Thursday, September 01, 2005


Tippy here rules the barnyard. And she knows how to hold a pose.

Tippy and friends vying for carrots.

Just like giant rabbits. They'd much rather be hand-fed than have to scrounge the sandy floor for carrots, though they have plenty of hay at all times.

A framing device. And it gets excellent TV reception. Who knew donkeys were so photogenic?

I spent Tuesday afternoon with donkeys and the Mother Teresa of Donkeys, Lucy Fensom. She founded Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land in response to the widespread abuse and neglect visited upon these solid little citizens whose primary offense lies in costing so little that they have no perceived value. One of Lucy's goals is to change attitudes and behaviors. She also wants to save every donkey she can from beatings, burnings, mutilations, and death perpetrated by angry mobs, bored kids, and other stupid cruel people.

As someone said to me last week, "Donkeys aren't stubborn ... they're just patient." And they lack options.

Donkey got soul.

Donkey got back.

With 85 well-cared-for donkeys at the farm and an impish toddler underfoot, Lucy and husband Adi nevertheless steal away for three to four hours every Tuesday to run a donkey and horse outreach clinic deep in a small Arab village. The vet, farrier, and volunteers provide basic medical care ...

hoof trimming ...

and harness adjustments for donkeys and for horses, which may cost a lot more but still get a hell of a lot of abuse. As one horse owner told me while accepting free hoof care and reshoeing, a donkey can pull 200 lbs. but a horse can pull 600 lbs. Both numbers are too high, which helps explain why his horse was such a wreck.

All the working animals we saw had sores and open wounds from poorly fitted, borderline medieval harnesses.

The antiseptic spray isn't designed to blend in.

This little donkey came in with a big iron cart and an ancient Arab driver.

Thanks to an ill-fitting strap, he had a big open wound behind his right foreleg. A volunteer tried to pad it with moleskin, but it didn't look good. As grievous as the donkey's condition was, the old guy who owns him has very few teeth left and probably not many years on tap either, so it was (a little) tough to fault him for his donkey's woes. Life is hard here. All things considered, he probably treats his donkey as well as he can, because it's his livelihood. That's what I'd like to believe, sores notwithstanding.

On the other hand, another guy showed up for the second week in a row demanding Lucy take in his weak, old, sick donkey and replace it with one of her healthy ones. No reason. That's just what he wants. He refused to pose for a picture, but hung around smoking and chatting for hours as his donkey stood in the sun waiting. Lucy gave it water, shots, and superficial first aid, but she won't serve as a donkey exchange, taking in the sick and giving away the healthy. Once a donkey's gone to heaven, she won't send it back to hell.

This is the freeloader's sad, weak donkey, below ...

waiting patiently in full harness with a big iron cart secured to its back. That's a little boy from around the way who came up and petted the donkey's nose for a moment and then smacked it for no apparent reason. He received a stern talking to, with instructions on proper donkey interaction. In addition to ministering to donkey wounds, the clinic seeks to educate current and future donkey masters. There are a lot of ingrained bad behaviors and attitudes to undo.

This is the wounded donkey seen above, unharnessed. Left no better options, donkeys will eat ficus leaves. And look picturesque.

SHADH survives on donations from abroad, mostly the UK and US. At the site, you can read more, meet Lucy and the donkeys, and even "adopt" individual creatures such as Tippy, Chico, Primrose, Shrek, and Jake.

You! Who Are You?

Who's reading this blog in Vermont, Arizona, DC, OK City, and Santa Rosa? Happy to have you here, but how did you find Lord Zim, and have we met? Special prize for the first two people to respond.

This violation of the fourth wall is probably a massive faux pas in blogiquette, but what are you gonna do about it? You can't disturb me any more than the giant winged beetles already do.

BTW, vanilla soy milk + Fernet Branca = White Russian with a mothball twist.


1 comment:

deivore said...

I'm answerable for the Santa Rosa hits. Can't remember how/why I found this blog, but I keep checking back.
Keep up the good work.