farther away than Tucson.  In years gone by we would have done it in 2 days, but we took 3 days each way and he drove every mile.  Said his leg didn't bother him which is great.  

While we were gone, Suzanne held down the fort, and for the most part she said everything went pretty well.  Well, until the last day, when Big Gus and Casper both choked during the morning feeding.  She got in touch with Dr. Jeremy and he was pretty busy with a horse in a sling..............!!!  She said Casper the little mini mule cleared in about an hour, but it took Big Gus about 4 hours before he finally cleared, but they both cleared on their own without having to be intubated.  

Gus has choked before and had to be intubated which isn't a pleasant experience for all involved.  He's over 40 years old and most of his teeth are at the gumline, so he is fed a mush of soaked pellets and senior feed.  We hadn't been soaking the senior, but will in the future.  

Other than that she said things went well and she actually had volunteers here almost every day to help with feeding and picking up poo and grooming.  We really appreciate our volunteers, more than they will ever know.  They make our work days much shorter when they are here.  

She had donkeys escorting her to her RV almost every night and in the morning they like to keep track of where she is, in case she heads for the hay barn or the feed room.

Gus making sure she's headed in the right direction for breakfast.


Cisco probably seeing if she is going to get the pumpkin.


 BlackJack making sure she gets home safely.  She'd probably be safer if he didn't step on her foot......!!


This is what always happens if something new/different/interesting, etc happens. 


We had a good time on the trip and getting to visit with family.............BUT........although I grew up in the midwest I had forgotten how dreary and grey it can be in the winter.  Even when the sun shines it isn't bright sun.  One morning there was frost on the car, which we haven't seen in awhile.....!!!  LOL  At least it didn't snow and wasn't as cold as it could have been, although the last night we were there, the wind which was really cold blew so hard, John's cousin Mark took down his flag, so it wouldn't end up in the next county.  

The donkeys are still wearing fly masks, seems like it's late this year for the flies to disappear.  If it was just a few flies we'd probably take the masks off, but there are LOTS of them and of course they go for the face.  

Friday, November 19, 2021


 Suzanne headed out today with a herd of donkeys to go have some fun in the morning.  Some friends are bringing their donkeys too.  The trail is different lengths up to about 16 miles.  Most will be walking or jogging, but I think Koshare and Cochise are going with Jennifer and Adam and will go long.  Jennifer ran with Koshare at Superior and they won the 6 mile.  Her husband Adam hasn't ran with a burro yet, so this will be his chance to find out if he likes to run with the burros or not. 

We had a tour today of people from Pennsylvania that are visiting the area.  One thing led to another and Suzanne loaded Jackson and LaRoy for them to walk with tomorrow.  They'll have something to talk about when they get back to PA.

The view from the pens in Catalina State Park

Good thing Suzanne took the corral panels to make a corral, even though there are pens in the park to use for equine.  She said she got there, unloaded the donkeys into the pen, and really quickly found out the pipe was about 3 feet off the ground.  A adequate corral for a horse perhaps, not for mini donkeys or in Siggy's case a micro mini.  She said she turned around and Siggy was beside her outside the pen, while she was taking care of that crisis, Jackson came out the other side to join them. 

So  she had to unload the corral panels after all to "beef" up the existing pen, so the little guys couldn't get out. 

Damage control 

Probably just as well, Koshare has learned to raise corral panels up and push them around and the end result is once the noise of banging corral panels is over, they can get out.  Suzanne said the pens are very well made and she thinks he's met his match.  Hopefully that's true, once donkeys learn to do something you don't want them to do, they get very good at it.....!!! LOL

Bella got to go on her second outing.  We've never taken her anywhere because of her weak hindquarters.  Since she's been here roaming the acreage, her legs have gotten stronger. She went to Empire Ranch a couple of weeks ago just to be there for "Show & Tell", consisting of petting and an occasional animal cracker from the adoring public.  She did great, so she got to go today as a short trail walker.  Suzanne said she was ready to go, hopped into the trailer like "let's go, where we going".  

Yesterday Suzanne and I spent the day at a specialty clinic with Charley the blind dog that showed up here a few months ago.  He got to see a doggie ophthalmologist to see if his cataracts could be removed, so he could see.  They did all sorts of test, took all afternoon.  The doctor told us that Australian Cattle Dogs are known to have retina failure, that's what the tests were for.  

We saw the graph of his retina test and it was not good.  She showed us a graft of a normal retina and then showed us his.  He has no working retina in either eye, so he is permanently blind, which is very disappointing.  He's such a well mannered happy dog it's a shame nothing can be done to help him.  But dogs do very well blind.  He's got a 30 by 70 pen foot, a doggie door into the feed room and he knows his area really well.  The people at the clinic thought he was really a nice dog, they said he just slept until they needed him for a test and he was happy to oblige and then went back to sleep.

We can't let him out on the property, he also doesn't hear very well, and the donkeys see dogs as a predator and will try to kill him.  Big Gus got in his pen awhile back and if Suzanne hadn't seen what was going on, probably would have killed him.  They actually share a fence and Big Gus spends quite a bit of time when he's in the pen, trying to dig into Charley's pen.  We put a railroad tie against the bottom of the fence, so now Gus is digging beside the tie.  I guess he's determined to get that dog........!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2021


 The last few mornings have had ice on the bird baths, which sit on the ground.  This morning said it was 31*, so it's just barely cold enough for a little bit of ice and of course in true desert weather it's gone by the time the sun comes up.  Guess we should start chores a little later if we don't want to see ice........!!!  LOL

The week-end at Empire Ranch was really nice.  We met lots of people that were interested in the donkeys, a lot of them had stories to share about donkeys in their lives.  

Suzanne set up the tables and took care of the donkeys all week-end.  John and I came in after chores and help with the booth sales and answering questions.  

Our booth at Empire

Suzanne did take a break to hob knob with HORSES........!!! 

This is Othello, nice looking horse.  Suzanne went for about an hour trail ride along with a bunch of other people.  Not sure the donkeys would approve, don't think they even noticed.  

LaRoy likes to play with ropes.  He has figured out if he picks up a rope and shakes it, people are entertained and might give him a treat.  

He tried but couldn't find any of the donkeys that wanted to play unfortunately.  I don't think any of the other donkeys have ever played with him, poor little guy.  His buddy Jackson has no interest in a rope.  so he picks it up, walks around for a little while and then drops it.  

This month so far has been busy with tours.  Seems like almost every day we've got at least one.  John and I will be headed to Indiana next week-end for Thanksgiving.  We always enjoy road trips, although this will be the 1st one since John broke his femur in August.  We're taking the little car, already put more than $100 at one time in the pickup, besides the little car is more fun to drive.  But it isn't the most comfortable ride, it built for speed, comfort wasn't important I guess.  Hope John gets along OK, so far he hasn't had any problems riding or driving.  But we haven't gone 1800 miles either.......!! LOL

Suzanne and I just spent this week-end at a virtual symposium from U.C. Davis in Sacramento, CA.  This is the 8th year they've had it, although it's always been in person before.  Last year Covid cancelled it, so this year they tried virtual.  They really did a wonderful job, had lots of experts on different aspects of donkeys, donkey diseases, and care.  Mark Myers founder of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, was very involved and showed the video below.  It's really informative about the plight of donkeys in Australia, where the government has killed 500,000 to 600,000 donkeys in their eradication plans to kill all the feral donkeys in NW Australia.


The BLM in the U.S. so far is doing a lot of rounding up of mustangs and burros, last I heard they had something like 40,000 in holding pens and that's been a few years ago.  There are organizations that go out when they are rounding up and keep track of how many are rounded up and how many deaths and basically are trying to represent the people and their public land and the mustangs and burros.    

Friday, November 05, 2021


 I'm going to quit making excuses for not updating the blog, doesn't seem to make a difference.....!!! LOL

Anyway Suzanne has been doing really good at taking videos, so I thought I'd share a couple of them.  Charley is the heeler dog that showed up here a few weeks ago.  He's blind and pretty much deaf too.  I would hate to think someone would dump an older dog in his condition, but nothing people do surprises me anymore.

He has taken his life style change in stride, and seems to be a happy guy, especially at feeding time, surprisingly he was overweight when he came in.  We put him on a diet and he's lost a little weight, but needs to lose some more.  

Awhile back Big Gus got in the dog pen someway and had poor Charley cornered and was trying to do a donkey stomp on him.  Suzanne managed to break it up and get Gus out of there with just a bloody toe.  Didn't even seem to faze him.

Charley has an appointment with a doggy eye specialist.  We think he has cataracts on both eyes, if that is the case we will have them removed and lens implanted.  Dogs do very well blind, BUT, his life would be much more interesting for him if he could see. 

Today Suzanne left with a load of donkeys headed for a week-end of hanging out with equine people and letting people get to know donkeys and how special they are.  John and I will go to Empire Ranch after chores in the morning and go out for the day.  We'll go out Sunday also.  Anyone in SE Arizona that would like to do something fun over the week-end there is going to a lot going on on the Empire Ranch that's between Benson and Tucson on highway 83.

 When Suzanne picks up poo many times she gets side tracked for a little while.  We always say chores are not a timed event because we never know what will happen.  Bella obviously found something she liked, tools don't always have to be used in just one way.....!!!  LOL

Bella was one of the donkeys that left for Empire Ranch this afternoon which is a first.  When Bella came to the rescue a few years ago her rear legs were really weak, and she had a hard time getting up when she laid down on the ground.  She had been in a small pen with no exercise, but after being here awhile running around her legs have gotten stronger.  We hadn't taken her for outings like parades or displays a couple of times when we tried to take her out she went down in the trailer.  Suzanne called when she got to the ranch and said Bella is doing just fine, no problems.  She's a cute little thing and loves attention, so if she is up to being trailered, we'll take her out more often.