A Sweet Miracle

                                   

"Sweet Miracle" born April 28, 2002                             "Sweet Miracle at 5 months"     

 

                                            

                                  Miracle at 16 months - a pretty young lady                           Miracle at 29 months         

 

         

Miracle with her first baby 2005

 

A Sweet Miracle 

When I went to check on my donkeys later than usual one April morning, I could not believe what I saw. There was a new baby in the pasture! Whose baby was it??? It only could have been Happy but she did not look anywhere ready the day before. We always take our jennies that are close to foaling out of the main herd since our jack is with the herd. I immediately noticed that something was not right! It was not Happy guarding the baby – it was Macarena – and she was guarding it! It was “her” baby and she would not let anyone get close to it including myself.  She tried to get it to nurse but of course she didn’t have any milk! I immediately realized that the baby did not have a good start and had to get it back to her mother as soon as possible. Happy was standing there obviously depressed – she had given up trying to claim her baby (her first baby). Macarena is usually a very friendly donkey and never minded us getting close to her own baby last year. I ran through the pasture and up the wooded hill to the barn, got some sweet feed, and ran back down the hill into the pasture. They heard the feed bucket and all came running (not Macarena – she had a new baby so feed wasn’t her priority). I had to walk over to her with more feed and luckily she had a weak moment and went for the feed. I had a split second to snatch the baby and head toward the barn. It didn’t take Macarena a second to realize what was going on and darted right after me braying! I was even getting a little bit worried that my usually friendly girl would turn on me but she didn’t. She just followed me down the pasture and up the hill to the barn with her nose either on the baby or myself. I put the baby in the barn got more feed to try to get Happy to come up. This was another task but I finally got her to her baby! She let it nurse right away. It was almost noon!  Realizing that I didn’t even know when this baby was born and if it had the chance to get enough collostrum I hurried to the vet, picked up collostrum replacer hoping the baby would not be over 12 hours old, yet. I syringed ¾ of the bottle into the baby within an hour as the vet recommended. We had 3 uneventful days and then I noticed the baby was breathing a little faster than it did before. A late afternoon call to the vet – he told us what to give her and he would see her the next day since he was covered up with emergencies.

The next day I could definitely tell that her breathing was not normal. The vet listened to her lungs – then a long silence. I knew it wasn’t good! It seemed like he was thinking about if he should tell us to give up on her or try to treat her. Then finally he told us that her prognosis was not good with pneumonia and that we would loose her if we didn’t take drastic measures. He ended up sowing an IV into her neck and giving us several other shots and IV drips to administer twice a day. By Saturday night when we checked on our little baby she was standing in her stall gasping for air (she  was now 6 days old). We knew she would not make it through the night. I was very upset and felt so helpless! She was suffocating. I had heard before that administering steroids may help a donkey in a desperate situation like this. Our vet did not like the idea when I asked him earlier that day since this little baby was just a few days old. After talking to a long time breeder we decided that we had nothing to loose by giving the steroids. We would loose her anyway. We administered the steroids and went into the house knowing we would find a dead baby the next time we would check on her.

Early the next morning my husband checked on her and she was alive breathing easier! We again gave her steroids and all the other drugs the vet prescribed and hoped for the best. She was still trying to be frisky but could not lay down because she couldn’t breathe laying down. Poor baby had to stand up constantly! By Tuesday the vet was surprised she was still with us. He checked her lungs, and she was not doing any better. He told us to discontinue the drug that could be most dangerous to her body and prescribed another instead. By Saturday she was still not showing any improvement so he decided to prescribe human medications as a last resort. Our Rite Aid Pharmacy had never filled a prescription for a donkey before. This was our last hope – she was such a trooper – we couldn’t loose her now.

After 3-4 days on the human medications she seemed to be breathing slower. The vet checked her after a week and she was doing much better – her lungs sounding almost normal! I just wanted to hug him when he told us how much better she was. We continued the medications for another 10 days – so she wouldn’t experience a set back and she was fine.

Poor baby had to endure so many shots, IV’s and oral medications! She was sore everywhere! She could not lay down throughout most of her illness which must be rough on a baby that still needs more rest. She would run and hide behind Happy when she saw us coming. In the end we had to catch her to be able to administer the medications. I was afraid she would never trust us again because she didn’t know us any other way! What was remarkable is that “she always had her ears up” even when she felt terrible as if she was saying “I’m not giving up - I waited too long to get here and I am not leaving now!” She tried to do what babies love to do: run and play and kick her heals up - but she just couldn’t – her lungs wouldn’t let her. Her mother “Happy” was wonderful through all of it as well. Her first baby – what an experience!

It took the baby a couple of weeks without shots to realize we were not so bad afterall. We did not push the issue. Today she runs to us when she sees us coming to get her hugs! She is a Sweet Miracle. Sweet Miracle is what we named her!

We would like to extend a Special Thank You to Jon and Mary Nissen, Lazy N Ranch for being so very helpful, for taking their time and giving us advice when we desperately needed it.  We are very grateful!

 

 

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The Little Friends Ranch

Nadia Attia-O'Bryan

1034 Carl Crisp Rd.

Almo, KY 42020

270-753-9270

 

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