January 17, 2011
We got quite a big snowfall for this area, and with it some very frigid temperatures. The Girls spent lots of time in the warm barns, keeping their caregivers busy tossing fresh hay, shifting them from one stall to another for cleaning, and the occasional dispensing of treats as well.
Last Wednesday the sun finally came out. Minnie, being Minnie, decided it was time to go out, even if no one wanted to join her. She promptly headed through the Pond Yard to the 40, where she milled around in the snow while soaking up the early morning sun. Shortly after, Debbie and Ronnie decided to venture out as well, and with almost no hesitation, they happily walked down the alley, following the 4-wheeler carrying their hay and treats.
Having been inside for a couple of days, the "silliness" came out right away. All the way down the fence line, Deb and Ronnie were squeaking, squealing, trumpeting and spinning their way through the unbroken snow. Debbie did her signature “reverse gear,” as she kept up with Ronnie’s ears-out-spinning routine. Minnie, of course, returned to join them in the escapades along the fence line. Ronnie was very excited, lifting her limbs one at a time: left, right, back, front, again and again. She rested her top jaw on the top rail of the fence, pushing down enough to dangle her front legs in the air. She and Minnie were also playing with trunk touches all over each others’ faces. The Girls alternated between having silly fits of playing, with short sprints along the fence, following the hay-loaded 4-wheeler. Once out into the Night Yard Extension, Debbie opened up into a full run, seemingly as happy as could be, making the first elephant-sized tracks as she moved across the undisturbed snow.
Meanwhile, Minnie had found the low opening in the fence used by the 4-wheelers and poked her head through. With her large head nearly filling the opening, she raised her rump high in the air and pushed her face into the snow; giving the caregiver a hearty laugh out loud at her antics.
All finally settled down to eat their hay, standing in the sunny spots to ward off the morning chill. They ended up staying out for a few hours, until the sun began to set over the trees. The following day with snow still on the ground, they stayed out even longer, enjoying the sun along with the noticeable absence of any wind. Even on this past Friday morning, they all happily sauntered outside, greeting the sunny morning.
In Asia, Dulary's gastrointestinal issues are for the most part a thing of the past, although she is still receiving remedies to help ensure regular bowel movements. The catheters used in the veins of her ears to administer fluids for several weeks left them a bit sore, so we have been using warm compresses on her ears three times daily along with antibiotic ointments and powder to help with the healing of sensitive areas.
While in the barn on a recent cold night, Dulary managed to injure her trunk. (None of the enrichment toys have any sharp edges, nor did we find any evidence of blood, so we have ruled those out.) It appears as though her trunk got stuck somewhere and she scraped it when she pulled it free. So, three times a day we are soaking Dulary's trunk in a diluted cleansing solution. We place peppermint candy in the bottom of her bucket of solution to help her figure out the process of reaching in to retrieve the treat. After about 45 minutes of this trunk soaking procedure, the injured areas are wiped, cleansed further and then a triple antibiotic is applied. Dulary has been a gem through it all—only slightly reluctant when we get to the wiping step. With these treatments, so far it is healing well.
This week, the African Girls decided to spend the first snow days of the year inside the warm barn. The low temperatures combined with the strong winds were too much for Tange and Flora. Their caregivers were surprised when they didn't seem anxious to get some fresh air after so much time in the barn. Finally, the sun came out mid-week. Surely they would want to go bask in the sun... you would think.
Tange was a little unsure at first, but then decided to brave the snow to find some hay caregivers placed for her. She walked right around the fence to Flora's side of the barn, but then went right back inside to Flora's stall. So instead of going outside for a fun snow day, they both stayed in Flora's 2 stalls and had a blast. Tange started rubbing her feet back and forth on the floor and then spun in circles with her trunk down low. When Tange gets excited, she tends to get as low as she can, which means sometimes rolling around on her back. Flora, on the other hand, will start climbing the rails when she gets excited, making her appear to be triple in size. So with Flora trying to reach the ceiling and Tange down on her knees, they created quite a spectacle. Then the excitement became too much and it just seemed as if they needed to declare the stalls a party zone. Tange and Flora were flinging their readily available droppings all over themselves and the barn; apparently their idea of fun for the long winter days inside.