Follow up vet visit for our Belle yesterday. She hasn’t been making progress as quickly as we had all hoped, but she IS making progress. There was a low point when I feared we might have to put her down (because I go worst case scenario...that's what PANDAS moms do) but she’s a fighter.
This morning she was up at the hay ring for breakfast, a good thing, because bringing a donkey breakfast in bed isn’t exactly easy.
(Picture for proof. And yes, that is a bow in her braided mane. Just don’t tell Belle, or my girls, that she’s not a show horse.)
Unfortunately, a donkey who has foundered as badly as she has in the past, is more likely to founder again, and again, and each time it has the potential to be worse than the last. Our family Vet has been educating us on the nature of chronic laminitis, and how recurring bouts are likely, in some cases the coffin bone can go through the hoof...which is not a good prognosis, but thankfully that didn't happen to our Belle. There are a lot of theories on how to prevent it, and what causes it, but implementing those on a milking donkey is exceptionally tricky...which makes us extra grateful to have an equine vet who also understands how important the milk is to us, and the kids who drink it.
Losing Belle would have been...well, I don’t even want to think about it. Beyond losing one of our special donkeys, we would have lost her baby (she's pregnant), and the milk that we were counting on for kids next fall.
I try to be positive in our posts, but I also want to be real. This has been a hard spring. Losing Ginger a few weeks after buying her. And now June, the other "bred" donkey we bought with Ginger, looks like she isn't really bred. Two other donkeys that we bought as bred for spring babies, aren't. With a year gestation, each miscarriage, each loss, is extra hard to take.
We now have 25 mammoth donkeys.
At the moment, two of them are in milk.
The rest of them, we feed. A lot.
Did I mention that donkeys don't produce much milk?
When you do the math, that doesn't add up.
When we started bringing in milk from Europe last year, it was to help us with the milk wait list, and so we could ship it across the USA to more families that need it. Now, we're so grateful to have it as a backup for the families here that depend on our milk.
We'll also be using freeze dried milk in our soap in the very near future. Because, kids come first. And ya'all don't care if our soap doesn't taste the same.
Please, tell me I don't need a disclaimer telling anyone not to eat soap. Please? Don't eat soap. Really....
Donkey Milk Soap: Not edible. Hello Lye.
Donkey Milk: Edible. No lye. Get it? No lie...lye...sorry, soap humor, cracking myself up.
Pic below for reference. (Soap. Milk. Soap. Left to right. Or, right to left. Whatever.)
We didn't see this coming. But God did. And He's providing for our kids, every step of the way. Even the hard ones.
PS. Belle foundered badly before we bought her and she's on a dry lot, and we didn't change her feed. And she didn't get into a bag of dog food. Please don't judge, equine friends.
PSS. We rarely needed a vet, ever, before this year. And if you want to hear about how God provides exactly what we need, when we need it and not a moment before, read the story of Snow White.
PSSS. I need to go back and read that story now. Because I need a reminder. Again. Spiritual amnesia is real. If you think that I write this stuff just for ya'all, you're wrong. I write it for me. To remember. And for my girls. Because someday they may wonder why mommy's hair turned white overnight (it hasn't, yet, but again, worst case scenario). They may need to see how God worked this thing out for us, and pretty much forced us to milk donkeys, like it or not. And why trips to Disney Land don't fit into Donkey Milk schedules. And how a certain Veterinarian and his family adopted our little farm and helped us through some critical times that would have broken us otherwise.
So, maybe they'll understand a little more, when they're all grown up and doing something crazy for the sake of their kids.
Even if that means milking donkeys.