Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Not a Donkey (mis)Adventure

As he was last year, Sparky was the grand finale of the annual Paradigm Farms spring body clipping marathon. Last spring was the first time I body clipped Sparky. It is amazing what a difference a year makes. This time last year I was having tearful conversations with Jason about Sparky. Prior to last spring I had basically removed Sparky's winter hair by yanking it out one hair at a time since he had ceased shedding. Last year he wasn't having the one hair at a time removal and I couldn't blame him. The problem he was hot and miserable and had completely ceased enjoying life. Jason and I even had the euthanasia/quality of life discussion.

I was so distraught during that conversation that Jason suggested body clipping Sparky. Before Jason could stop it the idea had taken on a life of its own. I had briefly thought about it prior to that conversation, but I knew it would end up being another donkey rodeo. Once it became a life or death issue I became determined to find a way. I first tried to see if Sparky would be open to the idea. He wouldn't even let me touch him with the clippers when they were turned off. He just did his classic "exit stage left" move and left the building. I decided my only choice was to have the vet out to heavily sedate Sparky. Sparky had enough dormosedan and xylazine in him to put a draft horse on the ground before he would let me near him with the clippers. I got the job done but it was one ugly clipping job. Even that sedated Sparky would not let me touch his back legs and I barely got his front legs and stomach done. But it was enough that Sparky felt significantly better and became a happy donkey again.

Fast forward a year to today. The vet was going to be here today for some routine things, and I had Sparky on the list for heavy sedation so I could clip him again. We had Sparky caught and ready so he could be the first patient for the vet. When I got a text from the vet that he was running 45 minutes behind schedule I decided I would use the extra time to see if Sparky would let me do any clipping on him at all while he was not sedated.

When the vet pulled in 45 minutes later he drove up to a fully body clipped donkey. Sparky clearly remembered last year, as I expected he would, and stood like a statue and let me clip every part of him. I clipped his legs and stomach with no issues. I clipped his body, I clipped his face. I clipped everywhere. The only time Sparky moved was when I was almost completely finished and was just cleaning up his face. Sparky knew it was time to be done and he exited stage left. We let him go, he stopped, and then he let me finish up the last minute of work on his head and face and Sparky was done. I couldn't believe it.

I knew Sparky would be a lot better this year because he remembers everything, good and bad, and the effect it had on him. I didn't think he would remember it so well and realize just how much better it made him feel that a year later he would stand like a statue with no sedation and let me clip him.

I always refer to Sparky as the rockstar, and he earned that title today.

leading Sparky to the barn with Bonnie and Sabrina marching along with us

the peanut gallery began assembling . . . 

. . . and everyone had to jockey for position

Sparky in progress

letting me clip his face

Sparky's hair was so thick I couldn't even see my clippers underneath it much of the time

a fully clipped Sparky; I think he was thankful that someone finally turned on the air conditioning for him 

he let me clip his entire face, even around his eyes

one clipped donkey bum 

Sparky celebrated by immediately taking a dust bath which is one of his favorite things in life

Taco and Sam

Walden and Fabrizzio (and Havana)

Toledo and Rocky

Norman and Cuffie

Happy and Nemo

B-Rad and Blu

Moe and Thomas

Homer, Apollo, Chance and Convey

visitor on the driveway


Baby andTrigger

Silver, Cocomo and Asterik

Faune and Flyer

Grand and Rip

Rubrico and Walon



lytha said...

Wow, that's not how I thought the story would go, despite the spoiler in the title. In fact I read the first paragraph and started telling my husband about it and predicted what would happen (and told him how much you act like I do about our animals).

Things my donkey hates: horse trailers, my house (big horse trailer), water, sheep entering our pasture, and hoof trims are not her favorite. (Lucky for me she loves tube worming!)

The thing is we manage to bathe and trim her hooves easily because her defense mechanism is to stand still. Which works for her when she doesn't want to go into the trailer, or cross a stream, but works for me when I want her hooves. Getting her to do things (move) is hard. Getting her to not do things (don't move) is simple. And she's not as clever as Sparky, I don't think, because I can trick her into going into a stall and lock her in with a few handfuls of pellets. (Sparky doesn't fall for that, does he?)

I thought Sparky would be like Bellis and stand there glaring (or leaning on you or threatening to fall down) while clipping. But I guess he is much more active in his protests. But he's smart!

Hey, you have my clippers!

On a family walk this week the donkey jumped over the creek for my man, and the horse, following them, stopped to drink. Then a group of bikers appeared in front of us and Mag hesitated at the water, looking at the bikers. The first biker said, "Oh, the horse is the stubborn one, not the donkey?" A creek she can jump over is fine, anything else, no chance. Next time you put him in a horse trailer, please get video.

emma said...

Aw <3 Sparky! This made me ridiculously happy to read haha

SmartAlex said...

The long-eared critters definitely have excellent memories. Even better when they use their powers for good ;)

foffmom said...

This is an amazing story. I am so glad you decided to start clipping before the vet got there. Otherwise we would have never known that Sparky was so brilliant!