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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 294

Burro ambassador visits patients

Just a few days after he was adopted, "Pockets" the burro was a hit at last year's  Lake Isabella Christmas Parade. A few months later, he made a splash at the annual Whiskey Flats Parade in Kernville.

"Pockets loves to see the horse trailer stop in front of his stall," says adopted "mom," Nadia Lane. "He knows that he's going to get to go somewhere fun, and he jumps right in!"

That outgoing personality gave an idea to Kathy Rall, who has helped the Lanes with their BLM mustangs and burros for the past eight years.  Why not "invite" him to visit the residents nursing center where Kathy's mom lived?
Above: Kathy Rall (left) introduces Pockets to her mother, Peggy, as the Center's activities assistant Sam Mathieu (in overalls and hat) scratches Pockets under the chin. "This just feels so good for all of us old guys!" Peggy said.
Below: Pockets "smiles" for the camera. He dressed up for the occasion with a red bandana -- and Sam wore overalls and a straw hat to complement his look:
Kathy recently became an official BLM horse and burro volunteer (she's wearing her BLM horse and burro program volunteer cap in these photos). Kathy and Sam Mathieu coordinated this first 'Donkey Day' at the Kern Valley Health District's Skilled Nursing Center in Mt. Mesa.
"Pockets couldn't wait for the door to open so that he could stroll in and meet his admirers," says Nadia. "It was really neat to see the faces of these people light up when they saw him!"
"Pockets is glad to share his fuzzy forehead with all who want to scratch on it," says Nadia: 

When Pockets gets a little fidgety inside the center, Kathy leads him outside.  In a matter of minutes, everyone follows him out onto the lawn for more visiting time. Stella Carlson was petting Pockets when he decided to "taste" Stella's finger.  Stella said, "That's just love nibbles."

Joe Lane (Pocket's adoptive "dad") was making sure that Pockets got a chance to visit some of the other residents.

Pockets saying hello to another resident at the center.

Nadia shares a little more of Pockets' history:

Since we adopted him last November, Pockets has been back to the Ridgecrest corrals for their last three adoptions, visiting with lots of his friends who remember him.  Pockets was actually born in the corrals at Ridgecrest on August 6, 2006.  His mom did not "connect" with him, so one of the volunteers took little Pockets home in the back seat of her truck and raised him on her couch.

When he was four months old, we adopted him - which was probably the most exciting bidding war in history, fetching the largest bid ever of $1,050!!

Pockets also took part in the Desert Empire Event, sponsored by the California BLM horse and burro volunteers last April at the Ridgecrest Fairgrounds.  He was dressed up as a packer in training, sporting a pack saddle, canteen, red bandana and a little hat to keep the sun out of his face.

We are having soooo much fun with him, even if he does break a few things here and there!

 - Nadia Lane, 8/07

BLM California News.bytes, issue 294

Last updated: 08-15-2007