18 April 2018 Read: 115
Frazzled Haenertsburg local, Jackie Rudman (50), was once again looking for her donkeys. Known as the Houdini Pair, this mother/daughter team has been impossible to contain on Jackie’s fenced farm outside the village. Although she’s had them for the past four years, the last three weeks have been particularly problematic. The farm is up for sale and with constant movement, the gates get left open and the Houdini pair is off. They cross under the busy R71 national road near Lekwar restaurant into the village. There the locals give them constant love and attention and they also graze near the police station.
It was when they began overturning the village refuse bins that complaints surfaced. Perhaps a final straw in the visiting of the village saga was as follows. One of the donkeys defecated outside the little school and a mother maintained that poo gives humans tetanus. “That’s horse shit,” said Jackie. Together with SPCA Tracey van den Dool and head honcho Ellie Potgieter, a horse box is poised to transport the Houdini pair to the Blue Donkey Sanctuary in Ofcolaco.
Donkeys eat just about anything, including plastic and cardboard. The well-cared for 25-year-old mother with her 12-year-old daughter, a little black mule, became Jackie’s pets when a local moved away from the area. Prior to that the mother had been rescued from an abusive situation, where she pulled heavy cart loads outside Polokwane.
It was in rehab that the mother mated with a miniature horse and the daughter was born. Jackie says the Houdini Pair was fine for about two years. It was almost as though the daughter, the cleverer equine of the two, was planning adventure routes and plotting ways of getting over or under the Bonox fencing.
Now the pair goes over, under, through and they’re able to jump down two meters with ease. Over the years Jackie has often rescued them from getting stuck and injured in the fencing.
The locals are all in agreement about the mule and chorus, “That small one. Too clever!” When they disappear from the farm Jackie has a reporting network in and outside the village that includes locals as well as the fruit sel-lers along the R71. Although Jackie will miss the donkeys when they go to the sanctuary, it’s in their best interests and better for Jackie’s peace of mind.