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October 2010

Well, what can I say?  It has been a month of furious activity. This is the only way of telling you what we have been up to.

20 odd horses vaccinated for African Horse Sickness and dewormed in Humansdorp.  It is always a very hectic visit but with many willing and able hands to corral the horses and hold them while the injecting is taking place. It is also exhausting for everyone! But the horses look great. 

Talking of looking great, Karien found a Jack Russel doggie a few months ago that had been smothered in car oil to stop his itchy skin.   After the ‘lecture’ where the owner was told to wash the dog with Sunlight soap to get all the car oil off (not really recommended by vets – but it does the job), the owner was given, and instructed, to dip the animal.   On our last two visits, we have been met by a sparkling white Jackie with no sign of inflamed or itchy skin and actually, a very happy little chappy.     We also came across a poor little Maltese, tied on a foot long rope to his kennel, totally unable to move.  On questioning the owner, an old, old lady, we found out that her husband had died and she was unable to feed herself let alone the dog, and so with many tears, she surrendered the dog to Karien and he was brought back to Animal Welfare where he has received a thorough grooming and is awaiting adoption – a very cute little fellow.   A donkey owner who had presented his stabbed donkey that by now was abscessing on the previous visit, and who had carried out instructions to sort out the problem, had healed beautifully.

By the end of this day of being soaked with rain, the packet of hot chips that we had for lunch around about 3pm went down extremely well.   We then came home to collect a lame donkey left at the scrap metal dealer – it was just bruising, and he was returned sound to his owner a few days later.

We were requested to collect a township donkey that had not made our maternity ward in time and had produced a foal – both brought in and the foal has been named Nestle!  Just like a chocolate bar!

Then the fun started:   Reports were being received by phone and on the radio about a horse on the R75, between Uitenhage and Despatch, also on Commercial Road, Algoa Park and all places in between!  The Municipal Cowboys and Dog Control were being hammered as were we about this animal causing problems on the Highway.   I took the entire staff and although we found the animal, in the dense Valley Bushveld on the hills around Uitenhage, he was impossible to catch, being very shy of humans.  I realized quite soon that this was going to take a concerted combined effort on everyone’s part and so put a Plan of Action together incorporating the SAPS Mounted Unit, the NMMM Animal Control and Cowboys - about 20 of us all told.  Suffice it to say, after much cross-country traveling in vehicles of all sorts plus a hang of a lot of legwork, we found the horse – but he was not interested in my PoA!   In desperation, our friends at the Kragga Kamma Game Park put us onto the Uitenhage Vets who had access to a dart gun, and they also had a Vet handy to come and do a darting with assistance from W/O Goosen.   As we all know, when horses are darted, they generally head uphill which is exactly what this sweetie did!   Only to disappear into the Valley Bushveld to collapse.   After the antidote was given he recovered quite quickly, was haltered and loaded like a lamb into the horsebox.    I really and truly felt that because of the ridiculosity (my word) of the morning’s exertion, a Coke was called for to keep everyone sweet.  I want to thank W/O Barnard and his merry men from the Mounted Unit for their unequivocal assistance and to the Cowboys and Animal Control Metro Men likewise.  It was a pleasure to work with you all – THANK YOU.

On Animal Sunday at Animal Welfare, we, Liezl, Karien and I,  took along our Braveheart, Mangaliso the miracle donkey and Duke, all of us receiving our blessing and request for protection in our work.

It is always nice to know that on our return to the Unit that we will have a nice place to sit while we gather our scattered minds.  Jenny Danoher 4 1/2 years ago made the Basil Bartlett Memorial Garden and now that the sunflower seeds from the feed has germinated, we are faced with sunflowers and lavender and Clivias all in bloom.  I wonder if Basil knew when he built the Stables with Mr Danoher that they would be put to such good use?

Then we had the 7 horses on Old Cape Road.  Trying to get in to play a round of golf, I wonder?   Found and sent home.

The normal wandering donkeys have been escorted home with assistance from other carters and pedestrians, and also by Francois and his mate (another attack victim) who stopped to assist and guard me.  Thank you Brindley and Francois!

The donkey mare and her yearling mule, having recovered from the dog bite wounds, were returned home now that the gate and fence had been fixed.

Followed by more vaccinations!

…and 2 horses surrendered to the Unit for rehoming.  We were starting to ‘fill up’!

We have begun receiving donations of bales of fodder used in Company events, and so we collected 20 bales of oathay.   This all helps to stretch our money and the horses and donkeys really do enjoy it.   In addition, a regular contributor of leavings phoned in just in time for the flooding at the Unit – Thank You Christine.   The Riding Shop also helped out with a donation of dried grass bales – Thank you too!  And to the gentleman who, having euthanased two of his aged horses, delivered the remains of his Lucerne, Thank you.  And, to Etienne, donkey lover, who visited the Unit and who disappeared abruptly only to return with 3 game vitamin blocks (no Urea) for the donkeys – thank you for your thoughtfulness.

Then we were down the coast to assist with horses used for trail riding and found that the owner was so happy to have our assistance that on coming to PE to buy some tack from our shop, insisted on taking a Collection Tin to fill.

A significant donation of ‘birthday’ gifts of cash was received from two people who would like to remain anonymous – we did say our Thank You’s.   As we do to those people who we do not know who deposit money directly into our account without us even asking for it.

A donkey mare who rejected her newborn foal and that the Unit had assisted, has made everyone happy by producing another foal without any complications.  Well done, Sandy.

And then, down came the much needed rain!  When we got to work it was to find the boys all standing on isolated islands in the camps.  The AWS Chairman, Kathryn, sent out a Facebook message and what a response from the PE public.  The premises were inundated with people coming to assist including companies sending their generators and pumps to get rid of the water.

We salute Walmer Police Station, Talisman Plant Hire, Coastal Plant Hire, Sanitech, Lambsons, NMMM Fire Department (Mount Pleasant Station), SAB Security, ADT, and the many citizens who came, saw and conquered the flooded camps and kennels, taking wet blankets out, bringing dry blankets and towels in, food, and fostering animals.   It was quite a day and totally overwhelming – more than once Sharon and I had a tear in our eye at the magnanimity of people giving with no thought of recompense.  And as we had no electricity and precious little clean water, not many had coffee either!   As the day went past in a blur, we are sure we have not registered some of the folk who helped out, but we thank them none the less.

And in the middle of this day, a stray Shetland pony on the Kragga Kamma Road who had, after 5 days running up and down, gained access to a horse owner’s farm and said  horses were very put out by their new ‘friend’.   This too was attended to.

Thanks to a good building  job by B & E, the stables remained dry and so our valuable food stocks were safe as were the ’two boys’.

And then, Liezl came down with Tick Bite Fever! But she carried on regardless of headaches, aches and pains.  Well done Liezl!  She has also graduated to ‘outrides’ although she has picked up a fall or two.

A donkey mare from Uitenhage was collected with a suspected colic, but it turned out to be a pre term Dystocia and although the Vet did all she could, it clearly was just too much for the Jenny, who died.  

Our visit to Grahamstown mid month was relatively sane until a man arrived to summon help for his donkey mare.   Being unable to find a horsebox or trailer to move the animal, she was hogtied and put on the back of the bakkie and taken to the SPCA where Jane took her in and with minimal treatment from us both, she has recovered from a bad wound to the pastern.  Jane says I can take her back to her owner on our next visit.   It is great to know that I can depend on people like Jane – Thank you.

The Nightwatchman at Concrete4U over the road from Animal Welfare, hurried across the Schoenies Road early on a Sunday to say that he had found a hurt wild animal that he said needed help and that he could not bring himself to slaughter.   She had obviously been hit by a vehicle crossing the road having been hunted by a pack of dogs. The adult Grysbok female was collected and taken to Kragga Kamma Game Park.   Unfortunately as with many wild animals, stress caught up with her and she died during the night – but at least we tried.

Someone in the township threw a stone at Prince and hurt his eye, but with a little vet advice, happily the damage has healed.

An adopted horse surrendered back to the Unit threw a colic episode.  At least that is what we thought, because it was Cynanchum poisoning again.   Because of the flooded camps, he had found a bush outside the camp and too high for the donkeys, with some of the creeper in it and tried it, leading to the inevitable.   We were going along quite successfully, under Vet’s instructions, when he had a choke episode!

Which just goes to prove that it never rains, it pours!

An Investigation half way to Graaff Reinet took up half a day.

A few months ago I mentioned that a friend of mine had arrived to sculpt a donkey in order to get correct up close measurements for a quagga statue she was making.   Well, I was duly invited to the Exhibition, and was very taken with the sculpture she had produced – and I am sure I can see a little bit of Noddy or Tsotsi in there somewhere.   Well done, Lydia!

SPCA Uitenhage phoned in a call about a donkey problem so off we went with the horsebox.  As usual, you never know what you are going to find, and this one was of nightmare proportions.  We were told by residents that a car had hit the donkey mare in the morning, killing her.  And then someone had come along and cut off the hind legs at the hocks!   Never seen anything like it and hope to never again!    She had also in her death started aborting but as it was so long after the fact, there was no hope for the foal which probably was not viable anyway.  Clearly the mare was dead at the time that the legs were taken off as there was virtually no blood indicating a beating heart.  Liezl and I and two co-opted men from the community assisted with loading the carcass and it was duly delivered to the Kragga Kamma Game Park.   I hope this does not happen too often and wonder just what the thought pattern was.   Even the SAPS were concerned.

‘My’ two township horses, having been seen to for lameness (and finding 3 stones between shoe and hoof) were brought in to spell with us as the owner is in hospital.  But they are such well mannered boys that they present no problem, especially as they now have the run of a new camp that we managed, somehow, to put up as we were seriously ‘overhorsed’.  Thanks to one of our benefactors who had made a donation of poles not so long ago, we were able to put the fence up between camp floodings.  Again, I need to say, without people who see our needs and who fulfill them, we could not function as well as we generally do!  Thank you Bonita and Rina!

This is now only to the 21st day of the month!

The Humansdorp SPCA phoned about a horse with horribly long toes so I took Treloar on a drive way out into the bundu.   I did not think I would ever see such a thing, but a serious problem it was.   Having caught the horse with relative ease, Treloar set to work.  All was going swimmingly until I turned away for a second.  When I turned back again, there stood the Farrier with blood streaming down her face!   The horse had become irritated and had, while standing on three legs, done a cow kick with the hind leg and neatly clipped Treloar on the forehead!   I nearly had a fit!   However, Treloar has a medical box that we had with us, so we applied the bandages and once completely finished with the mares feet, we shot off to the Walmer Medicross where three stitches were applied!   What a day!

Mangaliso, the paralysed donkey was duly returned to his owner in Kwanobuhle, Uitenhage, who was exceedingly thankful for all that the Unit had done to bring his donkey back to him.

I then decamped from PE to have some down time with family, leaving Liezl and Stanley to cope with anything that arose.   And it did.

Our 6 month old beautiful Colin, was knocked down by a car and killed.  A heartbroken Liezl did what she had to do at 2.30 in the morning with assistance from Atlas Security and Humewood Police Station.

Bellbuoy Garden Services, after sorting out AWS lawns, stopped at our Stables and cut our little patch of turf too.   Thank you, Bellbuoy, but where are the Lions and Tigers going to hide now?

Almost at the end of the month, a complaint received about 2 donkeys trying to get in the AWS main gate, had me chuckling.   They just wanted to get in in time for breakfast.

The morning of our regular monthly visit to Humansdorp heralded the arrival of Milo, (Jenny - Tammaletjie, Jack - a traveling man). 

Also on the penultimate day of the month had us running yet again around the Humansdorp townships, doing follow up vaccinations.   Some clot stole the dog travel box from off the back of the bakkie which was a bit of a problem, as we had to bring a dog back to Animal Welfare for treatment. 

When we finally returned to PE, we had to assist an owner getting their missing donkeys back to the township.   Karien and Liezl and I and the owner, by now on our knees, took a sedate walk back to bring the donks in.

Only finding on arrival in the township that there was a further bitch with puppies that we were requested to bring in for treatment.

And then we found that Lilly had been kicked and was in need of treatment.

We have received a generous sponsorship by i4africa.com of our very own website (and this has involved sorting through pictures and setting the ‘pages’ up) and we hope to be launching the website toward the middle of this month. It has been fun sorting through My Pictures and we hope you will enjoy the show.  Now instead of getting an email newsletter to read, you will be able to see the activities in which we engage.  Watch THIS space!

M

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