JB is doing just fine, thank you!

September 25, 2009

by Neil Clarkson

The three amigos - Burrito looks less than amused with his new bovine buddies ...

.. but they don't actually taste too bad!

A white donkey foal whose mum was shot dead in Florida within minutes of his birth has a new name and is tackling life head-on.

JB, as he became known, made headlines early in May after his mum was shot dead just as her wee boy was born in a pasture in Cantonment, a suburb about 16km north of downtown Pensacola.

The owners were notified by the local sheriff's department that night. They quickly located the orphaned foal and began bottle-feeding him.

However, they realised they would be too busy to give the tiny donkey the care he would need in his first months of life and handed him over to Panhandle Equine Rescue.

The care of JB - which was short for Jacks Branch Rd, where he lived - rested with Lindley Barden, who was determined to give the tiny donkey a shot at life.

He was taken to a local vet clinic by the rescue group, where tests revealed he had not received adequate colostrum from his mother. He was delivered the necessary antibodies intravenously.

JB's survival was far from certain, but foster mum Lindley set up lodgings for him in the hallway of her Pensacola home and gave him round-the-clock care.

Lindley Barden and JB.
The result is an inquisitive - and at times bossy - young fellow who will be five months old on October 2.

Lindley has renamed him Burrito, which is Spanish for little burro, and says he has brought both joy - and challenges - to her life.

"Burrito is still a mama's boy, and having him has been a true joy for me," Lindley told Horsetalk. "Sometimes I think that we are learning together."

"I'm not sure how much he weighs now. The last time that I could pick him up, when he was about four weeks old, he weighed 80 pounds.

"He stands 34 inches tall at the withers, and still has long - often dirty - white hair.

"He is all boy," she says. "He loves to roll in shavings, hay, mud. No amount of grooming helps!"

JB - aka Burrito - has been rather a challenge to his minder.
She says he now has some very visible freckles on his nose, and his baby hooves are almost grown out.

"He went to a Montessori School for a show-and-tell day when he was about three weeks old. That was the last time he rode in my Jeep! He did amazingly well with all the excitement.

"He moved into his own place at four weeks ... his accommodations include a 12-foot by 16-foot stall and a fairly large paddock."

She says Burrito can rub noses with his equine big brothers across his fence panels, including Appraise, her very old rescue horse, but has not been out with them yet.

"He is such a pest that I'm afraid my old rescue horses would kick him into the next pasture!

"He was alone in his area for about the first six weeks, and went through a 'terrible behaviour stage', starting when he was three months old; probably due to boredom and no-one to harass.

Playing up is fun - but he's now out of his worst behavious stage.
"He was biting and jumping up on me, and, apparently, I wasn't equine enough to discipline him as his own mother would have."

Lindley said she did her best to get Burrito to toe the line and after about a month the phase passed.

"I tried to find him a young equine buddy, but couldn't. I finally ended up with two rescue calves that were abandoned on an island in a alligator-infested lake in Central Florida.

"I drove a 12-hours round-trip to get Burrito's new brothers.

"The Cow Boys - Bobby and Charlie Brown - are about his same age and size. He was really taken aback when I unloaded them into his pen, and you can see his consternation in the picture!

"But now they are the three amigos - sometimes they play Cow and sometimes it's Donkey!"

Police arrested a 17-year-old youth and charged him over the shooting of Burrito's mum. The case is still proceeding through the court system.

Appraise the older rescue horse checks out Burrito.