Breeder of Registered Miniature                 Donkeys, Quality Breeding Stock, and Lovable Pets

STORY: Rosie's Story

BY Carolyn Christian

Years ago, when Pete and I first began raising miniature donkeys, we scoured the country for exactly the perfect little ones for us. They were mostly foals since no one at the time was selling their mature breeding jennies. Well, not unless you gave them stock in General Motors, your diamond dinner ring, and a promise to put all their children and grandchildren through college. On one visit to a ranch, I knew I had better call Dean Witter regarding the stock transfer when Rosie, a 3 year old pregnant jenny, decided that she loved Pete more than graham crackers and that her only goal in life was to live in Franklin, Texas with us.


So after writing a check comparable to the national debt, we took Rosie home with us and began reading everything we could find regarding foaling. Rosie was 5 months pregnant so we had plenty of time to take a crash course in donkey obstetrics. During that time, we shipped two other bred jennies to our ranch, so Rosie got to compare stretch marks and swollen feet with Cindy and Trinket who were due a bit later than she. Both Pete and I were nut cases the last month of her pregnancy. She swelled so large that I thought she had swallowed a dirigible. I checked for everything including abnormal bowel movements which she didn't have but we did. Late one afternoon, I noticed the classic up and down activity and the beginning of contractions. WE'RE HAVING A BABY! I waited the obligatory 20 minutes and nothing was forthcoming. It was clear that something was very wrong. Our vet Shawn was summoned and we moved Rosie to another birthing stall so she could be monitored more closely. I could see the pain in her eyes as well as her fear. How helpless Pete and I felt.


By the time Shawn got to the ranch, it had been almost 1.5 hours since she first started labor. The baby simply was NOT coming down the birth canal. He made an inspection in order to determine the foal's position. He observed that the foal was mal-aligned and dead. The only hope of removing it vaginally and avoiding the necessity of a c-section was to turn it around and, hopefully, her contractions would present the foal properly. Great idea. It didn't work. He pulled, she tried to help, and the dead foal would not budge. Between contractions, Rosie would relax, her eyes glassy and wide. What pain she was in! I was at her head talking, consoling, telling her it was going to be O.K., calling her name and telling her how much I loved her.


At one point, Shawn looked up at me and said, “You know, we're just trying to save her now, don't you?" . I calmly said yes and went back to talking to Rose. For some unknown reason, I started singing to her. The song was “You Are My Sunshine" . She listened intently as I sang it to her with my head on hers. It seemed to calm her. Being a music major and a vocalist (great credentials for raising little asses, don't you think?), I have sung in front of very large audiences and in some very elaborate concerts, but none as important as the small private concert I was giving to my wonderful little Rose in a cold stall late at night. I was crying the entire time I was singing but I didn't let Rosie know. When only two little hooves were the only things that Shawn was able to present, he asked to use the phone to call the emergency room at the large animal clinic at Texas A&M to tell them we were on the way.


Although in tremendous pain and with typical donkey trust and heart, Rosie got up, loaded easily in the trailer, rode the 30 minutes to the clinic, then walked to the exam room. It was immediately determined that a c-section was the only thing that could be done to get the foal out and save Rosie. I will NEVER AS LONG AS I LIVE forget the site of that stoic little girl walking down the white corridor with a flock of doctors and students headed to surgery. They told us that a c-section to an equine is very risky due to the possibility of hemorrhage. Donkeys can lose a lot of blood very quickly and it was an absolute must that they go in and out as quickly as possible.


With a promise to call us after surgery, we left the clinic at 12:30 A.M. Three hours later, we got the call that the two hour surgery had gone well, she was in recovery, and they thought she was going to make it. In the days that followed, no one gave us any encouragement that Rosie would ever conceive due to the dystocia or problem delivery. Rosie improved rather quickly and charmed her way into the hearts of all at the clinic. The vet students would eat their lunch in Rosie's stall and feed her Oreos and part of their sandwiches. I guess she decided that if she were going to check out of this world, she wanted to do it on a full stomach!


We waited twice as long as we were told to begin to breed Rosie. I was so glad to have her with us that I didn't care if she EVER had a foal. She is our Rosie and we love her. All during her recuperation and even during my hospital visits, I continued to sing “You Are My Sunshine" . It became OUR song- Rosie's and mine. Every time I saw her and even now, when I start singing that song, here she comes.


After 2 years of off-again, on-again cycling, we just gave up documenting breeding dates, figuring that Rose would never conceive again. Of course, Barney loved it. Barney called her “Rosie, the Slut" because he could always count on Rose for a good time! It was obvious that Rosie wanted a baby and missed being pregnant like the other jennies. She turned into the town crier when any baby was born on the place.


One month after Rosie lost her baby, Cindy gave birth to Ranger. At 11:00 P.M. that evening, Rosie started braying. I looked out the window, things looked normal, so back to bed I go. Twenty minutes later, Rosie started again but this time, I could tell it was more serious. When I went to the dining room window which overlooked the foaling stall and paddock, Rosie was staring at the window as if to say, “Get your XXXX out here! You're not going to believe what's going on."   I knew immediately Cindy was in labor. By the time I rounded the house, ran to the gate, pushed Rosie to one side, Ranger was trying to stand up on thin little jello legs. Rosie went ahead of me into the stall and just stood there as if to say, “See, I told you. What took you so long? I guess you'll believe me next time, won't you?" . She was so in the way of my newborn foal duties, I had to stop and lock her outside the paddock in order for Cindy, Ranger, and I to get our work done. Rosie knew exactly what was going on that night and every night since then when a baby has been born at Quarter Moon Ranch. She's my four-legged “foaling monitor" .


Since Rosie has always tended to be a blimp, I didn't notice her gaining weight. But suddenly, she looked somewhat more rotund than usual. Could she be....expecting? We hadn't seen Barney and she “get married" , as we tell the youngsters around here, in a very long time. The pregnancy test confirmed that our Rosie was with child. Great news for Rosie. Lousy news for Barney. Since we had no way of knowing when she was bred, our Rosie became the most pampered expectant jennet we have ever had. I even considered putting her in the house and us moving to the barn until I realized that Pete probably wouldn't keep his side of the stall tidy there either! We were once again very nervously anticipating this birth. Whoever said you can only have one first time must have been on drugs or never had miniature donkeys, because we've now had an enormous amount of births here at the ranch, and I STILL don't get any sleep just as though each one was my first.


We had a flock of relatives over that Saturday afternoon. They saw Rose and commented how much they wished they could be here when she had her baby. She must have heard them and wanted to show them a thing or two because she left the herd as we all stood around talking, went into the corner of the pasture, dropped to the ground and within 15 minutes, delivered the most beautiful little jenny named Sophie. None of us could believe it as we watched with binoculars.


I had threatened everyone to remain quiet or I would drown their children! I wanted nothing to disturb this delivery. After I picked up little Sophie and took her and Rosie to their stall, everyone got to join Pete and I in the celebration. I felt as though I had given birth.


For the next 3 days, I lived in the stall with Rosie and her sunshine girl. I sang to Sophie what I had sung to her mother almost three years earlier. It happened to both Pete and I several times that Rosie would nudge Sophie into our arms, unlike what most new moms do. It was as though she was saying, “See my baby. This is MY baby. I finally have a baby of my own!" . As Sophie grew older, Rosie NEVER let that little girl out of her sight. Rosie had a habit of resting her head on Sophie's back constantly. She simply had to keep touching her little girl. Rosie lost all her fat chasing Sophie around, but for Rose, it was a small price to pay.


The story doesn't end here. Rosie and Barney “got married" again shortly after Sophie was born and we are awaiting another little fuzzy ball of sunshine. Some people ask me why I enjoy raising miniature donkeys. I guess it's just like raising children although Pete and I have never been blessed with that experience. Your lows are very, very low when bad things happen, but the highs are beyond Mt. Everest and completely indescribable. I feel privileged that Rosie is mine. We will both remember these times we've shared together, today, yesterday, someday, long from now, when I sing a song to her.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy, when skies are gray.
You'll never know, Rose, how much I love you.
Do not take my Rosie away."
Quarter Moon Ranch; Breeder of Registered Miniature Donkeys, Quality Breeding Stock, and Lovable Pets.  Miniature Donkeys FOR SALE at all times. email     top    Quarter Moon Ranch; Breeder of Registered Miniature Donkeys, Quality Breeding Stock, and Lovable Pets.  Miniature Donkeys FOR SALE at all times. email     home    Quarter Moon Ranch; Breeder of Registered Miniature Donkeys, Quality Breeding Stock, and Lovable Pets.  Miniature Donkeys FOR SALE at all times. email   sale donkeys: new arrivals  /  jacks  /  jennets  /   geldings  Quarter Moon Ranch; Breeder of Registered Miniature Donkeys, Quality Breeding Stock, and Lovable Pets.  Miniature Donkeys FOR SALE at all times. email
Pete and Carolyn Christian
Quarter Moon Ranch
4674 Bucksnort Road
Franklin, TX  77856
website by Connie Stoney, Stoney's Web Design