Karissa has left the sanctuary to head back to her home in the US. We are grateful for her time and hard work with the girls. She wrote one last post before she left. Next time you hear from Karissa, she will be in Mendoza getting Pocha and Guillermina ready for their trip to Brazil. We still don’t have exact dates for her and Chrissy’s trip, but will share when we know more.
I am sad to say tonight is my last night here, at least for this trip. It was a short trip, but I believe a productive one. I would like to share a little (long) update with you all before I go.
Lady and Rana had their fair share of training sessions. Foot soaks and fine-tuning their rear foot presents were the main focuses. They both know how to present their hind feet but are sometimes so eager to show you what they know before you even ask. Rana is so funny that if you are taking too long to start the session, she will randomly present one of her feet and look at you as if to say, “I’m ready whenever you are.” Needless to say, Rana and Lady both did fantastic with their sessions.
Maia beats to her own drum. She is a smart cookie and knows the behaviors she needs to know at this point in the game. Maia is happy to come over and get extra treats, so I was glad to do this when she showed interest. But she spent most of her days doing what she does best: mudding, grazing, and napping. Today I caught her napping by one of the water troughs, but she quickly got up when she heard the four-wheeler (as that usually means snack time).
Mara is quite sweet. As mentioned in previous posts, she has not been feeling quite herself and has had a very selective appetite. I did little formal training with Mara, but I spent a lot of time with her throughout the days determining what the food of the day, hour, or minute was. Watermelon seemed to be almost always a win, even though the way she ate it varied. Sometimes, it was the whole watermelon. Other times, it was only the good stuff, leaving the rind for someone else. Occasionally, she did the old watermelon drive-by (walked over, grabbed her watermelon from me, and took it for the road). She’s cute that way!
And now, Bambi: Miss Crazy Trunk. Don’t worry; she still has a crazy trunk. However, it’s starting to become calmer during sessions. She begins with her crazy trunk but then quickly remembers she gets more treats with a calm trunk. Duration is still very short, but now she is getting the hang of it. My other focus was helping her to be more comfortable in the medical chute. She would walk through and even stay when both sides of the chute were open but appeared nervous to enter if one side of the chute was closed. I am happy to report that she is now going into the chute with one side closed. She is still nervous at times, but repeatedly entering and exiting the chute during sessions has increased her confidence. So it is kind of like a double reward. When she comes in the chute and stays, she is rewarded with giant fabulous treats. Then we go out of the chute, and she is rewarded by getting to look around and see what is going on. Then, we go back into the chute for more substantial treats. At this rate, hopefully, she will be relaxing in the chute with both sides closed soon!
As for me, I’m sad. I’m sad to leave because I won’t get to see the girls every day. I won’t get to see their progress with training or how their relationships evolve. I won’t get to be silly with them and watch them be silly together. It is a “selfish” sad, not a “feel guilty for leaving them” sad. It could never be that kind of sad because they live in this beautiful place. They have an amazing, dedicated, and talented team (including Kat and Scott), they have sanctuary… and they have all of you! Until next time…
Video is one of Bambi’s training sessions with Karissa. They are working on Bambi becoming more comfortable in the chute.