Big Ben, born in 1989, is an easy-going Mammoth donkey who was brought to live at the DSC in 2015. He gets along very well with the other equine residents and he is a favourite with staff and volunteers.
When Ben first arrived he had very little hair on his legs and his previous caretaker had thought that to be a natural condition. With the arrival of warm weather, however, flies began bother him and we soon realized that Big Ben was not hairless on his limbs after all. Rather, he had become adept at pulling out the hair on his legs in the effort to get rid of the annoying insects. ( There is probably something about Big Ben’s body odour that is a magnet for the flies.)
During his first summers with us, Big Ben was often in the barnyard where he could have fly repellent applied regularly. That was somewhat of a help but everyone had to remain vigilant about its applications. It was only a tolerable solution.
This past winter, though, one of our animal care staff, Elizabeth Brezina, made a clever suggestion, somewhat in jest, “Maybe Ben should wear leggings!”. Sheila Zanyk, a DSC volunteer, overheard the comment and she decided to give the leggings a try. Designing, sewing and fitting these covers turned out to be quite a challenge but Sheila persevered. The stylish leggings were finished just in time to greet the heat. They are proving to be a great success……he now has two sets!
After just a few weeks with the leggings, the hair on Ben’s legs is everywhere it should be. The flies have had to move on. Such relief! Such a clever solution!
Sandra Pady, Founder