I had to put our old donkey, Lady, down last Sat. I say “our” because Lady officially belonged to Andrea. Andrea was my vet tech when Lady first came to my clinic to be treated for laminitis around 1993. Lady was so sick and weak and Andrea nursed her back to health. Lady always loved Andrea more than anyone else so when Lady’s owner called us and said he wanted to give her to me I took her and then gave her to Andrea.
As soon as Lady moved into the pasture Tess, my mule, adopted her as her donkey. Tess had grown up with a paint donkey named Izzy and Tess had missed Izzy after she had died of old age. Lady and Tess became best buddies and it was hard to do anything with either of them without having to other one close. Lady was old even when she first came to us with laminitis and as she aged more Tess kept very close watch over her. If the ground was muddy Tess would stay very close and if Lady slipped and fell Tess stood right over her until she could get up. Occasionally Tess would lose sight of Lady in the woods and this always brought fits of running a braying until her donkey was located.
When I moved to Fischer I was concerned that Lady would not be able to handle the rocky, hilly terrain. Andrea and I briefly considered finding somewhere else to keep her but we both realized Lady would not want to be separate from Tess. Lady and Tess actually thrived in their new environment. I kept them in the part of the property with my house and would let them in the front pasture with the horses during the day if they wanted to go there. In the last month Lady had wanted to go less and less.
Interestingly enough Tess began to want to go in the front pasture without Lady. I firmly believe that Lady was weaning Tess from needing her so much. Lady stayed around the barn more and more and hung out with the goats. Lady did not seem to be in severe pain but did seem tired. Her appetite was great and she loved to push the barn door open and sneak in and eat the leftover goat feed any chance she got.
I kept increasing her supplements to support her and she was getting 1 pack of essentials, 1 ounce of Xango/noni, animotion, 4 stem plex plus arnica, ruta rhus tox as needed. I gave her bute a few times and it seemed to help a first but then less and less. I did not want to cause any stomach trouble to add to Lady’s list of old age aches and pains. Despite the insulin resistance that Lady has had all these years, she never had any return of her laminitis with the low starch and sugar diet.
Last Friday Lady laid down in the soft sand of the stall and could not get up. I am sure she knew it was the end and wanted to be down in a safe place. I gave her everything that had worked before but she did not have the strength to get up. She continued to eat carrots and drink a bit of water while we made arrangements for her burial. Luckily, Andrea was off work and was able to spend several hours with her. Finding a backhoe on a Sat was a challenge but Backhoe Bob(yes, that is the name of the business) came through for us.
I said a prayer for Jesus to help me hit a vein to give Lady the euthanasia solution and he came through big time. Lady was gone before I even finished the injection. Tess had asked to go into the front pasture with the horses and paid no attention to what was happening with Lady until we laid her in the grave. As soon as Robert arrived at the grave with Lady’s body, Tess stopped grazing and stood watching the whole time the grave was closed. She never called out or ran around but simply watched. When I was visiting with Robert after he finished working he commented on Tess. When I told him that Lady had been her donkey he broke into tears. He told me about his pets and how much they meant to him.
One of my biggest concerns had been how Tess would handle losing Lady. Emotional stability is not a strong point for Tess. When we put her mother, Myriah, down Tess ran around the pasture screaming for three days. I do believe Lady explained the process to Tess and waited until she could handle her leaving. Tess seemed a little confused about where she was supposed to eat Sat. night but once I fed her with the horses she got it and and settled right in with them. The horses are treating her like a herd member and everyone is getting along great.
Lady had a tough life with her insulin resistance bur she did not let it keep her from having fun. She loved to get into things and certainly expected to be catered to. I have fond memories of her chasing Tess off her food and braying loudly if I did not get out to feed her on time. We will all miss her physical body but I suspect she is hanging around in her spirit form. I think Lady liked it here. Madalyn
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