This is Georgia.
Here she is with her mother, Cheney. Georgia is the larger, darker one.
Georgia and Cheney were the first farm animals we got when we moved here nine years ago. We were told that they were mother and daughter, and we really have no idea how old they are, except that they are more than nine years old. The guy said he thought they were something like four and six or six and eight and I knew he probably was lying and they were more like fourteen and sixteen.
The farriers have told us that they are well into their teens and probably in their twenties.
Anyway, they have always been our bad, naughty donkeys. I’ve written a bit about them.
We have loved them. We love to hear them bray. I used to worry that their braying would bother the neighbors and then I found out that our neighbors love it too. Braying donkeys make me smile.
Dave was out at the barn after milking tonight, filling water buckets. I had come back to the house to deal with the milk and clean the machine.
And Dave heard Cheney braying.
He knew something was wrong, just by the way she was braying. So he went looking for her. He found her with Georgia.
Georgia has died.
She was lying down near the back fence, and Dave said that she looked like she simply dropped.
She’s been doing poorly for quite some time. She foundered, we had two different farriers out to fix her feet, she’d be a little bit better for a while and then she’d start looking ill again. When the vet was out here with Frances that day, we had him take a look at her.
He said that donkeys sometimes get adrenal problems and that it looked like that might be the problem. I asked him if it was treatable and he said, well, yes. Sort of. It was the “sort of” that stopped me. He kind of shrugged a little and said, “You know she’s pretty old.” And that was my answer.
What he was telling me was “Yes, we can treat it, if that’s the problem, but she’s old, it will cost a pure fortune and it probably won’t give her much time anyway, and maybe no quality of life.”
Georgia was sweet and we loved her, but she and Cheney were and are farm animals. They have a job. They aren’t house pets. We can’t run an old folks home for farm animals. If we try to do that, we’ll go broke and not be able to have any animals at all.
We gave her nine very good years. She was petted and pampered, as far as the average farm donkey is concerned. We provided shelter for her in winter when the weather was bad. Most don’t get that. She and Georgia have their own stall, which they always shared.
We will miss her.
But not as much as Cheney will.
I suspect we’ll have to find another donkey soon. They are herd animals.
You were a good one, Georgia.
And now I’m going to go cry a little bit.