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Not a Donkey (mis)Adventure

As he was last year, Sparky was the grand finale of the annual Paradigm Farms spring body clipping marathon. Last spring was the first time I body clipped Sparky. It is amazing what a difference a year makes. This time last year I was having tearful conversations with Jason about Sparky. Prior to last spring I had basically removed Sparky’s winter hair by yanking it out one hair at a time since he had ceased shedding. Last year he wasn’t having the one hair at a time removal and I couldn’t blame him. The problem he was hot and miserable and had completely ceased enjoying life. Jason and I even had the euthanasia/quality of life discussion.

I was so distraught during that conversation that Jason suggested body clipping Sparky. Before Jason could stop it the idea had taken on a life of its own. I had briefly thought about it prior to that conversation, but I knew it would end up being another donkey rodeo. Once it became a life or death issue I became determined to find a way. I first tried to see if Sparky would be open to the idea. He wouldn’t even let me touch him with the clippers when they were turned off. He just did his classic “exit stage left” move and left the building. I decided my only choice was to have the vet out to heavily sedate Sparky. Sparky had enough dormosedan and xylazine in him to put a draft horse on the ground before he would let me near him with the clippers. I got the job done but it was one ugly clipping job. Even that sedated Sparky would not let me touch his back legs and I barely got his front legs and stomach done. But it was enough that Sparky felt significantly better and became a happy donkey again.

Fast forward a year to today. The vet was going to be here today for some routine things, and I had Sparky on the list for heavy sedation so I could clip him again. We had Sparky caught and ready so he could be the first patient for the vet. When I got a text from the vet that he was running 45 minutes behind schedule I decided I would use the extra time to see if Sparky would let me do any clipping on him at all while he was not sedated.

When the vet pulled in 45 minutes later he drove up to a fully body clipped donkey. Sparky clearly remembered last year, as I expected he would, and stood like a statue and let me clip every part of him. I clipped his legs and stomach with no issues. I clipped his body, I clipped his face. I clipped everywhere. The only time Sparky moved was when I was almost completely finished and was just cleaning up his face. Sparky knew it was time to be done and he exited stage left. We let him go, he stopped, and then he let me finish up the last minute of work on his head and face and Sparky was done. I couldn’t believe it.

I knew Sparky would be a lot better this year because he remembers everything, good and bad, and the effect it had on him. I didn’t think he would remember it so well and realize just how much better it made him feel that a year later he would stand like a statue with no sedation and let me clip him.

I always refer to Sparky as the rockstar, and he earned that title today.

leading Sparky to the barn with Bonnie and Sabrina marching along with us

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the peanut gallery began assembling . . . 

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. . . and everyone had to jockey for position

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Sparky in progress

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letting me clip his face

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Sparky’s hair was so thick I couldn’t even see my clippers underneath it much of the time

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a fully clipped Sparky; I think he was thankful that someone finally turned on the air conditioning for him 

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he let me clip his entire face, even around his eyes

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one clipped donkey bum

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Sparky celebrated by immediately taking a dust bath which is one of his favorite things in life

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Taco and Sam

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Walden and Fabrizzio (and Havana)

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Toledo and Rocky

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Norman and Cuffie

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Happy and Nemo

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B-Rad and Blu

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Moe and Thomas

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Apollo, Homer, Chance and Convey

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visitor on the driveway

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Revy

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Baby and Trigger

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Silver, Cocomo and Asterik

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Flyer and Faune

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Grand and Rip

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Rubrico and Walon

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Rubrico

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