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Tales from the Holler
Ode to Charley the Donkey
Warning: Due to the graphical
content in this newsletter, viewer discretion is advised.
I am a big fat scaredy cat sissy coward. Yep, that’s right,
that’s what I am a big ol’ yellowbellied son of tricky
dicky. At first I thought I wasn’t but recent events conclude
that I am.
This past fall, we acquired a baby donkey named Charlie. He was
a long eared white fluffy donkey with the sweetest disposition any
donkey owner could ever want. Our horse needed a companion and we
had learned that donkeys were good for that sort of thing so we
added to our menagerie. Charlie simply loved to hang out, my son
would walk him around, I would spend as much time as possible grooming
and petting him. If anyone ever said that I would love a donkey
like part of my family, I would ask them kindly to take some thorozine
and call me when they’re sober.
Animals are swell, but I never really LOVED animals. I appreciated
and respected them but it just wasn't really my thing. It’s
the old man’s thing, its my son’s thing and I just put
up with it. Even as a small girl, I did not have pictures of animals
in my room. There were no hang in there posters with the kitty dangling
from the ball of yarn, no flowery pictures of unicorns and rainbows
no, it was plastered with pictures of rock bands. Okay I'll fess
up; it started with a poster of Donny Osmond, which mutated into
the Bay City Rollers & various Star Wars characters, which mutated
to the harder stuff: The Who, Beatles & Stones to The Jam, U2,
The Cramps etc. (You didn’t need to know this, but if I didn’t
completely confess to the world about Donny & the Bay City Rollers
then I would never hear the end of it from some of my girlfriends).
Looking back what it says to me is that from a very young age I
was absolutely boy crazy and could have probably used a wholesome
dose for the love of small fluffy things.
Confessions aside, I learned something about myself during the dead
of winter. Happily working on my computer, all toasty and comfy,
I heard Doc frantically running up the stairs to get to my office,
he was visibly shaken..
”I just pulled Charlie out from the creek, he was just layin’
half up the hill and half in the creek,” said Doc out of breath.
Leaping out of my office chair I ran downstairs with him and we
ran as fast as our snow boots could take us. There he was a large
white ball of fluff lying on his side baying lightly, trying so
hard to keep his head up but it just kept flopping back down like
a rag doll. Doc had moved him onto the frozen pasture. To this day
I don’t know how Doc was able to move 300 pounds alone, let
alone up a steep creek bank. I sat down, next to Charlie who strained
to lift his head then plopped it onto my lap. Mucas was coming out
of his eyes and nose, I was trying not to cry. Doc had gone to the
feed store, talked to the locals who said to give the baby burro
a penicillin shot. Without hesitation, Doc raised the needle and
injected poor old Charlie.
Then it was a waiting game would the penicillin work? However the
bigger question to me was how could a man who’s afraid of
a tetanus shot actually inject a cute fluffy lovable donkey? So
I asked him, all he said was “you do what you gotta do when
you gotta do it and you’ve got no choice.” Don’t
think I could have done it.
So we sat out in the pasture with Charlie, Not knowing what to do,
knowing full well that there are no vets in 75 mile radius that
make house calls. Our neighbor dropped by to help move the donkey
to the barn so he could be warm for the night. The temperature was
dropping quick we were well below 20 degrees already. By the time
we had rigged up some hillbilly apparatus to haul the donkey to
a warmer situation it was too late. My little donkey was gone, laying
there so quiet.
I have issues with dead things. I don’t like them, they’re
creepy cause well they’re dead and its totally gross. But
that day I went up to Charlie after his last gasp of life and held
his head in my hands, crying as I knew he wasn’t going to
come back. It was like Old Yeller or something. So I kissed his
head and said goodbye, lost my footing when I slipped on some ice
his head hit the ground real hard….oops. That day I realized
I was brave enough to hold something or someone dead in my arms
and say goodbye. Doc was a trooper and my son was exceptional. I,
on the other hand, was an emotional wreck, over a donkey.
I’m not going to tell you just how we got rid of Charlie from
the pasture; all I will say is that brave Doc used the tractor and
his truck and hauled Charlie to his final destination. You couldn’t
dig a grave, the ground was frozen. Even Charlie was frozen to the
ground by the time Doc was ready to dispose of him.
That day I thought that I should become a nurse or a vet nurse or
something so I never ever ever have to watch one of my donkeys die.
And I started looking into courses. Then days turned into weeks
which turned into months and well, I let that thought go for awhile.
Winter turned to spring which turned to summer, I was working in
the garden minding my own business when I hear this horrible barking
from our dog. Sometimes our dogs bark at the trees, so I ignored
it when seconds later Louis J. Dog came running up to the back porch
as fast as he could trying to get through the screen door. I yelled
from across the garden “Down, Louie down” He just kept
trying to get through, so Doc walked out back lightly scolding Louie
then in a loud booming voice I hear Doc exclaiming Oh Jesus! Doc
is not a religious man.
Louie’s side had a gaping tear about 7 inches long down to
the muscles. It needed stitches desperately. But the nearest vet
was 75 miles away, and it was Saturday evening, basically it was
Martini night we did not want to chance driving with a martini in
our bellies. Doc cleaned the wound, did a butterfly bandage like
an expert. I was supposed to be the nurse. Between the site of fresh
dog muscle, torn flesh and a wee bit o blood I was rendered useless.
My head was spinning, I had to keep pushing the vomit back down
my throat so the projectile didn't spew into Louies wound, my vision
was growing dark, a big sissy weenie is what I was and still am.
My hopes of going back to school to do nursing or vet stuff dashed
then again, maybe I could go to acting school and play a nurse on
TV...maybe even a doctor, and I could replace Dr. Carter on ER scratch
that no one can replace Dr. Carter....
After a discussion on the phone with our
vet early Sunday morning, we waited until Monday to take Louie in.
Doc received high-accolades from the vet on an emergency job well
done. I don’t think its me who’s supposed to go back
to school for medical training, it’s Doc. Currently, the man
of the hour is looking on-line for a suture kit. If anyone has any
idea where one might be able to "score sutures" let us
Ps: Thanks to all who emailed us with info
on suture kits. See right side bar for useful links on sutures and
We purchased this book after our
dog's episode. It is a MUST have for anyone living far away from
a vet. Even a must have if you don't live far away from a vet.
The following I just cause
you can buy this on Amazon, how weird is that?