Thursday, February 02, 2012

The donkey that c(w)ouldn't bray!

As you know we lost our sweet, oldest male donkey in a tragic accident on New Years Day. It has been rough for many of us and things will never be the same in regards to many things that contributed to this horrible event. Wow, this is still hard to talk about and I really don't know how to say it. I can only imagine what it must have been like for our barn manager, well actually I can't.  I am just grateful for his specialized training to help Gordon.  Gordon was one of my many favourite donkeys and I try hard to remember the good things about him. Gordon was made to be a poster donkey, and he was for Donkey Day 2011. I have never seen a bad picture of him. He loved the camera. I met Gordon for the very first time just days after his arrival at the DSC. He spent his days still in a stall as part of his quarantine as a new arrival. He stood at the far wall of his stall staring into space. I have heard his story from one of the volunteers and it was apparent that Gordon was not interested in his new surroundings or even curious about the other animals. Gordon was 30 years old when he was separated from his life companion, a horse, and was very confused by the appearance of these funny looking long eared creatures around him. I remember spending a long time at the door of his stall and talking to him, mostly telling him about the other residents, and how wonderful it will be for him to have all these new friends that just looked like him. Gordon had enormous ears and I loved them from the start. What I loved more and more about Gordon later on were his big, expressive, brown eyes. By the end of our first encounter he had made his way over to the stall gate and let me scratch his big ears and pet the side of his face. ( this picture was taken that day).
I visited often from then on; I was in love with this beautiful animal. I ended up sponsoring him as a gift for the person who first introduced me to the DSC and when the year was up I continued to support him. I have seen and visited with Gordon many times on Open Days during the next few years and spend much time with him once I started volunteering. He has always been one of my favourites. I remember also my first encounter grooming one of the bigger donkeys, or at least my attempt to. Mostly I stuck to the Minis and the barnyard oldies like Summer and Buffy when it came to grooming, but one day I challenged myself to groom Gordon, not that he was hard to groom, he was just bigger. I was so proud of myself that I had no problem haltering him and I had absolutely no trouble leading him into the barn. Once I tied him up that’s when it darned on him that he didn’t want to have any part of me grooming him and he danced and danced around, and in the end he won, because I let him go, since there was no way he was standing still for me. That was my one and only grooming experience with Gordon, but I brushed him many a times.
Gordon on the move...

Gordon never brayed, ever, maybe if he did, somebody could have helped him sooner. When he wanted your attention he would let these little pitiful sounding groaning and moaning noises out. Sunday morning was the best with him that was when we still had the barn set up the way it was in the “olden” days, Gordon would walk himself in one of the stalls and whimper for Helia, his favourite volunteer, to bring him his treat, and he always knew how he could get to her.
Gordon was also the master of unlocking latches and gates and doors, and because of him barn staff constantly  had to try to outsmart him with bigger and trickier locks. I watched him a few times, how he unlocked Tibet’s stall many times in a matter of seconds, it was fascinating. He was also the suspect in a big barn mix up one morning when he opened the gate to the east side and let all animals mingle.

Just over the last little while had the old donkey, now almost 36, formed a close friendship with Earl Grey, another older donkey. I mean Gordon always got along with everybody and groomed with anybody who would let him or want to groom him, but those two oldies finally found each other and spent a lot of time together, lounging around and snoozing.
There are so many special memories with Gordon, our yellow donkey. He was one of a kind. No matter how many times Gordon was groomed he always looked unkept, his light greyish fur looked yellow and always dirty.

I loved taking pictures of him and looking at pictures of him, because he just has the most expressive eyes of any donkey and he always looked right at you. This is one of my all time favourite pictures....

Rest in Peace Sweet Gordon
You will always be loved and never forgotten.

1 comment:

Empty Nester said...

What a sweet face! I wasn't sure I wanted to read the post at first, but I really enjoyed your wonderful memories.

Just stopping by to follow you from the A-Z challenge! Last year was so much fun, I decided to give a go again!