by Lesley Scott
Casper the jack is ready to tell his tale. It is a true story.
The Life of Casper
By Lesley Scott
"Animals' Voice" Staff writer
MONCKS CORNER --- Casper is a donkey whose story is not uncommon. He was displaced when his owner died and sold at the horse auction. Ten years later, he is ready to tell his story in this exclusive interview with "The Animals' Voice" magazine.
He is able to connect to the minds of humans, as are all intelligent animals. This interview is done by telepathy of some sort and most humans are not aware of this phenomena. He can tune in to the minds of people who are very close to animals and spend a lot of time with them.
Q. Hello Casper, I am glad you are able to recount your horrible misfortunes. What happened after you were sold at auction?
A. Hi, I went for fifty dollars to a man dressed like a cowboy, which could be anybody. My mate, baby daughter, brother and my son were all sold to separate people. I think they were wearing cowboy clothes, too.
Q. How were you treated after the auction when the man took you to his farm?
A. He put me in a corral with a shed for my shelter. The cowboy gave me some hay and fresh water. I was so thirsty and tired, missing my family, wondering what was happening to them. At the auction, I learned the cowboy trained and sold cutting horses, so I figgered he’d probably teach me how to be a better donkey. Boy, that was a mistake!
Q. What happened when your new owner started your training?
A. A couple of days later, he came out to the corral and put a tight halter on my face and snapped a rope on the rings. I had been running loose in my owner’s pasture for most of my life, and I had a family to take care of. I didn’t understand why, but he tied a heavy tire to the end of the long rope and started cracking a whip at my back legs and rump.
I jumped forward and the cowboy tried to get me to run, I guess. I didn’t want to run around dragging a tire. Donkeys don't do that. I wondered how all of those horses he trained dealt with it. All it did to me was to confuse me because I saw no sense at all to drag a tired around. So I just stood there, wondering what to do next.
Q. Did he untie you when he understood that you wouldn’t pull the tire around all day?
A.No, he got all red in the face and called me a “stupid ass,” and other names I can’t repeat. So I just stood there and waited for the cowboy to let me go back to my little shed to get out of the sun. Since I am all white, I sunburn easy. The flies were biting my legs and ears, and my tender skin started to bleed.
Q. What happened to you next, Casper?
A. He still whipped me on my legs and rump, hollering, “Get going, you mangy white bastard! You are gonna be halter trained whether you like it or not!” Then he left me standing in the blinding sun, still fighting flies and feeling lost and scared.
Q. When did he untie the rope?
A. Not until the next day. I tried to drag it a little bit and it pulled on my halter. The halter was so tight, it bit into the top of my nose. As I said, the next day, he tried to train me another way. I can’t believe what this guy did when he untied the rope!
He pulled my head around to my left side and tied the rope to my tail! It didn’t make sense. What did all of those horses he trained do? Surely they didn’t let him do that. He acted like this was his way to train a horse, but that wouldn't work on a donkey. He didn’t understand how donkeys think and act. We are not stupid or stubborn like people say. Things have to make sense to us and I didn’t think this was any way to treat any animal. He left me like that all day, starting in the morning.
Later in the afternoon he tied my head on my right side with the rope biting into my tender dock of my tail. I hadn’t had any food or water and I couldn’t walk when I was trussed up and couldn’t see where my feet were. That is very important to a donkey. In the late afternoon, he decided that I’d been “trained” enough and let me loose. I went and stood in the shed and gobbled down some dusty hay and drank a little bit of water.
The next day, it was the tire again. He whipped me harder and yelled at me. I felt the welts on my rump and reacted like any donkey would do. I swatted my back foot at him. I was only letting him know that he shouldn't treat a donkey that way, especially with a jack.That really pissed him off and he started hitting me with a board.
Q. Tell me what you did next, Casper? I can see you are getting upset. It's okay.
A. He started jerking on the rope near my head and twisting my ear! It was painful and I reacted again. I reached over and clamped my teeth down on his hand. The man started hollering and screaming and I knew I was hurting him pretty bad, but I couldn’t let go. I was afraid he would hurt me worse than ever. I hollered too, but I didn’t recognize my own voice. I kept biting down on his hand.
Q. What happened next? Did you finally decide to let go?
A. Not really, another man jumped into the corral and started beating me with a shovel or a hoe or something like that. I felt the blows, but I was so mad, it didn’t hurt.The man finally used the wooden part of the shovel and tried to pry my jaws loose. I couldn’t let go, I would be really punished. I didn’t understand at the time that I had to let go eventually.
Finally, the man whose hand I had my teeth clamped on used his other hand to pinch my nose so I could breathe. I hung on until I passed out.
I remember waking up to loud noises and with red lights flashing. They took the man away. I later learned from listening to his wife talking on the phone that I had crushed his wrist and they did surgery at the hospital. I didn’t know exactly what she what she meant, but I knew it was serious and I felt scared because I knew he would come back and hurt me. I wished I hadn’t exploded like I did, it was a reflex.
Q. What happened when the man came home from the hospital?
A. His hand was bandaged up and he seemed really out of it, not even looking my way. He was in a lot of pain, I could tell. I went back to the little wooden shed and went on, eating hay. I was glad he had left me with a whole bale of hay. I knew nobody would feed me now.
Q. Did the cowboy ever mess with you again?
A. No, but the next day two other men came and snatched my halter, clipped on a rope and actually picked me up and threw me into a dark, foul smelling trailer. I only weighed six or seven hundred pounds I think. Anyway, the ride was really bumpy, but we didn’t go too far.
The next thing I knew, three men, smelling like stale beer and smoke dragged me out of the trailer and fastened a heavy chain on my halter with a bolt or some sort. I don’t remember very clearly, but I ended up chained to a tree behind a mobile home and the men talked about me like I was dangerous and to be careful that I would attack them. Attacking anyone wasn’t even on my mind. I was too scared because the men acted real nasty and mean.
Finally, they left me there and I spent the night in a pile of brush and blackberry brambles, being bitten by bugs. The next day, only one man came out and did put a bucket of water just where I could hardley reach it. I could tell he thought I was going to attack him. Hey, I wasn’t attacking anyone. I was really scared, hungry and very upset over all that had happened to me. Sorry for the tears. I can't help it.
Q. Did the new man give you any hay or feed?
A. No, I heard him telling his wife and children that I could just eat weeds. So I nibbled on some of the bushes and they were sour, but I was hungry. After that, the people in the mobile home pretty much left me alone most of the time. Sometimes one of the boys would throw rocks at me. He was a good aim. It hurt, too.
Q. Okay, you stayed like that for a long time, didn’t you, Casper?
A. Yes. I lost a lot of weight and getting shaky from having nothing to eat. Every few days, I’d run out of water. One of the kids would fill my bucket, and he acted scared of me. I guess word got around to what happened to the cowboy. All of the brush had been eaten and I nibbled down most of the brambles.
Q. Why didn’t you starve to death?
A. Two angry ladies came by with a police man, and told the scumbag who tied me out to die that they were going to sign a warrant have him go to jail. He told them, “Go ahead and take that white bastard. He will bite and kick you!” Now why would I do that? I was too weak, anyway. I hoped the ladies would take me somewhere safe. I had almost forgotten I hadn’t had anything to eat for a long time. I knew I was starving because I could feel my bones pushing against my hide.
Q. Who were the ladies and what did they do?
A. They were people the mail man had told them about me. They had a hard time getting the big, heavy chain loose. I heard one of the ladies say, “Do you think he will make it? He is so dehydrated and has pressue sores!"
The other lady said, "Let's get him home and see what happens. I told Terry that you don’t train donkeys like horses and that a jack could really hurt you bad if he was mishandled.”
As they started to get me to walk to the trailer, I almost fell down. I forced myself with all of my strenght that I had left to walk. I knew if I went down, I would never get up. I guess I really was that close to death.
Q. Well, it looks like those ladies pulled you through. Here you are, alive and looking sharp. Tell me what happened after you were well?
A. One day, an older man and lady stopped by to look at all of the animals. They had seen all of the donkeys and goats and other animals from the road. They talked to the one lady whose farm I was staying at. The older couple told her they wanted to buy a donkey. They had a nice barn and pasture and just wanted a donkey to keep the grass down and be a pet for them to take care of.
The next thing I knew, I belonged to Hugh and Ilene. The lady took me to their house in a nice place. Everything felt good and I could smell that pasture from the trailer. I backed out and brayed for joy! I hoped I had found a perfect home with these nice people.
The first time Ileen tried to give me a piece of apple, I didn’t know she wanted me to eat it out of their hands. I had never had anyone give me a treat. It didn’t take me long to know what to do with a piece of apple or carrot.
Q. It looks like your story had a happy ending. You’ve been living here for a number of years. Tell me how it feels to be loved at last?
A. I never knew people could be so wonderful. They kept two chairs at the barn and would sit out there and drink iced tea and give me treats. Also, they brushed me a lot. I had never been brushed before. It felt so good, I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. Hugh and Ilene even fixed me a glasses of tea. I learned how to drink from a glass. It was easy.
They liked to take turns reading to me sometimes. The stories were about donkeys and mules. I learned a lot about myself.
Q. How old are you now? You’ve been here ten years, right?
A. I am not real sure. I believe I am over twenty years old. At least that is what I have been told. They also read to me that donkeys can live to be thirty, sometimes forty years old if taken care of good.
I sometimes wonder what happened to my family and if they are safe and happy, but I imagine they are all gone now. The real world is hard to live in. It is such a dream here. I will die happy.
Casper the donkey lived a long and happy life. He passed away in May of 2010 at the age of 41. He died happy knowing love and kindness.