Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. ----Discussion Forum

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Kim V.
We put Sophie down this morning, a week ago she started showing weakness in her hind quarter and was losing her balance, falling down and having difficulty getting back up. We had the vet out and were trying treatment of anti-inflamatory meds and steroids but she wasn't getting any better. 

We left her in the pasture for an hour after, so Lana, Jasper and Flora could say their goodbyes. They all stood around her, nuzzling and smelling her. After about an hour they walked away one by one back out to pasture to graze. 

Sad part of ownership is the responsibility, for better or worse.... I love that little donkey, but I know she is in a better place. Saddest part is this is the 5th years I've had them, which means she belonged to us now.
Scott and Karen have been very supportive.... I'm very grateful for the opportunity they provided.


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Sorry to hear about your loss. It is the worse thing about having equines. I'm sure you two has many great days together.
Oh Kim. My heart goes out to you.  I am so sorry you lost a part of your family.  Thank you for being there for Sophie.  You are the best.
Sorry to hear about Sophie. I hope you find comfort in the memories and that she had an awesome home with you and ended her days with love.
I am so sorry to hear about Sophie. Much love to you and your family ❤️
Donna R
Kim, I'm so sorry for your loss.  You have provided a great, loving home for your Sophie.  
Kim Van Drisse
Jasper and Flora (we call her Grandma or Fiona) are doing fine since we let Sophie go to the big pasture in the sky. They would wander over to where we put Sophie down a few times a day at first, sniff and lick the ground, but the last week or so they have not been. So I guess its business as usual. 
Was a bit worried about Flora the Friday before last as she came up very lame but was lucky that the farrier was scheduled to come out and we discovered she had a abscess. Thats all cleared up and she is back to normal. 
Flies are horrendous so they hang out in the barn during the day and then head out to the pasture in the evenings where the grass is taller than they are. I put Midge Magic on their legs every few days and it helps. 
We do have to have one of our dogs put down next week, she's 13 and pretty crippled up with arthritis - beagle blue heeler mixes are the best but they like to chase cars and bite tires. Mitzy is pretty lucky and we think she's had 9 lives... but its time for her to head to the hunting grounds in the sky and be out of pain. The responsibility of pet ownership sucks sometimes. ~Kim 
I somehow missed reading about your loss of Sophie.  So hard and so heartbreaking.  I am glad that Jasper and Grandma/Fiona are both doing fine and accepting the change.  I so feel for you having to go through this again with your dog.  You will be in my thoughts.
Sorry to hear about Mitzy. Sounds like she's had a great life with you! I hope that brings you comfort on the day you put her down. Especially so soon after Sophie was put down.
Was there a diagnosis on what was causing Sophies weakness and medical issues? I ask because I have a mini donkey and I like to keep myself aware of what conditions and issues are out there. Especially the serious ones.

Thank you
Kim V.
Not sure what happened with Sophie, to be honest, I think my horse might of been playing rough in the pasture and perhaps ran her over or knocked her down? She could of fallen and hurt herself on the side of the hill... The vet couldn't find any injury when he examined her and she didn't have any other symptoms other than weakness in the hind end. She was bright eyed, no temp, eating, trying to get around with the others but would loose her balance behind, like the leg was weak and she would fall. We had her on steroids and pain meds for a week but there was no improvement. ~Kim
That sucks! Sorry again about your loss. I think not having a definite answer can make the loss worse sometimes. But there's no doubt she had a great home and great care with you!
I should add that a good friend of mine had something similar happen to her donkey. It was years ago but after reading about Sophie it was somewhat similar. Her vet thought it was neurological but no definite answer or diagnosis. He was in his teens and healthy up until his symptoms came on also. Not sure if that makes you feel better but sometimes you don't get an answer
Kim V.
My vet felt it could be neurological as well. US Davis has only heard of 1 donkey that contracted EPM, but it was never confirmed. Lymes and West Nile came to mind as well, even though they were vaccinated for West Nile. All 3, EPM, Lymes and WN have other symptoms as well, but the only one she presented was the weakness in the hind. 

We choose quality over quantity of life - daily treatment of oral meds or injections would of made her miserable - she didn't like oral meds and would fall when we were treating her for that week, risking further injury. So we chose to let her go to the great pasture in the sky rather than subject her to treatment that could cause further harm. 

We are putting our Mitzy dog down today... its time... she's 13, has cancer and no longer can use the hind leg that she had surgery on when she was 1.

Its been a tough year, lost my best friends son to suicide in February, then my step-mom and mother-in-law in April, then Sophie the donkey and now Mitzy.... their memories bring me joy though... and well, we need to carry on.

Thanks ~ Kim
Wow. You have had a tough year. Sorry about all your losses. That's hard. Hope the rest of your year is brighter.
Kim V.
Well, after asking for 5 years, I finally have a decent drylot. I fenced off an acre of my pasture (that I worked so hard to get thick, green, lush and weed free), made a 15' wide path/track around the outside of it and sprayed the inside area with roundup and killed all the grass. I mowed it a few times to get the dried grass down to dirt and then dragged it. Its big, its ugly and its brown and yellow. I have been trying to get Chip to disk it but he is reluctant because of the amount of rock we have here, it'll be plain dirt soon enough. Lana, Flora and Jasper have their hay feeder out there instead of on the cement where its been... till it snows anyway... Not sure if or when I'll let them back on the grass track... they are all so fat. A friend of mine recently lost her horse to laminitus and I've had to admit that I am killing my animals slowly with too much green grass. 
So, I'm weighing 1st crop grass hay and putting it in a slow feed hay net out there... they have walk 3 times as far to eat now... they've been scrounging for any green leaves they can find but thats not many. It'll cost more in the short term to feed hay year round, and its more work, but it'll cost less in the long run if it keeps everyone healthier. Its been a week so far... everyone is still talking to me... ~Kim
Jenni O.
Kim, so sorry to hear about your losses, human and animal. It seems like that stuff tends to pile on in a short period of time.

I feed hay year round too, with the horses on dry lot the majority of the time. I just don't have enough pasture, but Pea wouldn't do well on it 24/7 anyway. You'll get used to the ugly part.😄
Donna R

You have been busy!

I also have recently been rationing hay for most of our herd for the sake of their health.   Aries and our two 26 year old mares get hay in a bale barn 24/7.  The rest have two dry lot areas, one being for the minis.  I can open an area for the horses to get hay out of the netted bale barns during the day and I close it off at night.  The minis get less.  They all look so much better.  We also have to feed year round.  I'm pleased with how much less hay we are going through.  

Our farrier was out recently and kept remarking about how great our herd looks.  She was especially impressed with Tyson and Thunder, our two mini donkeys.  They thought her comments were overrated...Oh and they seem to voice their opinion much more now[smile] 
Kim Van Drisse

Been a while since an update….. 6 months…. Time keeps marching on. Jasper and Flora are doing well. Too well probably. My husband took over chores for winter and wasn’t weighing hay…. Eek… Well, to be honest, they have been fat forever and I doubt if that’s ever going to change.

I had surgery in December and my mom passed away on Christmas day…. Was a year of huge losses…. (including hitting a milestone of 143lbs lost over 4 years) and I am hoping that 2020 brings many miles of horse back riding, smiles, laughter and happy tears.

I found a source for barley straw for the donkeys  - I feed half straw and half 1st crop grass hay in a slow feeder – and now its weighed…. 5lbs straw and 10 lbs hay… doesn’t sound like a lot but my mare spends the majority of her time digging in the snow for grass and rarely eats the hay… the donks are also bedded in straw (which they eat) so they are getting plenty. Plus they get a vitamin mineral pellet…. I’m learning to trim hooves… I have an awesome barefoot trimmer that comes every 5-6 weeks and she is mentoring me… its hard work! Glad the donks are quiet and tame cause I have to either sit or kneel to do them. I did get a rolling stool but it doesn’t roll very well on bedding.

Anyway, just wanted to say Hello, share an update… even though the donks are mine now… they have a fan club and wanted everyone to know they are doing awesome and are well loved.


Jenni O.
Thanks for the update.  They are well loved and cared for, that's for sure.
Heike B
So sorry to hear about your mom, Kim.  It sounds like you had another challenging year.  Good for you for persevering with your health goal.  That's amazing; you should be very proud.  I too have lost over a hundred pounds, unfortunately it's the same 20, over and over and over again.  ha, sorry, not trying to make light of your post, or your accomplishment, just saying I've had trouble sticking with it.   Your hooved family is very lucky to have you, and I do hope that you have an amazing 2020.

Jasper and Flora - 16 & 19 yrs.

$600 - Jasper and Flora are two donkeys that have been a part of MHWF for years and we have gotten to know them well over those years. They stand at about 36-38 inches tall at the withers (Jasper a little taller). Flora is 19 years old and Jasper is 16. Flora is Jasper's Aunt and they have been together their entire lives. They are very bonded and we will not split them up. The adoption fee is for the pair and they come with tons of very nice tack, like blankets, fly leggings, muzzles, etc. all of it new or like new. Both these two are super easy going, very talkative and very friendly. Like most donkeys, they are stand-off-ish at first, but once they know you, they are as easy to work with as it gets. They say hi at every chore time and are pretty good for the vet and farrier. They are also current on their shots, de-wormings, hoof trims and have brand new Coggins. If you ever wanted a pair of really nice, easy going donkeys, there are the two you were waiting for. Sadly, their adopter, who loved them dearly, had to give them up because she has to take an apartment in town, so they are here waiting to brighten up someone else's life. They have always had good care and handling and it is apparent when you meet them.

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I was hanging out with Jasper and Flora last evening, and Jasper made sure that he reminded me how much he loves his hinder scratched.  It really made me smile that he reminded me and the memories of that from almost 6 years ago came right back for me.  
Joan F.
OMG they are so cute.  I have to say I am becoming a HUGE Donkey lover. They are such characters.

I hope they find a new home fast.
Jan N
Hey Joan,

Maybe your wish for fast home-finding did the trick?  I see a Tentatively adopted label for these lovely donks on the Adoption page! Hurrah!!


Ernie the Super Mule went on to his new home yesterday and is going to bestow his super mule powers upon anyone who meets him in his new digs.  Ernie will also be a part of an equine assisted learning program.  Heidi, who adopted Mariah from MHWF and also Mia Bella from the Midwest Rescue Horse Trainers Challenge, adopted not only Ernie but also Flora and Jasper, the two adorable little donks!  Flora and Jasper will also bestow their super donk powers upon all who meet them and also be a part of an equine assisted learning program.  I can't think of better equines for the job.  It was a super cool day yesterday because Scott and I got to deliver Flora, Jasper and Ernie to their new home ourselves and be part of them settling in.  It was awesome to see Ernie and Mariah see each other, and Ernie want to be with the girls from across the gate (Ernie loves horses of any age, sex or breed).  
A little odd fact about Ernie:  He is the only equine to grace our pastures who took part in mutual grooming with absolutely every single equine in his pasture here, and he lived in the big pasture.  That is quite a variety of horses!  You know how horses have their own little clicks and mini herds - Ernie got along with absolutely everyone and they all loved Ernie.  One of Ernie's most special super powers here at MHWF was to welcome new equines and make them feel at home.  He was so good at that.  We will really miss him around here, but we are equally as happy that he found such a great home!  

Flora and Jasper are two of the sweetest little donks we've ever met.  They lived with Kim for the past 6 years or so, and it really showed on these two how much she loved them and what great care she took of them.  They adore attention.  I will miss how little Jasper lets you know that he'd like his butt scratched, and how Flora would lean in and put her head right on the front of your legs for attention.  Their songs were beautiful and I missed hearing them this morning.  I am so thrilled that they found such a wonderful home with Heidi and so many others are going to be able to enjoy all the love these three magnificent creatures have to give.  

Thank you Heidi, and big congratulations!  

Here are some pictures yesterday from Heidi's place with Ernie, Flora and Jasper arriving.  There is a series of three photos where Ernie laid down and rolled, then sat up like a dog...then Flora had to do the same in the same spot, followed by Jasper.  So cute and funny.  

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