For those of you new to the blog, Norma Jean is my donkey. She is 27 now. I’ve had her 25 years. For all of those years, she lived with my two ponies, Slick and Dodger – both who have now passed. Slick left us in 2016. Dodger, just this April.
When Slick passed away, Norma Jean was so broken-hearted, it was palpable.
As a human, not knowing the depth of a donkey heart, I figured she would rally with the friendship of her other best friend, Dodger. However, as time marched on, I realized that Slick was the ‘middle’. He was the glue that kept the trio together. Dodger loved Slick and Norma loved Slick. Now that the glue was gone, we were left with two bereft equines… making due with each others’ second best.
But, lo and behold, after a long while, Dodger and Norma picked up the pieces – together. They had each other… and although that wasn’t perfect, it ended up being enough.
As Dodger slowly lost his hearing and most of his sight, Norma Jean was there. Her pony duty gave her a purpose – and Dodger appreciated his donkey eyes and ears.
And then Dodger passed – suddenly.
Norma was there. She saw the whole ordeal and I think she was in as much shock as i was over the traumatic events of that day. A transformational time for all involved.
NORMA HAS NOT BEEN THE SAME.
Norma has not been the same since. I had convinced myself that she was sick or maybe dying herself… but she checked out healthy (for an older jenny). The physical donkey was fine… but Norma was gone. She was… blank. The light had gone out of her eyes and she grew very grey overnight. Norma, as I knew her, had left the building.
I even tried putting her with the new horse, Dalton – which was fine. Norma went through the daily motions, but she wasn’t herself.
Until recently… I’ve noticed some subtle changes… she has been slightly perkier, showing signs of the old Norma Jean. I’ve noticed that she will venture out into the 6 acres… she has even asked to be let into the pastures with the other horses. And the best of all, she is braying again. She is demanding attention. She is acknowledging that she is still here.
Norma is starting to come back…
Yes, she is an old donkey. But, she is my friend and I want to encourage her and give her the best life possible.
I loved my Grass Valley ranch for many reasons, but the foremost was that it was perfect for equines.
Here, our place is not perfect for equines. And, knowing that it isn’t great for equines, I don’t really want to bring any more equines here. And that’s my dilemma.
However… Norma Jean has come a very long way. I love her and I loved her ponies. Now that Norma is back with the living, should I take an opportunity to bring her a friend or two?
I think it is time.
After a bunch of consideration and waiting for 6 weeks for these two Bucket Funders to find homes…
I’ve decided to bring to Norma Jean a one-eyed pony gelding and a lonely jenny, who need homes – any home. Perhaps this pony and this jenny will heal her heart, or help her soul, or patch the wounds of her losses.
My hunch is… that these two little equines were waiting for one big-hearted donkey. Maybe instead of two ponies and one donkey, now there can be two donkeys and one pony. Mix it up a bit and see where the pieces land.
Horsegods know, they all need whatever love there is to share.
Sigh. I’m sorry you are going through it, too…
Good for you, Dawn! Thank you for taking in these 2 vulnerable souls in need of friendship and a loving home. The newcomers will give Norma Jean purpose – to watch over 2 little ones who need someone like NJ with her knowledge and competence. Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy New Year!
I hope the pony and donkey work out well for you. I would love to have a donkey but I don’t have the room here and I really can’t afford another pet. I moved here from Iowa and it costs at least twice as much to keep horses here. I have had to pay up to $22.00 for a bale of hay (2 strings, about 70 lbs.). I had their teeth floated in November by a vet who exclusively practices equine dentistry at a cost of $275.00 per horse. I had an excellent horse dentist in Iowa who charged $125.00 per horse.
But I’m glad that you are able to take in these two rescue equids.
I know exactly what you mean by not having a place that is really suitable for horses. I leased a stable for nearly 20 years that was great, but the property was sold and I kept the horses in two different places in three years, neither of which was really right. 3 1/2 years ago I moved to Colorado and I love it here, but I have no stalls (just a converted garage-in-a-box for a run-in shed) and there is no place that is flat enough for even a 20 meter circle, let alone an arena. I can ride in the hilly 3 acre pasture or on the road. My horse and pony are former show horses, accustomed to consistent schooling and not safe to ride on the road once or twice a week. In the past two years I’ve had broken ribs and a fractured pelvis due to falls. I’m thinking that I may need to stop riding although both horses are healthy and completely sound. It’s very depressing.
Each time you’ve written about your current place not being ideal for horses, my mind says, but it looks very donkey and pony friendly.
I’m so happy that a potential solution to Norma Jean’s sorrow is also a wonderful opportunity for a jenny and the pony. Gotta love a pirate’s name for a one-eyed pony!
Congrats to all!
I just read your uplifting yet dilemma you are having. SO happy to hear Norma Jean is back & I think these two littles you are bringing home will be perfect for her.
I think I was holding my breath about them – in hopes they go together to a wonderful home like the other 3. Yeah!!
Will watch for their ‘home coming’…
Wonderful! Is the THE one-eyed pony? He’s beautiful!
Congrats to you all!