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Saturday November 18, 2017
18
Jun

The Seven Dwarfs


Written by Baron
Category: Humor
Hits: 3761

I'd just about recovered from my run-in with King a few months back (see "You Just Have To Know How To Handle 'Em, Ma'am"), and things were settling down into the old routine. You know, nine days' worth of work, but only seven days in the week to do it. Fall had taken a pretty good grip, and the air had a crispness to it that added a little "spring" to my step. Yeah, I was actually looking forward to getting snowed in, and sitting in front of the fireplace, wood cracklin', with the young 'uns underfoot.

I was out at the barn trimming one of my Percherons (you'd a thought after my experience with King I'd never want to lay eyes on one of 'em again, but I'd just bought two of 'em, and the reason why's a whole 'nother story), when the phone rang. I reached out and grabbed the cordless phone, pushed the "answer" button, tucked it under my chin, and kept on rasping. (Lord, I love modern technology!) It was a young lady who wanted to know if I'd come out and trim her seven miniature donkeys. She said they hadn't been done in a while, and they all stood less than 30 inches at the withers. Well, I thought to myself, if this ain't ironic. Here I am tucked under 1,800 pounds of horseflesh, and I'm getting a request to trim critters that can't weigh more than 225 pounds each, soaking wet. "Why sure," I said, visions of some easy money floating through my head, "I'll be out there in no time."

Now I'm not a complete fool (though there's some that'll debate that point with much vigor), so' I packed a couple extra nylon leads and halters, and, just for good measure, took a few syringes and a new bottle of Ace. (I've become a dyed-in-the-wool believer in Murphyls Law!) I sharpened up the ole hoofknife, packed the whole outfit into the truck, and off I went, destiny awaitin'.

When I arrived at the farm, I was met by a fine-looking young filly named Joan (and my wife still thinks I do this cause I enjoy the smell of cleaning out thrushy hooves!), who showed me to the paddock holding the miniature donkeys. There they were, the seven dwarfs, all looking at me, with these big, sad-looking eyes, cute little noses, and funny-looking ears. Sorta reminded me of those picture postcards from Mexico. It wasn't a big paddock, maybe 60 by 100, with a small stream meandering through it. Not a blade of grass in sight. Matter of fact, there wasn't anything edible in sight inside that paddock. Looked like a swarm of locusts had desended upon the place and had their fill. Now that's not to say these critters were starvin'. Contrarily, they were just as fat and sassy as could be. And that's when I noticed the hooves. You know what they mean when they say "elves' feet?" That's when the hooves haven't been trimmed in so long that they've grown into a semi-circle, maybe 8 or 10 inches long. Every one of these critters was sporting elves' feet.

"Oh well," I said to myself, "you're here, so you may as well do 'em." I turned to the young lady and asked her to rustle up a halter and lead shank. She said there was none to be had. Then she explained that these critters really weren't hers, she was just keeping 'em on her farm for their owner. All she did was feed 'em. "Well," I said to myself, "good thing you brought the extra equipment." So I handed her a halter and lead shank, and off she went to grab the first victim. Soon as she stepped into the paddock she was fairly mobbed by the tiny critters. All I could see was Joan surrounded by noses and ears. You'd a thought it was Christmas, and she was Santa. But then they caught sight of the halter and lead shank! Glory be, they put themselves in reverse warp drive, as Cap'n Kirk would say. Never saw anything so small move so fast. Well, it took a little patience, and bribery, but Joan caught one, put the halter on, snapped on the lead shank, and tried to lead the donkey out. Well, this critter wanted nothing to do with whatever was gonna happen on the other side o' that fence. He just planted his four tiny hooves, and froze, statue-like.

After a few fruitless minutes of struggling, with no observable forward progress being made, I decided to lend a hand. Now I figured Joan probably weighed in at 110 soaking wet, (a very appealing thought, I might add!) and added to my (lean and mean) 158, we easily outweighed that little critter by 50 pounds. So with Joan pushing from the rear end and my hauling up front, we pulled the donkey out of the paddock and over to a grassy area, leaving four little unbroken skid marks the whole way. Gotta give that critter credit. He'd made up his mind and never changed it.

I learned a passle 'bout miniature donkeys right fast! They bite, kick, scream, squirm, jump (shake, rattle and roll!), and that's just for starters. Once they warm up, they're hell on hooves. It dawned on me why they hadn't been trimmed in at least two years! "Why is it always me" I asked myself. There we were, two humans who handily outweighed these critters, and are supposedly a sight smarter, being made into chopped liver. It was almost enough to make me nostalgic about doing King again.

We went through this routine three times. Finally I'd had enough. "Joan", I said, "I've had enough. I'm getting out the Ace." And off to the truck I hobbled. Now if any of you out there use Ace, (and in today's world of instant litigation I don't recommend it!), you'll know that the normal dosage is 1cc per 500 pounds of body weight. Theoretically, then, (don't you just love those big words?) 1cc was twice what these donkeys needed to "take the edge off." Joan caught the fourth donkey, I put 2cc into the syringe, gave it a shot, and we let it go. Then we stood around for 20 minutes and watched for some sign that it was taking effect. We saw nothing. Zip. Zero. The big enchilada. Finally I decided to start. Joan caught the donkey again (I must admit it didn't evade quite as much as before), we dragged it out (some things never change), and I went to work.

Mind you, this critter had four times the recommended dosage coursing through his tiny body. Did it show? Was it the slightest bit effective? Was I spared the wrath and injustices dealt to me by his previous three cohorts? No way! Matter of fact, this one didn't even wait for me to start. He bit me not once, but twice, just for good measure, before I even picked out his hooves.

Things were definitely not working out. I still had three more to go, but it may as well have been 300. My pride was battered (as was the rest of me), and all by these dinky little critters that you always see in the western movies being ridden calmly down the road by some overweight friar. It was time to out-think these donkeys, 'cause brute force simply wasn't the ticket. (And I didn't think l'd last that long.) So I retired to the bumper of my pick-up, where I do some of my best thinking, and surveyed the situation. I needed an edge. Something the donkeys couldn't beat. They had to realize I meant business!

That's when I spotted it. Of course it's not something I normally carry around, but I knew it was what I needed now. "What was it?" you may be asking, perched on the edge of your chair, doughnut stopped half-way to your mouth by the tension and excitement generated by my discovery. Why, a bush-hog, of course. A big old, rusty 10-foot-wide rotary mower that probably hadn't been used in 20 years. But providence had left it there for me! (Of that I was sure.)

So Joan went out and caught the fifth donkey. I gave it a shot of 4cc of Ace, and then we waited 20 minutes. Now I'll have to admit that this critter might have actually taken one or two steps along the way while we were dragging him outta the field, but don't bet on it. Then I put a second halter on, added a second nylon lead shank, and before he knew what was happening, I tied him real short to the tongue of the bush-hog and stepped back. 'Bout 10 seconds later, the critter figured out he'd been had. He yelled, kicked, jumped, and tried every other escape tactic in the book. (And this is with 4cc of Ace in him!) Now I thought donkeys were smarter than that, but this critter even bit the bush-hog once or twice. And then it happened. After 10 minutes of this maniacal, frenetic activity, he realized in that little mind of his that he was beat. It was hopeless. Victory was mine. He stood there, eyes looking mean as ever, sweat rollin' down his sides. But he was standing still. And he continued to stand still for the whole trim.

Joan and I followed the same modus operandi with donkey number six. He wasn't quite as calm. Seems no one ever told him there's a time to give up. But that old bush-hog still was a sight load better than trying to hold the critter and fend off teeth and hooves with one hand while trying to trim with the other. But number seven threw us a curve. He wouldn't be caught. Round and round and round we went. We tried everything, but to no avail. He obviously didn't want a date with the bush-hog.

Now one thing I didn't tell you about this paddock at the beginning of this tale. At one end there stood an old farrowing shed, built right into the fence line. And the shed had a door in it, apparently so the farmer could let his hogs out directly into the paddock. When I saw the door, the idea came to me. I walked over, opened the door, threw some corn on the floor, and then Joan and I started to chase number seven again.

Now, have you ever noticed how you can walk into a field of horses with the intention of catching one, and it's the only one in the field that won't let you near it? All the others in the field are as chummy as can be. They'll come right over, rub up so close they're like green on a frog. But the one you want is always just beyond reach. It knows. And so do all the others.

That about sums up the scene here. The other six donkeys were sort of standing around, or milling aimlessly, while number seven was cuttin' corners like Tony Dorset. But slowly, ever so slowly, we managed to get him over to the side of the paddock with the open door. And then we started to close in, me from the right, Joan from the left. Number seven started to look a little nervous, and was about to dash down the middle (again) when he spotted something that hadn't been there before : THE DOOR. The trap was set, and he took it. Wheeling around, he dashed through the door and into a small stall, with me right behind. I blocked the door, and Joan ducked in with two halters and lead shanks. We had 'im. Another shot, another 20-minute wait, one last "donkey drag" out of the paddock, and a short hitch to ye old bush-hog. But this guy just wouldn't give up. For a full 30 minutes he gave us a show that would've put a champion bucking horse to shame. You may not believe this, but I'm not twisting your tail: That little donkey shifted that bush-hog a good six inches!

I finally finished him and washed myself off at Joan's kitchen sink. Considering what I'd been through, it was a miracle nothing was broken. I was sure I'd pulled every muscle in my back and both arms. Joan paid me and I left.

Little did I know that the toughest challenge of the day still awaited me: explaining to my wife what those teeth marks were doing all over my derriere.

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