Friday, December 23, 2016

Donkey Math

From left to right- Raymond, Charlie, ME, Darlin, and Lass. All residents of Foghorn Farm.

Since it is the Holiday Season, and the end of the year, it is a time to start reflecting on the past and hoping for the future. For this article, I want to talk about Donkey Math, because it pertains greatly to this past year for us...and actually, it pertains to the entire time we have had donkeys. 

"Donkey Math"

Chicken aficionados talk about "chicken math"....they ability to simply add more chickens and think nothing of it, talking about having nine when actually owning seventeen. Or twenty when you actually have forty. They are a bit like an addictive habit. Donkeys are very much the same. The adage "donkeys are like chips, you can't have just one" seems very true. 

Charlie: Guess what? Chicken butt!

In our case, our smaller property restricts the number of donkeys we can safely care for on our property, as well as the fact that we also have other jobs, so time is a rare resource. We always want enough funds, time, and energy to care exceedingly well for our residents, whether they are permanent or rescues in training.  Four or five seem to be our limit here, and right now we are down to four, but at the height of the summer we had seven equines, one off property at a boarding facility, and six on our property. We knew that two, potentially three, would be leaving for new homes either after a certain level of training, or after their quarantine period (having come from a questionable situation health wise). In the end, we re-homed all of the equines we took in, and are back down to four, which is manageable for winter. 

It seems, however, that collecting donkeys is quite easy. I mean, how can one refuse a donkey in distress?
A donkey "in distress". Actually, Darlin begging for treats, but so cute nonetheless.

No, I am not referring to hoarding, which is a terrible disease/situation for the animals. But many donkey lovers I know can't resist a donkey needing a soft place to land, if only to foster, although many become "foster failures" and keep these donkeys if they have enough room and resources. Our first rescue was Tilly, an incredibly aged, toothless, blind, deaf, foundered donkey with cancer, and because rescuing and rehabbing her was such a wonderful experience for us, we now take in donkeys when we have room, and rehab them physically, train them, and rehome them. We do this with our personal funds, we are not a nonprofit nor a rescue. However, we love doing it, and feel strongly that donkeys in need should have a chance.

I can't tell you how many people I have talked with who started with one donkey, then researched and realized donkeys truly need another donkey for a companion. Well, once they had two, they realized how fun it was to have more...and there's a donkey at auction that is at risk. Well, now they have three. And so on and so forth. It's very common. If you are a part of the "Donkey Math" club, you are in good company. Well, something similar happened to us, and that led to a full out obsession and then the training business.

Perhaps in looking at the year ahead, we should all take a look at where we were, and where we are now, and where we would like to be next year. For those with one or two donkeys, beware, you may also fall victim to "Donkey Math" like the rest of us. While you are at it, better start looking at a bigger property for next year. Maybe some extra panels to make a makeshift pen if you should suddenly need it. And maybe an extra side job to buy a bit more hay.  Donkeys can be a grand passion, if you truly love them.  

For all of our fellow donkey lovers out there, blessings for the Holidays! For those extra special people who rescue and rehome-my deepest love to you and your animals. May you find wonderful forever homes for your charges, and may you all stay healthy in the New Year!

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