Long Ears Report

by Inge Harding-Barlow

First, we'd like to thank all of the generous contributors who've donated money for Mickey's upkeep. At the beginning of November 1996 the BPA took over the feeding and care of Mickey. However, ownership of both the pasture and Mickey remains in the hands of the Bol Estate.

Health Report
As you all know, Mickey became acutely sick around Thanksgiving and remained very seriously ill until Christmas time. His acute problems included a number of leg abscesses and gastro-intestinal and lung infections. In addition, all this aggravated his chronic conditions of arthritis and degeneration of the tissue in his upper hooves. At one time Mickey's handlers were giving him three injections per day and spending up to four hours each day hand feeding, a mouthful at a time, and caring for him often in pouring rain.

Mickey's many admirers supported him nobly, giving money for his large vet bills, medicines, 600 pounds of pine shavings for bedding, as well as fodder, etc.

Since Christmas, Mickey's handlers have been working on improving his chronic conditions. This is a long process, but we hope that by next fall he will be in good enough shape to withstand the winter and not get sick again.

Mickey will turn 30 years old on July 1!. Although donkeys often live to their late 30s or early 40s, it should be remembered that Mickey is of an age who like to lie down and rest and that this doesn't necessarily mean that he is sick.

The pasture
In January, four BPA Board members -- Will, Paul, Ken and Inge, with Deborah Harding, rebuilt the washed-out pasture trail so that Mickey could again go back to his usual beautiful natural shelter in the back pasture. More work will soon be done on the trail; rebuilding of the fences and other pasture chores -- for times and dates for volunteers, please watch the BPA e-mail list, Mickey's web page, the kiosk at the park, and the pasture fence for notices.

Welcome Perry!
Clyde Farmer, Barron Park resident and Mickey's farrier, very graciously played matchmaker and introduced us to Mia DiGiovanni, and lo and behold, Mickey now has a shadow, companion and friend with the lovely name of Pericles (Perry for short). Pericles is a 3-year-old miniature donkey who frisks about the pasture, sticks his head through the gate and is inclined to nip at everything from skirts and jackets to camera straps!

Community grooming
Starting March 2nd, we have instituted a 9:30-10:30 a.m. Sunday community donkey feeding and grooming session ­ weather permitting. Under the supervision of the donkey handlers, two families at a time are brought into the pasture to help with the normal morning chores. All persons of any age, who come to the pasture gate during this hour on Sundays, will at least get a turn at grooming either Mickey or Perry. At other times, PLEASE DO NOT FEED NOR COME INTO THE PASTURE. Please, for the sake of Mickey's and Perry's health and safety, help us enforce this rule.

Spectators at the gate are always welcome. Normal feeding and grooming times are 7:40 a.m. and 5:10 p.m. (later in the summer) each and every day, except on Sunday mornings when it is 9:30 a.m. Grooming except on Sundays often is just burr removal from ears, faces and legs.

We thank everyone for their help and support and hope the donkeys will remain a community institution for many years to come.

The main donkey handlers are: Edith Smith and Inge Harding-Barlow. Assistant handlers: Leland Smith and Doug Moran.

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