Thursday, January 15, 2009

I've Mentioned This Before

but truly sometimes I amaze even myself. You've seen many pictures of Sparky the donkey scattered throughout my blog. Sparky is an awesome donkey and is a lot of fun to have on the farm. The horses all love him and one of the highest honors on the farm is to be Sparky's best friend. In reality Sparky's best friend is Poco the shetland pony but all of the "big" horses are just fascinated with Sparky and like to stake their claims on him.

I randomly picked up a magazine about mules and donkeys a couple of weeks ago at TSC. I was enjoying reading about donkey behavior and reading about the inner workings of Sparky's mind. Then I was reading the article on health management expecting to confirm that I did everything right for Sparky. He is trimmed by the farrier every six weeks, is de-wormed on the same schedule as the horses, has his annual vaccinations, has his teeth floated annually, etc. I guess I was getting ready to break my arm patting myself on the back for my excellent care!

Well, instead I learned that I am a horrible mom to Sparky and have been torturing him for ten years! I learned that donkeys don't have an undercoat like horses do to protect them from precipitation or wind. I've never blanketed Sparky and yes they have shelter but no they don't stand in there every time it is windy or raining. So I guess I should have been blanketing him just as I do the horses and never have. The last time one of my equine vets was out (two weeks ago) I questioned him about this whole donkey/no undercoat/does he need a blanket thing. He told me that many of his clients that have donkeys blanket them.

So I inform my parents (who actually own Sparky) that we have all been remiss in our care of Sparky and he needs a rainsheet and a blanket. NOW! They are happy to go along with this and tell me to order them. Well I got busy and forgot and now we are having a bad cold snap, as in cold that we don't normally see in middle Tennessee. It is supposed to go down to six degrees tonight. Now I lived in Vermont for a couple of winters and my horses lived out 24/7 in temperatures MUCH colder than that but we're not used to this in middle Tennessee. And I left Vermont and came screaming back to middle Tennessee because I hated the winters. I loved Vermont and it was so beautiful but I just can't stand cold weather and they had seriously cold weather in Vermont.

So last night I'm freaking out because I forgot to order blankets for Sparky and have decided he will die from being cold. Oddly Jason was totally going along with all of this and humoring me, as he suggested last night that we run over to TSC and see if we could purchase a blanket for Sparky. (I realize he probably just wanted me to shut up, I'm not that stupid!) We purchased a 75" blanket for Spark-man which I knew would be way too big for him but I thought I could have it as a spare for some of the other horses and order him the appropriate size blanket for future use.

Sparky was extremely cooperative when we put his blanket on him today. Like, he just stood there. I thought he would have a problem when we tossed the blanket over him but he stood like a statue while we buckled him in and did up the surcingles. Jason swore he was smiling when we were done. Sparky really did seem quite pleased with the latest turn of events. So now I can rest easy tonight knowing that Sparky is wearing a blanket and I am back in the running for world's best donkey caretaker. I don't know how I manage to get myself into these situations like trying to find a blanket for a donkey at the last minute after he's survived without one for TEN YEARS!!

Jason and Sparky after we finished putting his blanket on. We thought it would take two of us to complete this task. We didn't even need to bother having a halter on him much less have two of us on hand.

Poco offering to help Sparky remove his blanket


Anonymous said...

Sparky is TOO CUTE! Especially in that big blanket!

Sport's Mom said...

Melissa, Sweetheart, I love you but you worry WAY too much! Cute blanket though. I need to get one for Gracie.


ezra_pandora said...

Let's see how long it lasts :)) I've seriously been considering getting blankets for our girls. They've never had them, and they are inside the barn, but it's never been this cold either. -12 this am when I woke up! Still only -4. Poco's probably wondering where his cozy is :))

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Me, worry too much? Hahahah! I don't worry about anything at all. Jason would totally agree with that, yes he would. NOT.

E_P, I gave up on Poco and blankets years ago. My parents provided him with a complete wardrobe and he would remove them, shred them, or both. Maybe it is time to try again with Poco, that would give me something else to drive myself crazy over.

Sparky does still have his blankie on. I really think he likes it, as does Jason. I am shocked. I thought it would be a rodeo to put it on. Sparky is very gentle and cooperative but if he doesn't want to participate in something it is pretty much not going to happen. He seems to be in love with the blanket. It makes me feel guilty!

Mustang Heritage said...

Sparky looks good with his blanket!
I own 3 donks, 2 BLM and 1 mammaoth.
how tall is he? is he a standard or ?
when it gets to single digits or minus i been told that blabketing should be done. I live in N. ca and we sometimes get in late teen but i have notice my wild boys coat will fluff out/stand up. But then again my 2 boys came from s. ca and nv areas.
I love donkeys they are such great creatures!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Hi Mustang Heritage, Sparky is a standard donkey. He has never really had any problems with cold weather in the ten years we've had him, but then again single digit temperates are not normal here. He probably would have been fine, but for my own mental health and ability to sleep well Sparky got a blanket for a couple of nights!

Sport's Mom said...

Gracie's a mini Sicilian btw.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

If Gracie ever needs to be retired I know of a great retirement farm in Tennessee. I've always wanted a mini donk, or a mini mule. The cuteness factor is almost painful. We had a mini horse retired with us for quite awhile and he was so much fun.

AliFromNY said...

I have met Sparky in person, and absolutely fell in love with him. He actually gave me a kiss on the chin. He is incredibly outgoing, happy and friendly and is certainly living the life, as are all of the other residents at Paradigm (even the migrant chickens and goats). Melissa, don't beat yourself up, you're awesome.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Sparky is awesome isn't he? O'Reilly thinks Sparky is just the coolest thing ever - it is cute!