Norma Jean.

I don’t know how to express what a great being she was…

Kind, quiet, strong, honest.

My friend.  For 28 years.  My heart actually aches with missing her.

I didn’t realize until today, how much she actually shared her life with me.  We were good girl friends.

Having her as a free-range donkey was such a gift.  Norma would come to me when she was happy and ask for a treat or just to hang.  She came to me, sometimes running,  when she needed comfort or help.

Her days were full of good times and freedom.

But I think this recent bout with laminitis, broke her spirit.  –She was improving.  In fact, I had just purchased her a new winter blanket.  But… I think the prospect of her freedoms restricted, broke her heart.  She didn’t want to spent most of her time in a dry paddock.

I can only surmise that this week, the vet and I had been chatting in front of Norma.  We talked about having her wear a grazing muzzle during limited time outside the barn.  We talked about keeping her in a dry paddock during Spring and early Summer.   She would have to wear boots…

But Norma didn’t want that kind of life for herself.  She LOVED being able to roam around the ranch and make her own choices.  A life in the barn with boots and a grazing muzzle was not a life for Norma.

I think she was mulling this over and decided that it just wasn’t worth it.

This morning, she came to me, put her head into my chest and told me that this time, she didn’t want fixing.  This time, she was done.

I couldn’t believe it… she was doing so well…

But her mind was made up.  She wouldn’t eat (and I tried everything).  All she wanted to do was lie down in front of her fans.  Even her breathing changed.

–I could have kept her going… but I knew that she didn’t want that.

She trusted me today, to hear her and help her.

Which I did.

And I didn’t want to.  I didn’t want to let her go at all.

But as I sat with her, waiting for the vet, I told her that Slick and Dodger would be on the other side … and I let my best girl – go.  It was just like that.  She was lying down, and she put her head down and left.  Her way.  The freedom way.

The Donk Squad is together again.

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16 comments have been posted...

  1. Anita Blair

    So sad and sorry to hear this to hear this. She had a great life with you. Hugs

  2. Marie Broten

    I am so sorry that your Norma Jean is gone. She gave you a wonderful memories to live with, I know you will cherish them all.
    I too, have a couple of old donkeys that my bro-in-law had. He passed and the donks were passed to me. I love them but know that I too will be asked to let them go to meet their family in donk-heaven. You have my heart, Healing prayers.

  3. Bunny

    Oh, no. Dawn, I’m so sorry. 28 years, a true testament to your care of her and the mutual love in that long and supportive relationship. Very sorry for your loss and may the wonderful and happy memories survive.

  4. Kathy

    Aww, such a sweet girl. I know you’ll miss her terribly, but what gifts you gave her, including the last one of a peaceful end on her terms. I’m so sorry for the pain you feel.

  5. Joanne Maze

    So, so sorry for the loss of Norma Jean. She truly was family!
    Prayers that you will find peace and remember all the love you two shared.

  6. Debbie Mollner

    Oh Dawn, my heart breaks for you but you did the right thing and Norma is at peace now and with her Donk Squad. It will hurt for a while but you have so many years of wonderful memories ????? BIG HUGS

  7. M

    Virtual hugs to you. Thank you for sharing her with us. You gave her a wonderful life.

  8. Calvin48

    You’ve had such a hard year. I’m sorry to hear about Norma Jean; it’s terrible to lose a dear friend.

  9. Judith

    I’m so sorry about Norma Jean. You had a wonderful bond, the two of you. You have had so much loss recently. My heart goes out to you.

  10. Stacia Pinckard

    *sending virtual hugs* This is always the hardest thing with our 4 legged family. Heartfelt condolences are being sent your way from down in Arkansas. I’m glad you had her in your life and glad she had you as her loving family all those years.

  11. Joni

    I am so sorry Dawn, so very sorry. She was quite the gal and always shared her thoughts through her “secretary.” Run free, full of spirit and without pain sweet girl. Love and a heartfelt hug to you.

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