Sparky the donkey is very good at expressing his wants and needs, and over the years I’ve gotten better at interpreting his communications. Sparky was diagnosed with Cushing’s and had his first body clip in 2016, so this marked year three of body clipping for him.
For no particular reason I usually clip Sparky last every spring. This spring Sparky had different plans. He had started acting lethargic and wasn’t quite on his A-game. He also started refusing his morning cookies. Every morning Sparky gets a pill pocket with his Prascend tablet in it, and then we follow up his pill pocket with a few Mrs. Pastures horse cookies for good measure. He had a few days where he would eat his pill pocket but then refuse his Mrs. Pastures cookies. I was pretty sure I knew what he was trying to communicate. He was screaming at me that he was hot underneath his full winter coat and he wanted to be clipped.
The first year I clipped Sparky in the spring of 2016 he had to have so much sedation in him he could hardly stand up before I could get near him with the clippers. Last year I clipped with him no sedation and he was really good, only a few minor twitches and slow motion leg lifts in protest. This year Sparky stood like a statue, I mean completely motionless, for his body clip. I have a few horses that I clip each year that are really good and don’t move, but I’ve never had the pleasure of clipping an actual statue before. I clipped every inch of him, including every hair on his head and face. Sparky never moved, twitched, shifted his weight the entire time I clipped him.
I thought I had answered Sparky’s request after clipping him. The pep returned to his step immediately and he was very active out in his pasture. However, the next morning Sparky ate his pill pocket and only two Mrs. Pastures cookies which is quite a bit short of his usual 7 or 8 cookies in the morning. I thought about what he could possibly want, and then realized I had bought some different peppermint flavored treats a few days previously and had given a few to Sparky one afternoon. I went and got a handful of the peppermint treats and Sparky happily ate them. He’s now getting his pill pocket along with a mix of Mrs. Pastures and peppermint treats in the mornings. Sparky gets what Sparky wants.
In other news the body clipping train is rolling along. I think we only have maybe 6 or 7 clips to go. The end of the annual spring body clipping marathon is near. All of the horses getting clipped have Cushing’s/PPID and either don’t shed at all or don’t fully shed, so they need extra help through clipping. The rest of the horses shed fine without a need for clipping.
Sparky’s clip in progress
one clipped donkey
Sparky let me clip every hair on his face, he was such a champ
Taco giving me the side eye while looking for an escape route back to his pasture
Taco after his clip
Paramount in progress
Paramount was also searching for a way to leave and get back to his pasture; look how shiny he was after his clip
I never could get a decent “after” pose from Paramount, he was over this whole clipping business
Sebastian in progress
Sebastian was perky and anxious to return to his pasture after being clipped
Blu and B-Rad having a pre-bath grooming session
B-Rad in progress
Blu in progress
Blu and B-Rad did not hang around for one second after being returned to their pasture . . .
. . . bye Blu and B-Rad
Gus in progress
Maisie, Calimba and MyLight
Cuffie and Lily
Thomas and Homer
Roho and Gus
Duesy, Remmy, Bruno and Fabrizzio
Sushi and Squirrel
Rubrico and Wilson
Hemi and Apollo
a sunrise pose from Sabrina