Two years ago the Moab Sun News published an article about “Ol’ Blackie”, an elderly mule that was roaming in Mill Creek. He had been seen by a number of people who became concerned about him and had contacted various authorities. The article referenced a letter that the owner of the mule had written to the Humane Society stating that: “There is nothing criminal in letting an old mule die a dignified, natural death in his own back yard. If it is a crime, then God help us all.
I found this comment to be quite alarming and I decided to try to find out more about the mule. I spoke to a longtime friend who has owned many mules throughout the years, who in fact, owned this same mule over 25 years ago. Based on his concern and my own, I informed the Grand County Sheriff’s Office that I was willing to foster or adopt the mule.
About two months ago Old Blackie, now called Muley (Moo-lee), was able to navigate his way out of the canyon and was seen walking down Murphy Lane. Eventually Muley was picked up and quarantined at the Spanish Trail Arena. On May 20th, Muley hopped into my horse trailer and moved to his new home. He is a delightful little guy, only being the size of an average donkey. When he first arrived, he was a bag of bones, covered with skin. The word Dachau came to mind every time that I looked at him. His fur was red, like a child suffering from kwashiorkor. For those of you who do not know that term, it is when hair turns red due to a lack of protein. In just matter of weeks, Muley has probably gained 50-75 pounds. He has shed all of the red fur and he is now has a shiney black coat. He calls to me in the morning and evening to make sure that I have not forgotten to feed him. When I walk out to his pen, he trots over to greet me. After receiving proper food and care, he is now pain free and healthy.
Animals are expensive and it requires effort to keep them in good health. When we can no longer afford to care for our animals, either because of finances or our own health, it is our responsibly to find appropriate options for them. New homes need to be located or animals need to be euthanized when they are sick or in chronic pain. Allowing an animal to starve to death is not a humane option. Muley may only have a short time left, but he is now a happy little mule.