Ugh. My donkey hates me.
Well, it probably isn’t me she hates, it is the behavior she feels I am exhibiting right now that she dislikes strongly (can you tell that I’ve been through counseling?). To her, I’m acting like a cruel warden and she is not liking it. AT ALL.
As I have mentioned earlier this week, Norma, my sweet, docile, nubile-lipped and curly haired donkey is sick with laminitis. (Here is that link.)
So, she is now residing in a luxury stall, heavily bedded, inside the barn.
Norma no likey. She thinks the Inn stinks and she is letting me know. She is showing me a side of her that I knew existed — how else would she manage thse Hooligan Shetlands in her paddock? — but I had never seen this attitude directed at ME. Sigh. Alas today, she’s showing me her best Donkey Hate.
And let me tell you, she’s good at it…
Donkey Hate, as Norma subscribes to it, is the opposite of Donkey Love. Donkey Love is her normal state. She usually moves close to me, nudging me lovingly with her enormous head… she always asks me to rub her long and gorgeous ears and then she turns her tiny rump to me for scratches. Sometimes she’ll check my pockets for treats but usually she is very respectful and soft.
Donkey Hate is the total opposite.
Donkey Hate, I have now come to find, is Norma not looking at me, purposefully bending her neck away from me, deliberately hugging the opposite wall to where I might be standing, ignoring me, turning her butt to intimidate me and, lastly, refusing to let me touch any hair on her body. A fly couldn’t land as lightly as I’ve tried with Norma and she still does the Limbo when my hand hovers near. I am the enemy. I am the reason she is living in Stall Hell. Therefore, I need to be punished, donkeystyle.
NORMA’S POINT OF VIEW
OK OK, I can see her point of view. Since I brought her home at the sprite age of 2, she has lived happily outside for 15 years. And, being a fine specimen of donkey fortitude, in 15 years she has never been ill (aside from her first bout with laminitis when she was being watched by others). So, Norma has never been in a stall and has never been confined. She has always had it really easy because I never ask anything of her and she never misbehaves. When you compare her to her pasturemates (the Shetlands…), she’s an angel.
To her, this horrible treatment is not OK and is very unbecoming to an owner. Besides, her feet hurt so that makes her a bit cranky anyway…
MY TORTURE METHODS
According to Norma, my torture of her started the first hour I had her in the stall. I was struggling to wrap her feet and she had had enough. She told me to stop and I didn’t. First Ding on the Donkeyometer.
Then, I closed the stall door behind me. The Nerve! Second ding.
I didn’t listen to her brays of, “Hey, you forgot to let me outta here!” Third donkeyding.
Banamine. Yikes. I completely insulted her by putting a syringe of medicine in her mouth. I mean, at least at worming time, EVERYONE has to endure this. But today, just her. And, it was really nasty against her delicate palate. Donkeyding four.
I turned off the radio and left the barn. Uh oh. Double donkeyding.
I came back the next morning and gave her the same hay she didn’t eat from the night before. Ewwwww. Now it was WAR.
Then, to top it off, I proceeded to try to medicate her A-GAIN. I begged her to eat mashes laced with stuff she didn’t want to know about. I rewrapped her feet and continued to irritate her beyond the donkey codes of engagement. I was out of line. That was it. The Donkey Breaking Point had been catapulted beyond burro decency. I needed to be punished. Big Time.
I was not allowed to make eye contact. I was not allowed to enter her stall. If I did, she would not get anywhere near me. I was to only see her rump and I was not, NOT allowed to touch her in any way, shape or form. Those were the rules.
However, in my opinion, her best move was what I am calling the MORE STUBBORN THAN YOU COULD EVER BE donkey punishment of not swallowing – at ANY cost.
I put the Banamine way back into her throat (after a struggle, believe me) and she would not swallow. I massaged her neck (as she strained against my touch), I pushed on her glottis, I tried to distract her, I sang to her, I walked her (with my hand making sure she didn’t open her mouth), I cajoled her… I did everything I could think of. After a half hour, I moved my hand away from her mouth and she spat out a huge wad of donkey saliva and Banamine.
Oooouuh. She was GOOD.
I have no kids so perhaps I don’t really know my way around the Pouting arena. My retaliation tactics now seem juvenile as I recount them for you…
First, I made a very yummy mash and put her favorite grass pellets in there. I offered it to her and she sniffed at it and then turned away. Figures. So, then I scooped some up in my hand and offered it to her. She gave a cursory, barely there lip reach and then stuck out her tongue and walked away. YUK! I TAKE NOTHING FROM YOU, TRAITOR!
So, I made a huge deal out of scooping the lovely mush into four other bowls and offering it to the horses who were just outside her stall, begging for some of what Norma had.
Me: Oooooh, lookey you lucky horses! Norma doesn’t want this yummy, yummy mash… do you? Do you want Norma’s yummy mash? Ohhhh, lookey, Mamma is putting pears on it just for you good horses.
(As all the other horses are slurping, loudly, Norma’s exmash, I entered her stall with another potion.)
Me: How about this? Mmmmmmmmm. All the other horses are eating a lovely dish from Mom. How about you? Eh, Norma?!
Norma: Horses are stoopid. Uh… No.
Me: Awww, C’mon. Please…!! (pleading)
Norma: Talk to the hoof.
(At this point, I’m quite frustrated. Luckily, Gwen, one of my Morgan mares (who is always willing to eat…) stood on her tippy-toes and stuck her head through the stall window. Norma hates Gwen. This was quite an intrusion to her and very upsetting. I seized the opportunity.)
Me: Ahhh, Gwen, would you like some of Norma’s delicious gruel?
GWEN: YEEEESSS! YESSY YESSITY YES!
Me: OK, here you go, good girl. (I awkwardly took some mash and put it into Gwen’s upturned, weird perched mouth as she opens it blindly because she couldn’t see in at this angle.) MMMMM. Good, huh Gwen?! Yummmy.
GWEN: MMMMMMM, YES, KEEP IT COMING! as she bangs her hooves on the barn wall in excitement!
Norma: You both deserve each other… Humph. (walking away and putting her head in a corner).
Yup. That’s my skill set right there…
Well, she needs to eat her medicine and she needs to feel better… and I need for her to know that somewhere, down deep in her donkey brain, I’m trying to help her. But, just in case she is really, indeed, angry with me, I’ve stooped.
(Kinda like when we make deals with God when we think we are in trouble…)
I knew I needed to get the Banamine in her so I did the unthinkable. I cut open a pear (no sugary fruit when an equine is suffering laminitis), created a pear meat flap, put the Banamine under the pear flap and fed it to Norma.
She liked it. Gobbled it up. She even looked at me for an instant, but I saw it! I did a little dance.
I figured Norma and I both gave a little (although she clearly won). I’m sure she tasted the Banamine but she finally got her desires of wanting better treatment from me, and I got the meds into her.
Norma – 250 pts
Mom – 1. But, it was a good one.
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
The November Bucket Fund will benefit The Wild Horses and Burros, via DreamCatcher Sanctuary. We are helping them acquire an additional 20,000 acres to release more captured Mustangs/Burros back into the wild. To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate to this incredible opportunity for our Mustangs, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)
INSTANT KARMA DO GOODING!
HELP WITH PAYBACK!! Donation Gift Certificates are here! Yup, if you donate to help Tullie (the burned horse), Gump (the ugly horse), Dixie (the starved and sick horse) or the Wild Mustangs/Burros (the gathered horses), you can now get “A Donation has been made in Your Honor” certificates to give as gifts! You can give them to coworkers, family, friends or even in lost pets’ names… for this Holiday Season. Yay! INSTANT KARMA!