Jack (the donkey) has had a problem. It happened one night - somehow he got his rope round a rock and round his foot and when I went to bring him down for breakfast he was in quite a state. Poor chap wasn’t sure that he could manage the short journey to the house, until he remembered that it was breakfast-time and actually did limp down the hill ! His ankle was a little swollen, so I stood the leg in a bucket of cold water. He must have enjoyed it, because I seem to have taught him now that it is OK to put his feet in water buckets! He had a “proper” breakfast (instead of his usual thistle diet) and that worked marvels, his foot didn’t hurt any more and he was soon ready to go out to the field. Jack will eat the top of a thistle and leave the rest of the plant, but he remembers exactly where it is to return in a couple of days and eat a little more of the new leaves that have grown. Considering that thistle is his very favourite plant, this is quite remarkable - pity the human race doesn’t conserve nature as efficiently as a donkey does! Before we actually left to go to the field, our Friendly Greek Farmer arrived. I told him about the drama and, to my horror, he shook his head and said that he thought the rope tether was unkind. He said the donkey should be free. Well, we know that, but donkeys can climb walls, push over gates, etc.
It’s an education to watch him test the strength of a protruding rock in a wall to see if it will hold his weight and, anyway, I’m terrified of him causing a road accident. No - safer for him and everyone else if he is tied on 30m of rope. Friendly Greek Farmer was still looking serious and eventually (our Greek friend who translates had left) he made us understand that if we couldn’t manage to hobble the donkey, he would do it for us. He said that then Jack could be “free” and roam over our 25 stremmas of rough, steep, hillside. Jack had been hobbled before we had him and has the scars round his ankles. I can’t find enough bad words to describe my dislike for the practise of hobbling goats, sheep and donkeys, but here I am wondering (yet again) if I am trying to sit in judgement when actually I don’t know what I’m talking about. Certainly, only solid rails and chain-link fencing can keep goats in, and who can afford that all round a lump of hillside?
Also, since these animals are actually relatively fussy feeders (contrary to popular belief) they need to be moved from field to field on a regular basis.
Onto our vets visits ....
PAWS has had a visiting vet for the last three weeks. We had days when we couldn’t catch street animals - very frustrating - and days when we never thought we would finish at night. The vet was super and coped really well with quite inadequate conditions. Next week will be bliss with only routine work to do - I’m not sure that I remember what it’s like to have a clean house and interesting food to eat! More about the vet visit next month.
PAWS annual membership dues are 10,000drs for adults, 2,000drs for children under 16. Send to PO Box 12, Parikia, or pay directly into the PAWS bank account at the Ionion Bank - account no. 35935061 and call one of the names below to give us your name, address and tel no.