Facing Tough Times

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Facing tough times here. My 25-year-old donkey (normal size) is heading to Cornell tonight for colic care/possible surgery. Sugar is a wonderful animal ? and not just our family feels that way. The blacksmith, my colleague who helped with her care, everyone who has met her comments on how great Sugar is.

Sugar has an amazing capacity for spreading ?peace." ?I know that sounds very ?New Agey, but if you are around her or touch her, you truly do feel calm and peaceful. And yes, that is true even for people who boldly announce that they don't really like donkeys ? until they meet Sugar.

Donkeys have many legends surrounding them, but Sugar is a dark brown donkey and doesn't even have ?the markings of the cross? like her gray daughter Spice has. Her bray is fairly melodic but I have heard donkeys with better voices.

Speaking of voices, when a new neighbor moved in down the street a few years ago, I ran into her one day at the local farm stand. She did look a bit tired and asked me ?What fool sets off a fog horn at 5 am every morning'? I was at a total loss until I realized that our donkeys announce the first crack of dawn each morning. There is a male down the street who often returns their calls too.

Having Sugar in a bad way is very difficult for me. It is extremely hard as a vet when you can't fix your own animal. Realistically, if Sugar needs surgery, it is above my skill level. At Cornell she will be in a warm barn, have heated fluids if need be (hard for me in our barn!) and 24 hour observation and care if she needs it. After 5 hours straight in the barn last night, then hourly checks plus 8 hours straight today, I am so cold I can't feel some of my extremities.

Please, if you can spare some positive thoughts our way, send them to Sugar, care of Cornell. I need my peaceful donkey and hope to have her in my life for many more years.

Sugar update for Friday:
Sugar is doing much better. She's quite happy to have the NG (Nasogastric) tube out. She heard the horse in the next stall getting a carrot - apparently someone snapped it in two - and gave Cornell its first full-blown donkey bray :-) A very good sign!

She is passing manure on her own & they are starting feed slowly. I hope to get down to visit her tomorrow.