Morris rejoins the family

Morris has spent the week recovering from his gelding operation and I have spent the weekend recovering from the vet´s bill! Two hundred Euros. Never mind: it took two vets on a home visit and it was an hour-long operation, so that´s the cost you would expect.

There was torrential rain across the Costa Blanca on Friday afternoon. It was not as serious as the disaster further south in Murcia and Andalucia where there were reports of animals, including donkeys, being washed away in the flood waters. However, it meant I could not return Morris to the rest of the family on Friday evening as I had planned. The girls, Matilde, Rubí and Aitana, all went into the stable to shelter. I thought it best to leave Morris out in the rain in his separate pen, rather than risk a fight if I returned him to join them, after four months separation, in closely confined space.

Consequently, it was a damp and bedraggled Morris who rejoined the family the next morning, when the rain had passed and the field was a completely muddy mess. The video quality is not very good but at least it records the moment Morris was reunited with Rubí and then joined the three girls to eat his breakfast from the common manger.

First he tried to drink milk from Rubí but found there was none to be had, as she is now dry. That was a bit sad. Then he affectionately bit her, but this was quite a contrast to the aggressive biting she had to endure before he was separated from her last June. Later (not captured on video) Morris and Rubí began mutual grooming again, which was good to see. It is something that Matilde has never established with her foal Aitana, and maybe the example of Rubí and Morris will encourage that.

It is just before Morris´s first birthday. Seeing him rejoining his mother reminded me of that lovely October morning last year when I sat down to watch Rubí eating her breakfast with her tiny little foal staggering around in the bright sun, enjoying his first new morning. It was a very magic moment and I was filled with the sheer wonder of the newborn animal with his kitten-soft coat, big eyes, long ears and spindly legs. Later that same day, Aitana was born to Matilde.

Next weekend we shall have two birthdays to celebrate. Their birthdays are during the working week, so we´ll celebrate with a picnic at the weekend.


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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4 Responses to Morris rejoins the family

  1. Barbara says:

    Does’t time pass quickly? Dalie and I have nearly reached Nantes, having started at Pte Sainte Matthieu. This is her last long walk, she is 22 years old. She will still pull her cart on local trips. It will be hard to replace her, Filou is a lovely chap but needs to be ridden rather than led, and I am too heavy for him. I need to find someone who can use him and his “horse” character.

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    Yes, I´m sure it will be hard to replace Dalie. Amazing the way she judges distances: she knows exactly whether the saddlebags will pass through a certain width of gate (unlike my donkey nutcases who will charge through any narrow space and let the pannier bags get ripped off the pack-saddle!) Dalie is a real character too, a good companion. But I thought the working life of a donkey was a bit longer than 22 years? They live to forty, so that´s a more comfortable long retirement than even I can look forward to at this rate!

    I bet it´s cold in Nantes compared to here. Have you been camping on the way?

  3. Barbara says:

    Oh, she won’t stop altogether. But we won’t be doing a month at a time. Forty is pretty much donkey max, sometime between thirtyfive and forty is usual. She will still be doing day trips with the cart, which is easier for her, four wheeled cart and collar on fairly flat terrain.

  4. Barbara says:

    Just to add, camping when I don’t have a choice. Of course, that is ALWAYS a way to ensure a cold morning……

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