A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Louise, the BLM Burro

I have another post about Estes, covering the market and all the great things I learned and bought, but it will have to wait until tomorrow, for today's post is in honor of Louise. Regular followers will recognize that she is one of my five burros ... or was. I came home yesterday evening to learn that she died sometime while we were away at work. Although by a rough calculation, she was somewhere around 30 years old ("ancient for a horse", as my burro-expert buddy Ginny said), I am still deeply saddened. While feeding yesterday morning, she came up to show me that part of her tongue was swollen. Her sight has dimmed a bit in the two years we have had her, and apparently she managed to get stung by a bee on the tongue twice in the past two weeks. The first one, ten days ago was much more severe, and treatment with benedryl had reduced the swelling to near normal in only an hour, so I gave her a dose and watched to see that she was eating with the rest before leaving. However, her age put her at risk as well as the high 90s heat... although my animals have lots of deep shade within their pasture, it is still WAY hot here. We will never really know, but suspect anaphylactic shock.

Louise, grazing in the sun.

Louise came to me in March 2004, when I learned through one of my animal lists about a man who was searching for a home for two jennets because his health was failing and he could no longer care for them. His plight immediately resonated with me, as my day would at some point as well. We only had one burro, Rose, at that point and somehow I persuaded DH to let me take the two girls in... Glenn, Ginny and I hauled them here in her stock trailer and although Rita was 22 and Louise 25 at the time, they were still pretty lively.

According to her records, Louise had been captured off an unidentified BLM range at an estimated 9-10 years old. Mac had gotten her to keep Rita company, and they have lived together for 12 years... it was Rita who came up to Glenn yesterday evening while he was feeding, trying her best to tell him that something was wrong; she led him out to where Louise lay, on the shady point at the farthest east boundary of our place. I have learned that burros have an alert understanding of certain things, much like dogs.

Louise in foreground, with Rita behind her, taken this winter

I went out in the dusk to visit the animals, and then walked to where Glenn and a neighbor had buried Louise... Rita came and joined me. I had promised Mac I would keep them together, and I had succeeded, until now. Louise had the chance to roam in a very large, wooded pasture her last few years. We stared out into the woods together and I had no better idea than Rita where our Louisey had gone.


Anonymous michaele said...

What a bittersweet post! It's clear that you loved her very, very much. It's so hard to lose our friends. I was really touched by your stories of how both burros communicated with you - it's clear they loved and trusted you, just as they loved each other!

7:43 AM  
Blogger margene said...

My heart is heavy for you Birdsong. It is so difficult when a member of the family leaves us. Their love for you is as apparent as your love for them. Sending good thoughts to you and the rest of the burro family.

8:01 AM  
Blogger SheKnits said...

I'm sorry for your loss. What a sad thing to happen.

I love your stories. Many people don't realize how much like humans, animals are. I raised pigs in high school... and everyone must have thought I was crazy when I had to let them go. You build such a strong bond with your babies, naked in human flesh or covered in fur. They mean just as much.

Treat yourself to some goodies today!

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Imbrium said...

I'm so sorry...my thoughts are with you and your family, furry or otherwise.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous MX said...

I'm very sorry to hear this news but at the same time so happy to hear how well you've taken care of these animals; you really came to their rescue!

Adorable pictures of them too, so sweet!

8:26 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Oh, I'm sorry Birdsong. My thoughts are with you and yours. I'm glad you were able to give her such a good home.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Becca said...

My condolences, Birdsong. Louise clearly had a good life with you.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Carole said...

That's sad and I'm sorry for your loss, hon.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Birdsong, I'm so sorry about your loss, yet this post left me feeling happy to know that you have been so willing to open your home up to these beautiful animals. It's never easy to lose a friend... my thoughts are with you.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Carrie K said...

It's always hard to say good bye to friends & family, no matter how long or how good their life has been. I'm sorry for your loss, birdsong.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Vicki Knitorious said...

What a sweet remembrance of Louise. I'm so sorry.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Oh, sad here, for you and Louisey.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

I'm so sorry for you loss, Birdsong! But I am so happy you have been there for these animals!

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry to read about the loss of Louise.

Your sock kit swap pal

1:38 PM  
Blogger Birdsong said...

I will be writing personal thank yous, but it is so comforting to have all of your kinds words; I never used to be the kind of person who could reach out and plead for help, but am grateful that blogging has made me more open. Thank you all from the bottom of my grieving heart.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous caroline said...

ay, chica, I am so sorry. May Louise rest easy.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous SpiderWomanKnits said...

My heart feels sad for you and Glen and Rita. Big *hugs* to you all and a gentle pat with a nuzzle mixed in for Rita.

8:37 PM  
Blogger green-eyed grrl said...

oh, Birdsong, I'm just in tears reading your post and all these heartfelt comments.

hugs to you, friend. Wish it could be in person.

5:39 PM  

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