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JB  showing  his  a(ttitude)

JB showing his a(ttitude)

Two weeks old, and what a difference a week makes! 

JB has passed his second-week birthday, and is finally out of the woods. . . at least as far as his health is concerned.  His attitude may be another story.  The young orphaned donkey foal is beginning to show some of the disposition that his ancestors are famous for, and at times we are literally butting heads!  But a learned donkey owner contacted me shortly after JB came to be, with wisdom for handling the “troubled” times to come.  Without her advice I might have thrown in the towel by now, and JB would most certainly rule the world!

One of the antics tried by the adorable but sneaky little donkey is the “come up for love, then look down and bite” game . . . if you fall for this affection-shrouded mischief, your knees will suffer.  Or the “run up to Mom while she’s sitting down and just forget to stop” maneuver; this would only work if  I didn’t know that HE knows how to stop!  (Logic isn’t yet his strong-suit.)  Anyway, you get the picture–my guard must be up at all times for incoming physical insults, but I also have to interpret and accept JB’s real moments of sincerity.  Those are what really keep me going at the end of the day.

I AM JB!
I AM JB!

It was both sad and joyful last week on the Animal Farm. 

Those of you who know me are aware of my penchant for animal rescue; around here, it’s all rescue all the time.  Although JB thinks that he IS the wheel (and I have tried not to burst his little bubble just yet), he is in reality only one spoke on a very big wheel! 

My main rescue passion for the past few years has been for old age and hospice dogs; there is a never-ending supply of them funneled from my vet’s office, where I have become known for my work.  Sometimes I am called in when a beloved family pet needs too much intensive care . . . sometimes when someone just doesn’t want the bother of a senior pet.  They can be here for a month or a year; as long as they have a good quality of life– and want to live — I will love and care for them.  Subsequently, euthanasia has become a big part of my life as well.  When each pet’s time comes to cross the Rainbow Bridge, I am there for their journey.  It is hard to give your love unconditionally to a pet, knowing that it will soon be gone.  Many people will not get a pet because they cannot bear the thought of its death.  But I have this ability, and feel that it is my gift to these animals to give them that special time before they go.

Which brings me to the sad part of last week . . . two of my beloved old greyhounds had to be put to sleep.  Although I had only had them for a few months, they were very special and really bonded to me and to each other.  One of the dear old girls decided that her time was over on the first day of the week; by Thursday, the other one was ready to go also.  I was sad to lose them, but more touched by the devotion that they shared even after a short time.  It seems that the old dogs know about each other.  Very seldom do I have a problem introducing the next “patient”—they seem to understand that this is their last stop, and that they all should be friends.

But as each life ends, another begins . . . and JB was the joyful part of my week!  After caring for senior citizen pets for so long, it has been like a breath of fresh air to have a youngster in the house.  And trying to remember all of the ins-and-outs of baby animal care has gotten harder as the days of no sleep add up.  Although JB is generally a forgiving little donkey–he gently lets me know when his formula isn’t quite warm enough or when it’s time for a nap– he’s more like Simon Legree when I’m not on time with his meals or standing by when he’s ready to play!  So my little “spoke”, at least for now, thinks he’s the whole wheel—a shiny, new white wheel that’s  full of life and excited about the journey to come.

 

 

 

 

Rescue organizations need all types of people . . . the casual followers, who volunteer occasionally.  The urgent-need donors, who send a check when the group is in the media spotlight.  The regular supporters and members, who faithfully fortify the rescue with their time and money.  And the people with a more special, more elusive quality.  Whether a rescue serves humankind or animals, all of these people are necessary.

 

But volunteers and supporters come and go.  It is easy to ruffle feathers when you expose as many ugly truths as Panhandle Equine Rescue does . . . in a small town, “good old boy” atmosphere you can make enemies quickly.  You soon find out who in power and the public that you can count on; more oftentimes than not, the dependable people are a minority.  And the interest in equine rescue waxes and wanes:  affected by other more headline-grabbing crimes, the economy, and the fickle nature of the public.  It is easy to get donations and support with warm-and-cuddly cases like JB’s; in spite of his terrible start in life, he is one of the lucky ones.  Thanks to PER, he will never go hungry, or cold, or unloved.  Unlike so many of our other rescues, who came to us later in their lives . . . starved, hurting, physically and mentally abused.  But they, too, will get our guarantee: Although PER’s resources are totally determined (or limited) by donations, we WILL make sure that all of the equines lucky enough to find us will remain happy and healthy for the rest of their lives.

 

A very gallant lady who has become a dear friend is the catalyst behind the rescue organization of JB, Two-Stripes, the Santa Rosa 13, and many others.  With the help of one other woman, she started Panhandle Equine Rescue in 2005.  She immersed herself in all things equine rescue; attended accreditation classes for cruelty investigators, studied the Florida animal statutes, and boldly introduced herself and her cause to myriad law enforcement, legal, and judicial officials.  Giving a face to equine abuse and neglect led others to join the fight.  But on occasion my friend has been forced to go it alone . . . the extra hands and emotional support needed to do this job became scarce. She has faced total burnout more than once. Yet through all of this– the highs and the lows– she has persevered. 

 

This elusive quality is a heart for rescue.  It requires not only heart, but a sharp mind as well.  And the balls to keep meeting the day-to-day stuff head-on.  Although we have achieved many milestones for equines, PER does not always “win”—some cases are lost, and some horses die. A heart for rescue is the gutsy drive and devotion—the PASSION– to continue on, in spite of the heartbreaks and setbacks. 

 

Diane Lowery has a true heart for rescue.  She has pushed her personal needs and trials to the rear so that PER can be the center of her life.  And the Equines (and all of us who know her) THANK her for it.

Catch  me  if  you  can!

Catch me if you can!

Mother’s Day was rather quiet for the two of us . . . I think JB realized that Mom needed a day of rest.  He DID do some cute things, though   . . . (duh!!)
 
JB has created a racetrack for himself that circles my truck and Jeep . . . it’s close enough to the pasture that my “big” horses can see him, but far enough away for his comfort.  I think he enjoys the attention that he gets from the three “railbirds”; they aren’t sure if he’s a fast sheep or a badly-trimmed poodle!  But around the track he goes– first one way, then the other, switching leads just like the REAL racehorses (but interjecting the occasional buck and kick, and stopping periodically to gnaw on the Jeep!)  I DID get some pictures of him with my trusty disposable camera, and they will be here shortly!
 
He didn’t get the bath he mentioned yesterday, but maybe today . . . that should make for a GREAT photo-op!  
 

FOREWORD

This is/was the first in a series of daily “JB Reports”.  I was sending them out by email to friends, family, Panhandle Equine Rescue’s many contacts, and the media.  Soon after my email reports began, however, a dear friend convinced me to set up a blog instead . . . a very tall order for someone so technologically challenged!  But here it is: raisingthedonkeyjb,  an account of the daily progress and exploits of JB, the orphan foal.  In time, I’m sure that it will become a forum for my thoughts on all things “animals” .  .  . their welfare, their place in society, the love we feel for them, and theirs for US.

The first installment of the JB Report was a mere portent of the posts to come:

This adorable little fellow is in my back hallway with me, on many blankets and a hospital bed . . . I’m feeding him every hour for the first three days.  His mother’s killer(s) have been caught, and have confessed.  He won’t be out of the woods for about seven days–his mother was killed so soon after his birth that he didn’t get to nurse.  That means that he didn’t get her natural, antibody-rich colostrum, although PER’s equine vet DID give him synthetic serum colostrum intravenously.  Please keep him in your prayers.