Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lessons Learned the Hard Way

These donkeys will not be mine after all.
Even though I paid for them.
I am (supposedly) being cut a check this week, in refund for their purchase.

I will recount the story, but will not 'out' the name of the breeder, as I have no proof.

Lesson 1: Stay in constant touch with seller if you don't bring your purchase home immediately.

*I went to a breeder to buy 2 donkeys because I couldn't find any in rescues.  I picked from their "Pet Quality" group.  I wrote a check on April 8th.

*Before I purchased them, the seller agreed that they'd be happy to have their vet geld (castrate) the pair and they would also take care of the aftercare of the donkeys for 2 weeks at no charge to me.  All I did was pay them the money for the vet.  I was sure of the amount, because I had checked on the price of the procedure with my vet.

*I was told that the donkeys would not be going to the vet until after the 15th of April--Tax day was looming.
I was fine with that, as I was in the process of getting arrangements made for their housing and transportation.

*I got an email from the seller letting me know the donkeys were scheduled to be gelded on the 18th.

*I got a response to my email of inquiry on the 22nd telling me the donkeys had been gelded and were doing fine.  They'd let me know when I could come pick them up (in about 2 weeks).

*Two weeks came and went, and so I inquired via email when I could come get them. 
No response.

*I picked up the phone and called.
"Oh, I was going to call you later tonight...."
Mr. Seller/Breeder told me that one of the donkeys wasn't doing so well.  In fact, it had been back at the vet for a week.  Infection had set in and they didn't know whether the donkey was going to make it. 

If I wanted, I could come pick a retired female donkey in replacement for the donkey "that might never be right or healthy again".  
I could "pick up the healthy donkey of the pair and see if I could find another donkey from another source" 
I could "wait and see, but we're going out of town for Mother's Day and we won't be able to attend to any of this until the week following."

Let me stop right here and let you know that this man talked circles around me.
I KNOW I should have asked a boat load of questions and made him shut up until I got them all out.

What happened was this----I got off the phone with my mind spinning full of unanswered questions.
I am the worlds worst person when it comes to confrontation.
My heart starts pounding and I can't say what I want to. 
 I end up blabbering and getting nothing done.
I SHOULD have called him right back and demanded to know:

1. Why didn't you let me know (as they are technically MY donkeys) that the one was seriously ill!
Shouldn't I have some say in the treatment of the donkey?

2. What is the name of the vet where the sick donkey is?
I did ask twice what the name of the vet was, he was able to skirt the question and say the donkey had actually seen two vets and everything was being taken care of.


Are these folks the nicest people on the planet or 'horse traders'?

Was the donkey really terribly ill? 
Wouldn't they want ME to pay for the vet bills, since I had purchased the donkey and paid for the gelding of the animal?

Did they seller have 'sellers remorse' and decide to keep (or sell for a higher price) the one donkey?
The seller did make a comment (more than once) when I purchased the donkey,
"Man, you have a good eye.  I don't know why that little donkey is in the Pet sales pen.  He does look good, doesn't he?"

Since I didn't have a vet's name, I called the two large animal vets in the seller's county.
One hadn't done business with the Seller since 2013.  
The other told me, "I can't tell you anything about the little donkey because its still in the sellers name.  If you get their permission, then we can talk to your vet about it."

Ah, so there really might be a sick donkey??
Heck, maybe the little donkey is dead.  I don't know.
The seller is not forthcoming with ANY information.
The vet can't legally tell me anything either--which I understand.

Now what?!!

I was never given a bill of sale ("We'll give you all that when you come pick them up.").
I was never given the legal registered name of either donkey ("We'll give you all that when you come pick them up.").

However, I do have my cancelled check with the 'farm names' of the donkeys in the memo line.
Are they mine or do I have to take possession for them to be mine?

At this point, I just wanted out.
I wanted as far away from this situation as possible.

I did not want to pay thousands of dollars for a sick donkey's vet bills, that I hadn't agreed to.
I didn't want a lone donkey.

I didn't want an retired female donkey.

I wanted answers.  

I emailed and asked for their vets name again so I could get a handle on what the prospects were for this little donkey I had named, Finn.
No response.

I then emailed and asked that we cancel the sale, less the price of the gelding----since I had asked for the procedure and it supposedly taken place already.

Response was quick.
Basically, "we'll write you a check tomorrow."
The end.
No asking for $$$$ for the cost of a (at this point) week long stay at the vet.
No asking for $$$$ for their time and trouble.

So again, are they the nicest people in the world or 'horse traders' with something funny going on?
I'll never know.

I do know that I will be taking any future purchase of any donkeys home with me, the moment I write a check.

I'm sad and embarrassed as I write this.
Why did I trust that these folks were on the up and up?

Lesson 2: Get EVERYTHING in writing.


  1. So sorry. How disappointing in so many ways. It's too bad integrity is such a rare commodity. I'm wishing you better fortune in your next donkey search.

    1. Thanks Leenie. I never could get a proper read on this man. It was one of the oddest people encounters of my lifetime. :(

  2. Oh, I'm so sorry. I really hope you DO get your check back. I hope they are honest people. I wish you better fortune with the next donkey purchase!!! HUGS


    1. Thanks Linda. Oddly enough, these non-communicative folk emailed me twice in two days. Yesterday she sent me an email that said her husband has mailed my check. ((sigh))

  3. Oh gosh, I am so, so sorry. I know you really wanted to give the donkeys a super home and were anxious to be a donkey mom. As my favorite uncle used to say "some people's children aren't worth spit". Hope you get your money back and find other donkeys to spoil and love.

    1. Thanks Oma Linda. I love your Uncle's saying!! I may very well adopt that saying as it is so often fitting to humans in our lives. :)

  4. I am so sorry to hear about this. I DO hope they are honest enough and return your money. Don't feel bad about being fooled by these people - it happens to the best of us. Wishing you better luck with your next donkey purchase. Sending you hugs!! P.S. I don't do well in a confrontation either.

    1. Thanks, confrontation just spins me around. Good to know I"m not alone.