Friday, January 21, 2011

The True Story of Beau's Feet, Part 3 and Conclusion: A really (really) big day


If I've still got your attention, then you will know this is Day 3 of Beau's story.

Originally, I intended this tale to be a single post, but as I began writing, I realized there was so much to share about this year-long experience with Beau's feet. To include everything in one, single post would have been really overwhelming, not to mention incredibly long.

So, if you've read Part 1 and Part 2, then you've definitely earned today's post. And I've saved the best for last.

Tuesday was a very big day on Critter Farm:

The boys knew something was up because 1) they were both haltered, yet we weren't going for a walk and 2) they had been separated by the stupid brown gate:

Then there was 3) Kai had been asked to leave the barn and, though she was asking nicely to come back in, her requests were repeatedly denied:

On this day, Perry the farrier was coming and we were going to take a chance. We were going to try to trim Beau's feet without any sedation. The vet was on stand-by, you know, just in case - but I really felt, based on how well Beau had been working with me over the last couple weeks, that he was finally ready to give it a try.

I was focusing so hard on not being nervous - those donkeys of mine can read me like an open book. I needed everything to be peaceful and for everyone. to. remain. calm.

I had exchanged a couple emails earlier that day with a fellow donkey owner (ok, it was Linda from 7MSN) (I ♥ you, Linda!). She shared a tip with me that the farrier of another fellow donkey owner (ok, ok! It was Justina & Don from Morning Bray Farm) had suggested they use on one of their nervous donkeys (Fergus), called the "cupping of the eye":

The thought here is that even though the donkey can feel somebody touching them, they aren't made nervous by the sight of who/what it is because you have shaded their view of it. I tried it out first-thing with Beau and it really seemed to work. After a few minutes, I could feel him relax a bit and I was able to take my hand away.

And then, with little fanfare, NO SEDATION and lots of carrot coins, Beau stood quietly and let Perry, my farrier, lift, pick and trim his front feet.
As if he'd been doing it this way his whole life:

Then it was time for the rear feet. (I took a couple deep breaths, trying so hard not to let the anxiety I felt run from my heart down into my hands, through the lead rope, up to Beau's halter and into his head):

And he did just fine. That's my boy, standing peacefully, without meds or any kind of tying up, letting the farrier do his work. This picture brings tears to my eyes:

So does this one. "Am I almost finished, Mom?":

Yes, Beau, you're all finished.
Twenty-five gold stars for YOU, young man!:

There was the biggest spring in my step as I walked back from the barn:

It was a wonderful day.

43 comments:

  1. I don't think I have ever commented on your blog, but I really enjoy reading it! I have loved your three day story of Beau's feet! The picture of him getting his back feet trimmed brought tears to my eyes too! Such a success! Amazing what a caring human can do for an animal's confidence!

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  2. Aww that brought a tear to my eye too! Way to go Beau! What a boy! And well done you Danni, for your love and patience! Oh and did ya kiss the farrier and will you be doing the 'Joe' dance! Will ya? Huh? Go on! Dare ya! :D

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  3. This is my favorite kind of story -- about a small band of dedicated people brought together in the interest of making an animal's life better. Congratulations, Beau, on your four happy healthy hooves and your wonderful guardians! xoxoAerophant

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  4. This last post brought tears to my eyes. What a milestone, for both you and Beau! And although I remember distinctly how you got Beau, and your struggles to overcome his fear of lifting his feet, I had no idea that his feet were in that bad shape when you first got him. What a wonderful job you've done. More importantly, I think you've written (and photographed) an award-winning series of posts here, and I hope they are shared with donkey lovers everywhere. Bravo to both of you!! (And kisses to Beau for his bravery ;-))

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  5. Between Beau's feet and Reggie's scur's your Vet must be living high on the hog. That was an amazing transition from horrible and sad to healthy and happy!

    p.s. - Do you take post requests? Addy and Becca are really wondering what Pete and Reggie have been up to.....

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  6. well, if it were me, there would not be a spring in my step...... b/c I would absolutely flying!!! Congratulations. that is awesome. thanks for sharing. shows what a lot of patience, a teamwork approach and most importantly a lot of love can do!!!

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  7. Congrats to Beau!!! Congrats to You!

    Little steps forward for them are BIG steps to us.

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  8. You're tight- this was the best of three. Brought tears to my eyes too!

    Geau Beau!

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  9. I just burst into tears. I don't think I'm PMS'ing either.

    I recently found your blog after spending a month reading through 7MSN blog from beginning to end. Now I'm working on yours the very same way. I'm not a stalker, don't worry. I'm a city bred woman inching my way to the possibility of just maybe I might have a large plot of land somewhere where we (husband & I) can bring our horses home, get a pair of donkeys and raise chickens.

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  10. My smile kept getting bigger and bigger as I read through this post. Can't wait to tell Shorty how his eye-cupping idea is spreading across the land. Please give Beau a great big hug for me for being so brave.

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  11. WhooHooo! That is SO cool! Congratulations to you and Beau! I'd be a proud momma too.

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  12. Yay! Very, very nice! 25 gold stars to you too, Danni! You've done a great job as donkey Mama.

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  13. YES!!!! Good Beau!!! That's one special little donkey there :)

    Btw, I squealed when I read that and my husband gave me the strangest look! lol So worth it, that's great!

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  14. I love a happy ever after ending. :) Beau's face looks better, too -- relaxed and happy and energetic. I noticed that about Ellsworth at Morning Bray after he had been rescued and gotten used to his new home. Donkeys and burros are such wonderful beings. I love knowing your critters have such a happy, loving home. The dancing boots are cute, too. :) Good for you and blessings to the farrier that listens and cares!!

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  15. HOORAY!!! I had no idea you were working up to this with him (until your story). What a glorious, happy day Tuesday must have been.
    Good job Mom! You worked hard and it paid off in spades. :)

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  16. Good job Danni, you did it. Good job to you too Beau...I know how far you've come.

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  17. Congratulations to you, Beau, the farrier, Chester, Kai, the carrot coins! What an accomplishment this is. The feeling of calm and serenity you conveyed was eagerly accepted by your beautiful Beau. Lovely!

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  18. OMG!!!! THAT IS SUCH WONDERFUL NEWS! Way to go, Beau!!! Way to go, Mom for being so diligent and working so hard with him.

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  19. what a great story. i always think i get more nervous than teddy does. operant conditioning is a powerful tool. beau is conditioned now and should be a good boy in the future. i am wondering, was beau tired after the farriers visit even though no sedation was used?

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  20. Awwww, Danni, this is just the best story. You apparently only sent calming, comforting thoughts from your heart, through your arms, into your hands, through the lead rope, up to Beau's halter and into his head. :) What an amazing difference in him in just one year. You have every right to be the proud mama. Great job Danni!

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  21. Wonderful! Congrats to you, your farrier, your vet and Beau on a job well done. Who would have thought that the day would come when I would be eagerly awaiting the next installment of the saga of a donkey's feet.

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  22. Tears!

    What a wonderful happy story!

    On behalf of humanity, I would like to thank you for patience, perseverance, and love shown to our fellow travelers on this planet.

    Our species has a lot to answer for, and I am grateful for your contributions to the "good acts" side of of our equation.

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  23. YAAAAA! Healthy hooves and happy MOM!

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  24. Hooray for Beau!! Hooray for you, too, for figuring it out (with the help of your nice friends) and giving it a try. I'm enjoying your daily posts this month.

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  25. Hooray for Beau....shows you what compassion, patience and love and of course never underestimate the power of carrot coins, can do for someone...in this case a donkey....I don't think the carrot coins would work for me..maybe chocolate coins lol....So happy to hear that Beau mastered his fear. ( for Beau only..i don't like anybody touching my feet either..., so I am proud of you, you cute, sweet donkey boy).

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  26. I am covered in goose-bumps!
    What a wonderful ending for the story of Beau's feet! Life will be so much better for him now that his feet are healthy and he has learned to trust. You should be very proud of yourself for the way you handled this ~ slowly and calmly. Taking your cues from Beau.

    Good Job!!!

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  27. Wow..that was a wonderful 3 part story about Beau..what a terrible condition they were in at the beginning,and how healthy and maintained they look now..that must be a pretty amazing feeling to know that you've gained his ultimate trust..Big "Pat on the back" to you and Beau..job WELL DONE~~~

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  28. OK the last post pulled at my heart strings and yes tears welled up in my eyes. Big hugs to Beau... and to his wonderful human!! Bravo to the both of you!!

    My girls L.O.V.E.D. the story... I"m telling you, if you put it in an e-book form and sell it we'd be the first in line to purchase the book!!

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  29. Yahoo! You and the farrier deserve gold stars too. Congratulations!!!I love reading Justina and Linda's blogs (along with yours of course). We can't have a burro in the city but they are so full of cuteness and personality.

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  30. That's a wonderful story! Trust and patience are great things (as is a good farrier!). xxxx oooo

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  31. Woot-woot! Way to go, Beau (and Danni)!!! Big hugs to you from us.

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  32. That is amazing. Your hard work and patience has paid off. I love the jump in the air photo.
    Ha ha!

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  33. A wonderful story to be sure. Although I would give Beau 25 Peanuts instead of 25 stars. :0
    I am also curious. I wonder how the farrier feels about having his backside plastered all over the internet. :) Just a thought. I couldn't help myself. It's been a slow day.

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  34. Beau's story is as much about you as it is about Beau. Your love of these animals is so apparent in the last three posts that I truly think you have performed a small miracle.
    One of the things that we do when we choose to share our lives with animals is to show them the same unconditional love that they show us. You, my dear, show each of your critters this kind of love.
    You seem to understand what they need and go out of your way to give them the best that you can offer.
    I'm so glad that Beau found you. He has found a sanctuary of care and love at Critter Farm.

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  35. Yay! What a relief and what a great ending to Beau's story. I love happy endings. :)

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  36. Danni, I cried at the end of your three-day post. The change in Beau's feet is just amazing, and the fact that his feet can now be tended without having to resort to sedation is just a tremendous story of love and care. It just goes to show what can be accomplished. I have to say that it was scary to read about him kicking out when anyone attempted to touch his back feet. I don't think I could have been so brave.

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  37. He couldn't have done it without you Danni! I loved reading all three posts and so glad you took the time to tell us of Beau and his beautiful feet!!
    I think Perry needs some fresh baked cookies!!
    And you have the bestest of friends!!!

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  38. Beau is one lucky guy that he found you. Your patience and love for him is heartwarming!

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  39. Told you time and persistence and a lot of advise from good friends works. Such a good boy Beau.

    Oh love the photo of your farrier, the angle is... um... very nice.

    LiBBiE in Oz

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  40. Wow! What a great story. I learn so much from reading your blog and others. Thank you for sharing this. I had no idea donkey hooves need to be shaped differently from horse hooves. Thank you so much for that and for the example you set. Never give up on the critters!

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  41. What a good boy!!! That's huge! So happy for everyone. It says so much about his level of trust in you, too. I don' know how you managed to take photos while this was all going on...*smile*

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