Friday, November 30, 2012

A Little Good News...

We made to Cornell and back this afternoon.  Ramsey had a new set of x-rays and got to visit with some of his fan club.  The x-rays looked good, there are no significant changes from his last set.  The recurring abscess that had me so worried is actually caused by his heel bulbs rubbing inside of the bandage.  Now that I know that there is not something terrible going on inside his foot causing the pain and swelling I kept seeing, I can address the issue separately.

They told me over and over again when Ramsey came home that I had to keep his foot absolutely dry.  Well, I guess I am nothing if not diligent, because his heel bulbs are too dry.  I am going to apply some ichthamol to that part of the foot when I do bandage changes to help soften it up a bit.  I just have to be careful to treat it separately from the surgical site and not contaminate that area.

The surgical site itself looks good and is forming granulation tissue as it should.  The daily bandage change rather than every-other day has been beneficial and helped stop an incipient infection.  It is a pain, but I am going to continue with the daily changes for a while yet until I am sure everything is OK.  Barring further trouble, he goes back for another checkup in four weeks.

Cornell's farrier trimmed the foot a little and said his other feet look good, which I was very glad to hear since I have been trimming his feet myself.  I keep trying to figure out how this happened and blaming myself is the easiest answer.  However, there is no evidence of that.  In fact, there is no evidence of anything, his feet are in good shape.  I don't think we will ever know what precipitated this.   It could have been something as insignificant as a sliver of hay pricking his coronet band.  All I know is that bacteria got inside his foot and that is that. 

Regardless, Ramsey got a good report card from the vets today and I feel better about where we are at and where we should be going.  I am glad I took him in as I have a much clearer sense of what is happening in his foot and what needs to happen.  I am even more glad that he got to come back home and didn't have to stay.  (Oh, and just wait till you get to see Ramsey's new footwear, it was all the rage at Cornell.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Back to Cornell

We are headed back to Cornell in the morning.  There are some things about Ramsey's foot that I don't like the look of.  The abscess that blew out last week never seemed to drain and go away.  Now it seems to be coming back.   I think it is time to take another set of x-rays and find out what is going on.  I could have someone come out to the farm, but she thinks it would be better to take him back to Cornell so that is what I am trying to get set up.  I hate to stress Ramsey and Emma (and everyone else) out this way,  but Cornell is the only place really equipped to deal with this.  I'll update when I can. 
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An Unpleasant Discovery

"YO, MA!"

"Yes Ramsey?"


"That, my dear Summer Baby, is snow."


"Ohhhh if only I knew the answer to that question.  I hate to tell you this baby, but this is just the beginning.  It's gonna get worse.  Much, much worse."


"Do like I told you kid, keep your tail tucked tight and your ears down.  When that fails, stay in the barn and demand room service."


Can you find the donkey?

Monday, November 26, 2012


I took these on Friday, which turned out to be the last day of Fall, Winter is here (and no, I still haven't figured out how to clean the inner workings of my camera.  It looks complicated so it's just going to have to stay dusty for now - just like my house.  The barn is clean, but....we just won't talk about the house:). 

Ramsey's leg has straightened out more since this was taken and it looks good.  However, another abscess broke out of the back of his foot on Saturday.  I have been on the phone with one vet or another every day this past weekend.  We aren't sure what to make of this development.  It may be the original abscess still finding it's own way out rather then using the great, huge, gaping hole in the side of his foot where he had surgery. 

He is not terribly lame at this point, which makes us think it is not the joint involved (that would be bad).  I think it is possible that the original abscess has walled itself off and solidified so completely that it is now acting as a foreign body, causing irritation.  If that is the case, it will have to come out somehow before the foot can heal properly.  If this does not resolve by tomorrow, I will have it x-rayed again.  I am watching it very closely. 

On a lighter note...Emma doing some dancing practice (with Ramsey thumping and bumping me and the camera, you might need some Dramamine towards the end:)...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Planting Seeds

I ran into a neighbor a few days ago.  He mentioned they were having relatives visit and were trying to think of ways to make it a fun trip for a 7 year old girl used to city life.  I, of course, said "bring her over to meet the animals.  After all, everybody should get to meet a baby donkey, especially a 7 year old girl.

Yesterday afternoon they did just that.  Ramsey and Emma were both enthralled with meeting a child.  There aren't many of those creatures around my farm and I found their reaction very interesting.  I think Ramsey made her a little nervous at first because he wanted to cuddle right up to her.  We got past that though and we had a nice visit.  I have read a number of times that donkeys are very good with children.  It appears to be true.  The young lady was also thrilled to meet the horses and Tessa was kind enough to give her a little ride.

This morning I received a little Thank You email with this, which I think is great....

I like to introduce young people to good animals.  Who knows, from this visit she may catch the bug and grow up to be a good horse or donkey owner.  She might grow up to be a doctor, a scientist, an entrepreneur, a hairdresser....or maybe a vet and save the life of another little brown donkey.  No one knows.  All we can do is plant the seed and see what grows. 

Sunday Stills - Animals in Black & White

I almost skipped this again, but I needed a break from worrying about Ramsey and the horrible howling wind, snow and arctic temperatures that roared in this morning.  So much for our lovely Fall weather, it was short, but very sweet.  We miss it already.

I ventured into my Photoshop program for this, which I am only barely getting the hang of.  I guess it will take more then the five minutes per month I have devoted to it to actually figure it out.  It's on the list......Meanwhile, I actually found this to be surprisingly easy and kind of interesting.  These are all from my recent archives, most of you will probably recognize the shots.

Time now to go medicate and walk the donkey one last time before bed.  Enjoy and let me know what you think...   

For more Sunday Stills visit:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Every Day is Thanksgiving

I know this comes a bit late, but the sentiment remains.  Just pretend you live my crazy schedule and the word "day" becomes a bit elastic.  There is so much to be thankful for....

Such as two beautiful healthy, sane, sound horses (Tessa's leg is better and I can barley find that little scratch that caused so much trouble.  I am VERY thankful for antibiotics.).

I am thankful for my constant, steadfast companion....

I am so very grateful for everything these two have brought into my life, including, in a round-about way, all of you reading this.  It is so good to know that there are so many good people out there...

I am very thankful that there is real hope that both of these wonderful donkeys will stay in my life.

I am thankful for good friends who show up on Thanksgiving to help change bandages and I am thankful for the good, caring, compassionate vets who saved Ramsey's life and treated my little brown donkey like royalty, never once questioning his worth.

And today, I was very, very thankful for a glorious Fall day, a quiet walk in the woods with Tanner and five minutes of perfect, still, silence in a cathedral of hemlocks.

Happy Thanksgiving
(even if you are in another country, far away.  Thanksgiving is anytime, anywhere you want it to be.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Unauthorized Excursions

I tried to take poor, long-suffering Tanner for a quick walk this afternoon.  It was going to be a short walk, with a bit more promised later, as I had to get back and change Ramsey's bandage.  Riding Buddy comes up to help with this procedure so I had to be back in time.  I decided to let Ramsey enjoy the brief time in his playpen and this is how I left them....

I only made it about five hundred feet down the trail when I heard a large animal running through the woods followed by a very loud baby-bray.

It was my fault, as usual.  I had dropped the yard fence earlier so I could take Ramsey for his first walk of the day and, of course, forgot to put it back up.  After nearly a week of incarceration, Emma just couldn't resist the lure of a jaunt in the woods, baby or no.... 

Of course, she also didn't want to get too far away from Ramsey so she didn't go far.  She zoomed around the pond, through the woods, back to the house, around the pond and through the woods some more.  Bucking, kicking, leaping all the way.  Not that you can tell that from any of my photos as the only ones that are decipherable are the rare moments when she was still.  The rest just look like a blurry shape flying through the trees. 

Kind of makes me wonder about all those Big Foot sightings.  Maybe it's really just a stray donkey playing in the woods. 

Oh well, at least one of us had some fun and got some exercise today....

along with a few nibbles of the tender, young grass seed I threw down around the pond.

Oh yeah, and I got to hear several more renditions of Ramsey's newest bray.  You was that second video I posted the other day.  That was the short version of his mournful, desolate, please-please-don't-abandon-the-baby bray.  He can keep that sound up for an amazingly long, drawn-out time and, I kid you not, it comes complete with quivering lips.  Yup, it's gonna be a long two months.    

Monday, November 19, 2012

Behind Bars

But at least this prison has the last of the green grass, sunshine, grazing with Mom and the illusion of freedom...
And I can clean the barn, move hay, fill water tubs, feed horses....

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Making Up for Lost Time

You can't tell through all the fuzz, but Ramsey has lost weight in the last couple of weeks.  No surprise considering.  Being a little lean is a good thing for his foot and leg so I am certainly not trying to fatten him up.  For a while though, Ramsey wasn't much interested in food and when a donkey doesn't care about food, you know things are bad.  A good appetite is a good thing.  Today, I tried to have a chat with Ramsey...

"Hey Ramsey, how ya feeling today?"


"Hmm, do you have anything to say to all the nice people out in blog land?"


"I guess maybe we'll just talk about all your hospital adventures later huh?"

"chomp UH HUH, SURE WHATEVER chomp chomp"

"chomp, chomp, GRASS IS SOOO GOOD.  LOVE GRASS.  chomp chomp"

"chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp"
"Double Chomp!"

"AHaaaaa,YUM  YUM YUM. MANNA FROM HEAVEN.  slurp slurp SLURP!"

"Ah well, we'll talk later.  Lets just show the nice folks this picture instead...."

Look close, this is a very, very good picture....

of a lovely donkey baby standing square, solid and straight on all four feet.
 THAT is something to be thankful for.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I had intended to keep Emma and Ramsey separated by my stall rails.  After all, he had been successfully weaned and Emma was drying off well.  I thought it would be safer for Emma and easier to deal with Ramseys medical needs that way.  However that didn't last long.  When Ramsey, who is now 37 inches tall, tried to jump over the 60 inch wall, hurt foot and all and Emma immediately started making milk again, I gave up.  I bow once agin to the wisdome and knowing of donkeys and I will find a way to deal with it.  "Dealing with it" could be to motto of my life, that and the beleif in perseverance.The comfort and contact will be good for both Emma and Ramsey.  Their seperation was traumatic for all of us and we will heal better together.

The only real downside is that now Emma is going to have to stay incarcerated with Ramsey all the time rather then trading off babysitting duty.  In essence, I now have two donkey confined to stall rest for the next two months.  I do hope that in a few days, they will relax more and once again feel safe enough to allow a little distance.

Meanwhile, they are now more inseparable then ever.  Prior to his trip to Cornell, Ramsey had been developing a lot of independence and it was not unusual to see him and Emma at opposite ends of the field.  I tried to let Emma out for a bit this afternoon, but this is as far as she got...

"Why won't you open this gate and let my kid out?  It's a beautiful Fall day, we should be OUT."

"I'm sorry Em, I wish I could, but he has to stay in and heal."

"I guess that means I'm just going to have to have my morning nap in the sun right here."

"At least I have my baby back."

"It sure is hard being an only-donkey.  This is MUCH better"

We're in for the long, hard part now.  Ramsey is getting twice daily meds, needs his bandage changed every other day, he has to be hand-walked four times a day for the next two months and the stall has to stay clean and absolutely dry all the time.  He goes back to Cornell in four weeks for a checkup barring any trouble before then.

This is reminiscent of a time almost ten years ago when my, then, 8 month old border collie had to have shoulder surgery.  The vets sent him home and told me to keep him quiet for 8 weeks.  Those are two months best not remembered.  Still, Tanner and I made it through that, Ramsey and I will make it through this.  I hope.

If there is a silver lining to this, it is you my dear readers, friends and neighbors.  You incredible people have sent me $5000 towards Ramsey's vet bills which are just shy of $7000 right now.  I simply never imagined such a thing.  I would never have known that my animals, my little stories, and what to me is an ordinary life, would touch so many people from all over the world.  Who knew? 

Thank You.

Look Who's Finally Here - again

 "Hey Tess, who do you suppose that is?"

"I don't know, it sure looks like deluxe transportation though."

"Jeez, I wonder if it's full.  There could be a whole herd on there.  Say, why don't we get a stretch limo when we go places?  There must be someone awfully important in there."

"WAIT. WHAT!? It's that little brown pipsqueak?!!"




Things got a bit chaotic here and the photographer (me) kinda fell down on the job because of an insufficient number of hands.  Two just aren't enough.  I had intended that Ramsey stay in the stall I prepared for him and just have Emma next to him.  That plan didn't last long (why-o-why do I still try to plan anything?  Lord, you'd think I'd learn!).  It became very clear that Ramsey was going to hurt himself trying to get to mom so I gave up and gave in.  What photos I managed from that point are indecipherable.  I will try to do better tomorrow. Sorry.

For now, just know that Emma and Ramsey are good and Ramsey completely forgot that his foot hurt at sight of his mom. 

Tessa is also doing well and I am going to bed.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Headed to Cornell

I wrote this this morning, but neglected to hit the "publish" button.  Sorry...

 I am off to Cornell to ransom Ramsey and a king's ransom it will be!  I guess that's what I get for naming him after a monarch.

We are back, Ramsey is home.  All is good.  More to come as soon as I catch my breath.  It has been a long day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Update #?

I know things are getting just a little too crazy around here when I have to go back and read my own blog posts in order to remember where I left off.  That's where we're at.  However, today is a new day and things are going a bit better.

The vet was out to see Tessa yesterday afternoon.  She could not find any foreign objects in the puncture wound and we are all a bit puzzled as to why this rather insignificant wound has caused so much trouble.  I personally believe that there is a strain of bacteria that has infected the soil in this region that is far more aggressive and resistant to treatment then normal.   I feel that Tessa's reaction and Ramsey's pedal osteitis could be related.  They are in fact only the latest  (and in Ramsey's case most severe) foot problems in a long string of problems that I am aware of in this area in the past three years.  Regardless, Tessa is better today.  She is on the same antibiotics ad anti-inflammatory as Ramsey and she seems to be responding well to them.  I am watching her VERY carefully and if she does not continue to improve I will take other action.

After dealing with Tessa yesterday, I went to Cornell to see Ramsey (and from there to work.  Is it any wonder I can't remember where I am?).  He had another set of x-rays done and they look good.  I have been thinking about this all night and I think that I should try to bring Ramsey home as soon as possible.  The vets were concerned yesterday that he might have been regressing, but the x-rays and other tests show just the opposite.  After spending quite a bit if time with him myself, I think that he is lonely and tired.  While he certainly gets a great deal of attention, he is spending almost all of his time in a 12x12 stall that he is too short to see out of.  Also, the lights are on 24 hours a day and there are people around all the time, checking him every hour.  It didn't really matter when he was so heavily medicated, but now he needs more sleep and he needs companionship.  He needs to get out of the hospital so he can heal. 

I will be speaking the Dr. Walker this evening.  Hopefully, I'll be bringing Ramsey home tomorrow.