Burros


Yesterday was a wonderful day. The Boyz have a new sister. She’s a BLM beauty and we’ve named her Gracie. ♥

Because I’m still weirdly emotional over Fergus’s death and 7MSN’s Carson was there with us, I asked her to tell the story. I hope you don’t mind.

We are still in disbelief. Waves of tears have been shed here over the last three days, and more are sure to come.

The last time we saw Fergus alive was 8:3o Thursday night when Don and I walked around the pasture with the boys before calling it a day. Our beautiful boy Fergus was perfectly fine. He was not sick.

We got up as usual on Friday morning. While Don got in the shower, I walked to the kitchen to prepare morning meals for children. I looked out the window and saw something wrong… very wrong. The boys were standing around something on the ground in the corral… what it was I couldn’t tell. I walked closer to the window and realized it was one of the boys. Initially, I thought it was Patrick, but couldn’t be sure. I ran into the bathroom and shouted, “Don, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease come outside now!!!!!!!!!!!”

I ran outside to find Fergus on the ground with his brothers standing around him braying frantically and pawing at the ground. Fergus was dead. Oh, why? Why? Why? I dropped to the ground and laid over him, sobbing. Oh my god, why? He was still warm.

Don came outside a few moments later and we tried to process what was in front of us. Disbelief. Why, why, why? Ellsworth continued to bray nonstop.

I went in to call the vet. Because we had no idea how Fergus died, we were very concerned about the other boys. At 6 am, we got Dr. D right on the phone… a godsend. Without the need for any discussion, Don and I agreed to have an autopsy performed and for Fergus to be cremated.

While we waited for Fergus to be picked up, the following events and observations occurred. We are not positive what happened in what order because we were in shock.

Don lovingly brushed Fergus. Ellsworth brayed frantically nonstop. We had to separate Bernard, Ellsworth, Nigel and Patrick from Fergus because they kept pawing and biting at him… telling Fergus to please wake up. Nigel was the last to say good-bye. He walked around Fergus twice… very slowly… smelling, looking, touching… We put a clean white sheet over Fergus. We cut hair from Fergus’s head and tail. I kissed his face as many times as I could. 

Fergus seemed to have planned everything down to the last detail. He positioned his body so that it would be in the shade of the bell tower when the sun rose in the sky.

The ground under Fergus was undisturbed. There was absolutely no sign of a struggle. Rather, Fergus looked peaceful… as if he had just dropped right there and gone to sleep.

Nigel watched with us as the man put Fergus on the trailer.  Fergus left Morning Bray Farm at 10:30 am.

Fergus’s autopsy revealed nothing obvious or conclusive. Dr. D thinks it was most likely an individual, catastrophic event… a heart attack, stroke or aneurism perhaps. He explained that the more sudden the death, the less likely we are to know why.

The boys haven’t uttered a peep since Fergus left on Friday morning. Morning Bray Farm is very, very quiet.

Annette said it perfectly on Carson’s blog Saturday: “This is the absolute hardest part about having animals. When they are old and have lived a full life it is still hard but it makes sense. When they are suddenly and unexpectedly gone when you’ve done everything right with their care… it’s impossible.”

Don and I talked about the “why” all weekend. Don thinks this has been in the plans all along. Fergus made sure that his best friend was saved from the holding pen at the BLM… and once Fergus was sure that Nigel was always going to be taken care of, he was able to let go and move on to help another.

On Friday evening, as we were standing out in the pasture with the boys, a V of geese flew over Morning Bray Farm. The first in months. We’re sure it was a sign from Fergus, the goose herder… herding geese over us to let us know he was alright.

My god, Fergus. We miss you so much. We will always, always love you. We promise to take care of Nigel. Promise. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

And yes, my love, we’re smiling because you happened.

Thank you all for your condolences. We can’t possibly begin to tell you how much your support has meant to us… it has helped to keep us somewhat sane. Sending love from all of us to all of you.

We’ve had a wonderful week of firsts at Morning Bray Farm.

On Saturday, Ellsworth rode with his new headstall, bit and reins for the first time. One day later, Patrick was wearing his first fly mask and loving it. Then, on Monday, Ellsworth and I had our first riding lesson together. We even got him ever so briefly up to a trot.

Despite all of the excitement and activity here, Don and I always make it a point to spend time with every one of our critters every day… even if just for a few one-on-one uninterrupted minutes.

For the very first time on Tuesday, Nigel let me really brush him. We’ve brushed him before, but he never allowed us to brush him for more than a few minutes… and definitely not all over. 

This time, Nigel allowed me to brush him until the comb ran cleanly through his hair… about 20 minutes. We took a medium-sized dog’s worth of hair from him.

I throw the boys’ hair over the fence so that the birds can nest with it, and so Bernard doesn’ t eat it.

Yesterday, Nigel graduated to a dandy brush and the FURminator. Again, he stood quietly while I brushed and brushed and brushed him.

It looks like he has a gorgeous black coat underneath all of his old, dirty hair.

Being that Nigel is four years old this year and this is the first time he’s accepting regular grooming, we can’t wait to see what the boy underneath really looks like.

Beautiful, for sure. ♥ ♥ ♥

Watching Bernard, Ellsworth and George exhausted Lucy and Alan

Those crazy boys never stopped moving.

Alan thought George had lost his marbles.

Why was George cavorting with the city boys like that?

Oh, how they played and played and played!

What a posse. Small, medium and large. ♥

If you visited Carson’s blog over at 7MSN today, you already know that Bernard and Ellsworth were there yesterday for a play date and that Carson and I took an obscene number of pictures.

Bernard and Ellsworth had the time of their lives with the 7MSN herd. While the humans laughed and watched, the boys and beautiful Lucy ran and cavorted like they were enjoying a day in heaven on earth.

There were moments though, that Lucy and Alan seemed incredulous. Stay tuned to see what they were watching. ♥

It was one year ago on April 16 that we brought Fergus and Nigel home from the BLM holding facility in Canon City, Colorado.

And it was last week that we received Certificates of Title for them and their adoption became official.

A wild horse or burro actually belongs to the Federal government until the BLM issues a Certificate of Title.  After you’ve had the animal for one year, the BLM sends you a Title Eligibility Letter, which you must have signed by a qualified person (such as a veterinarian, county extension agent, or humane official) verifying that you have provided humane care and treatment for your adopted animal. Once you sign and return the Title Eligibility Letter, the BLM mails a Certificate of Title to you. After you receive the Certificate of Title, the animal becomes your private property.

There was a lot of excitement here at Morning Bray Farm the afternoon the big brown envelope from the BLM arrived in our mailbox. Don showed Fergus his certificate, and Fergus rejoiced at the news of his adoption being official.

Patrick was very excited about all the commotion and wanted to know where his certificate was.

Don’t you worry, sweet boy. You’re not going anywhere and you’re officially a part of this herd, okay?

Then Don showed Nigel his certificate.

And Nigel gave his lip of approval.

Both Fergus and Nigel have come so far in the past year. We’re so thankful that they’re here with us and part of the amazing herd at Morning Bray Farm. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Our friends Stanley and Cindy did it again. They captured the emotion of every moment they were here last Saturday.

Just like they did last August.

Thank you once again, Stanley and Cindy. ♥  You both are amazing, talented and wonderful… and the boyz love you! (So do we.)

You can also visit Lei Photography on Facebook here. ♥

We put the burro brothers in a stall yesterday afternoon so I could work with Nigel.

The next time our farrier visits will be a year to the day short one week of when Fergus and Nigel came to Morning Bray Farm, and Nigel needs a pedicure.

We still haven’t managed to get a halter on Nigel because he’s extremely hand shy when it comes to having his face touched.

He loves being scritched everywhere else, but please don’t touch his face, he says.

Fergus did a smashing good job of being a supportive brother though.

He even brought out his best goober face to make Nigel laugh. Fergus learned well from Bernard, don’t you think?

All things considered, I called our session a success because I was able to clean out Nigel’s eye boogers for the first time. ♥

Two weeks ago, we were wondering what was going on with Fergus’s tail.

This week, we’re calling Fergus a badass. Figuratively, though, because of his hip new haircut.

Literally, definitely not. In reality, Fergus is quickly establishing himself as the sweetheart of the herd. ♥ ♥ ♥

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