A is for Animals
I have lived with dogs, cats, parakeets, finches, chickens (several dozen birds over the years), goats (lived on a goat farm and milked 50 a night at one point), rabbits, fish, a turtle, a rat, and most recently, five burros. I truly value the difference between us as species, and the benefits of making room for other species than humans in my world.
Many blog readers have commented to me "where are the burros?" as they are mentioned in my tag line, even though most of my blogging is about knitting. However, I spend a part of every day with them, at least feeding and loving on them, and admire their stalwart yet careful natures, their affection, the way they love to have their ears rubbed, and their unique braying communication with me.
We got our first burro, Rose, in December 2003, with the intention of getting a second and taking pack trips in the backcountry near our home. We learned about April in February 2004. She had been pulled off the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge a few weeks before, where a herd was removed from an area that was both overcrowded and too near a highway. She went to live with my friends Ginny and Dave, who operate the Hole in The Head Gang Animal Rescue in Artois, California, in order to be tamed enough to have routine medical care before being adopted out.
In the meantime, fellow donkey list members put me in touch with Mac, who had lived with Rita for twenty years, but recently become too ill to care for her and her companion animal, Louise (yes, animals can have companion animals just like us humans, providing the same comfort and friendship). Rita was 22, and Louise was 25. Louise is a BLM-adopted burro, and was older when captured, perhaps 9 or 10, and never has fully bonded with any humans, but she is firmly attached to Rita. Rita is well-trained to packing, riding and driving a cart.
Yep, I could ride a donkey, if I didn't have so much fun walking with them. This is Rita and I, March 2004
Rita and Louise had gotten settled in pretty well with Rose when it was time to bring April to live with us. Ginny had discovered that she was pregnant, and we had suddenly grown a large herd (not unlike acquiring yarn stash, dear knitter-readers). Ginny felt she would have at least a month to get used to being with us before the baby arrived, and delivered her to our house in early May 2004.
Here are the three gossips, Rose, Louise, and Rita (l. to r.) checking out new arrival, the very pregnant April. Readers of donkey language will note the submissive but suspicious lowered head on April, and the alert, curious, upright ears of the other three.
We did get to spend a bit of time with April, but she was very timid. She would come up for carrots, and accepted us as providers of food. Early in the morning on May 18, 2004, I went out to feed and discovered a tiny burro standing next to her... even knowing she was pregnant, I was almost dumbfounded as it was much sooner than the experts had predicted... hence the name Assteroid, he must have fallen from the sky:)
Newborn baby Assteroid and mama April, May 2004
I look forward to the spring, when we can get out and hike and pack with the animals, and I can move some of them up to the high country with me. In the meantime, I dislike the fact that the long hours I need to work these days takes me away from time shared with them.
The affection we share with our burros is very special.
As I work my way through the alphabet, look for entries on Fridays; B is for Blogging!
Last Minute Note: When I went to Anne's website for her link, I discovered that I hadn't been around frequently enough, as she has set up an alphabet ring with 100 participants! It is too late to join, but not too late to check out the creativity this inspires in the coming year. Bloggers are so cool.