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November 2007

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Hi,
This newsletter is late!!  The 1st of December was like a rollercoaster ride, so apologies, but I will tell you that story next time!

Fireworks
The CAS (Combined Animal Societies) led by NMMM Councillor Lovemore and AACL Linda Louise Swain and the AWS's Jean Munro, was brought together to try and control the use and abuse of Fireworks mainly in November but also at other times of the year.  The Municipal Bye Laws are in the process of being 'upgraded' by Prof van As at the NMMU.  But because of a combined concerted effort on behalf of a number of people, the report backs that were received after the 5th November were very positive and encouraging to the new body and especially to the animals!   Well done to all who did whatever they could, including the Walmer Police Station personnel.  If you have not received nor filled out the Ban Fireworks Petition form, please email me and I will send you a copy for printing, signing and handing in.

Address Book
Since I began sending out this newsletter in January 07, my address book has grown - it holds the names of Interested and Affected parties and those who have made contributions in cash or kind to the Unit.  However, I was amazed to see that the List had 73 recipients!  Each and every one an Interested and Affected Party.  Thank you for your ongoing support.

ARMISTICE DAY - Forgotten Heroes
Lest we forget - During this month all around the world Armistice Day was celebrated at 11am on the 11th day of the 11 month. And although it is all about the many men who died in World War 1, it must also be noted that of the million horses, mules and donkeys that were sent to France, only 62,000 returned 'home'.  By World War 2, they had become largely redundant, thank goodness!   Bill Wright of AWS sent me a document that he retrieved off the Web about the whole subject - and it makes for very emotional reading!

Empowerment opportunities
A Carter was contracted by the Sardinia Conservancy to remove black refuse bags from Sardinia Bay Road.   The refuse collection is a private initiative by the landowners in Lovemore Park where there is no municipal refuse collection but where large amounts of refuse are jettisoned from passing vehicles.  Two local women are tasked with picking up all this refuse  and copious amounts of rubbish are found, including in one or two cases, dead dogs from people who do not want to pay for their animals to be cremated by AWS!!   Anyway, Pat collected all the bags and took them to the Tip and earned himself some money and will be doing it again in future.
 
And then there was a birthday party!  The Finestone children all have their birthdays in November and so they have one big party where Patrick was asked to convey the children to the party. The donkeys behaved in exemplary fashion and did the job with ease, completely disregarding the feathers, drumming, singing and large crowds.  What stars they were!
 
There was also participation by two Carters in the Life Amazing Race.  Participants in the race had to ask for a lift from some Carters who just happened to be in the right place at the right time so that they could get from Walmer Woods to the Sasol Garage on Buffelsfontein.  In fact, one of the lady participants fancied herself as a driver much to the bemusement of the regular driver and took the reins.  The Carters were paid for the work and the donkeys were 'paid' with the carrots and hugs and pats so thoughtfully provided by the organiser.  Pics available on request!

African Horse Sickness
I was contacted by the African Horse Sickness Trust to do a blanket vaccination of equines on their behalf in the Metro.  So the last Friday in November was a looong day.   It was an extremely positive day in that a large amount of vaccinations were done to donkeys in the Northern areas, plus the normal feed delivery and at the same time as checking the donkeys, many were refitted with new harnessing.   I now have only 1 harness left, and a pressing need to prepare lots more harnessing for stitching before the 15th December when the business closes for the year.
 
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the AHS Trust for sponsoring us with the vaccine to do the job, as they did earlier in the year.

Inspections
On a recheck inspection, I was so excited to see that two thoroughbreds who had been in a bad state a few months ago and that had been reported to me, were looking absolutely fabulous.  The owner is also happy that the situation had been reversed.
 
There was another case of horses being given to uneducated owners who just happened to have space and grass. The horses had consequently 'gone feral' and did not like humans at all.  The landowners did not get angry that I pitched up on their doorstep offering assistance and were anxious to learn.  The one problem was that the horses did not have halters on when they were dropped off and consequently had not been handled since January.   I enlisted the assistance of Robyn, an animal behaviourist and Di to help catch the horses in a non stressful manner to put halters on.  This was followed by an arranged visit by Farrier Rob Kay where the hooves were trimmed and a grooming lesson by Di and a first AHS vaccination administered and a blik of that wonderful stuff, Capstone Life Balancer, to give them a kickstart.
 
I went to check on them three weeks later for their AHS second vacc and they are looking a lot better than they were and the new owners are far more comfortable with the situation and have taken an active interest in their new 'friends' now that they are able to get closer to them.

Shetland Ponies
Brigett Nienhuis 0826592119 has 2 shetlands looking for a home.

Bounty
10 Donkey Bits sourced, paid for, and donated by The Riding Shop.  Thank You!

Recycling
Anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about recycling.  So when Di said she had access to empty 5 litre Ice Cream Bliks, I jumped at it.  Township dwellers do not have the space to store 50kg bags of feed and they also have rat problems, so the bliks are filled with feed and dispensed to the owners. It also means that everybody gets the same amount.   We ask that when we arrive with the next delivery, the empty container is returned for a refill, so I find that the lady of the house presents the empty blik without being asked.  
 
Unfortunately, some of the bliks have lost their lids, but having a friend in the Ice Cream business has meant a donation of lids to make up for the losts.  Thank you!

Warm Fuzzies  
Barry and Lindsay who arrive every Sunday, rain or shine to dispense carrots to all my charges;
The topiary tree I found in the middle Soweto on Sea;
Alfred's glee when he pounced on an discarded swimming pool sieve when we were disposing of the manure at the Tip. You see, he does not like the leaves that fall into the water baths.
The joy on the Carters face when I presented him with 6 bolts to mend his cart. 
The happiness of the owner when his two new donkey geldings were brought back to him. I am sure the lady donkeys will be happy too.
My insistence on Please and Thank You paying off handsomely.
The owners who have phoned recently to say "Come Look at my new baby!"  And Tiny is definitely the tiniest of all.

Disclaimer
We regret to advise that Tracey Vink is no longer associated with the ECHCU.  Therefore any donations, cash or kind, that are intended for the ECHCU can be routed through me on 072 357 2505.

End Zone
In our headlong race to the Festive Season, if someone can arrange for me to have a couple more hours in each day, I will be very happy.  The next newsletter will be at the start of 2008, so I will wish you a Happy Christmas and New Year with your family and friends on behalf of the recipients of your generosity from the donkeys, horses and their owners from across the Metro.
 
M

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