This is Jack the donkey who was recently put in the meadow by the house. It's a good place with plenty of rhododendron to get out of the sun and rain. About two acres of meadow recently bush-hogged to lower the tall grass. Tall grass is what gives a cow or a horse pink-eye. Today is Jack's fifth day here. I don't know about his life before, where he came from, how much he cost. I've heard the county has several Bethlehem Cross donkeys, so I take it he's from this county. Justin has put a calf in the meadow and the donkey. Another calf will be here soon. The donkey's role is protector against coyotes. Donkeys are said to kill coyotes. They're not afraid of coyotes or dogs. Since coyotes have moved into the county in such numbers, anyone with cattle or horses is now keeping a donkey in the field with them. I go out and see Jack every day, sometimes slicing an apple into 8 pieces and giving them to him one at a time, and carrots. Today I had a couple of carrots for him. I noticed he knew how to break off a chunk of the carrot. I took that to mean he's used to being fed carrots. Justin told me he will eat carrots all day. It's someone Justin knows he bought Jack from. A friend of his named Jesse delivered Jack and helped Justin put up the two gates to the meadow.
I bought a horse brush at Farmers Hardware and today brushed Jack. He is a little apprehensive of me and I am a little apprehensive of him. I'm gentle and make slow movements not to startle him. He startles easily. Quick responses. This picture above is what I see when I'm with my new friend. I've never known a donkey. I can see already a donkey's personality is different from any four-legged of my experience. I already like Jack's personality. I believe I'll find a very interesting person in there. I showed him the brush after feeding him two carrots, holding them while he took bites. I let him sniff it. I brushed his neck and his back and the right side. He liked it once he found what I was doing, brushing his hair. Animals are vain about their hair, just like we're vain about our hair. I let him sniff the brush again with his scent on it. He will know what it is next time I see him. I pet him and talk to him, we sniff each other's noses, Twice while brushing him, he seemed to get a bit frisky and turned his rear end to me. I stepped back and said I don't want to go there. Donkeys are bad to kick from behind. I've been told when one turns its rear end to you it's going to kick. Maybe. And they're fast. I did not believe Jack would kick me because I've been friendly, brought him snacks, stroked his hair with the brush, petted him with my hands, talking all the time telling him I'm glad he's here and I'm looking forward to us being friends. But I don't know donkey nature yet.
jack up close and personal
I want to know donkey nature. I don't want to read about it, though I will look up some donkey websites that give information about donkeys I'd like to know. I'm especially curious about their origin. On sight, I can see a donkey is an African herd animal like a zebra and a springbok. Zebras cannot be tamed, though donkeys can be tamed, evidently not completely. I like that in them. They have been beasts of burden all the way back to the beginnings of the Bible, North Africa, the Middle East and over into Asia donkeys are still used as beasts of burden. I've heard a statistic on NPR a few years ago that more people around the world are killed by donkeys than die in plane crashes each year. This tells me a lot of people who use donkeys for beasts of burden do not treat them right. It tells me a donkey will take a lot, to a point. At that point, the donkey, not bound to a rule of law, says it has had enough beatings and rough treatment for its labor, and kills its oppressor. I like that about a donkey. I respect that in a donkey. I say a donkey's gotta do what a donkey's gotta do. I have no fear of an attack. Already, Jack comes to me when I call him. I tend to call him Donkey Jack. When I call him, I call Donkey Jack, and when I talk to him I call him Donkey Jack.
I've known rough, threatening dogs and had no problem with them. One day a few years ago a tan and white pit bull came bounding through the woods barking at me while I was out on a walk among the trees. On sight it was like, Oh Shit. I don't have a gun. I would not have shot the dog, but would have made a loud bang. But, I also know dogs. I stood still and watched him run at me full speed barking. He stopped about ten feet away. I said, Hey dog. He walked over to me, sniffed me, I talked to him and by the time he'd finished sniffing I was petting him. It's not like I'm a dog or a donkey whisperer, just that I've lived with dogs and know dog nature pretty well, well enough to communicate with them without language. I'm seeing with Donkey Jack we are communicating already. He pays attention when I talk to him. He doesn't know the meanings of the words, but he understands the tone of voice, that it is not aggressive, that some sounds are used often, like Donkey Jack, which he is starting to catch on is what I call him. Today I did not see him in the meadow, so I opened the gate and went in, closing the gate behind me, walked out into the meadow calling, "Donkey Jack." After a minute or two he emerged from the shade of the rhododendron along the back fence. A good trail is back there among the rhododendron made by cows in the past. It's a great place for a four-legged. He could see the entire meadow from his post. I gather from the place he emerged from that protector is in his nature, like in dog nature. I was glad to see that. Now I know when we become friends he will never attack me, and would protect me like a dog, even more fiercely.
all the better to hear you with
His ears are so long I wasn't able to get a picture of his face and his ears both without being so far away you can't see his face well. I figure his hearing is so good I don't need to talk loud to him. He has a chocolate brown stripe about an inch wide that runs from the top of his mane along the spine and down the tail. At the front shoulders a chocolate stripe runs down each side half way down the front legs and taper to a point. He has a chocolate spot the size of a dime on each side of his neck, the same place on each side. His color is reproduced well in these pictures. He is a smoky light brown. The color is so subtle I wonder about using indigo with white to make the gray and just a breath of umber in white for the brown mixed with the indigo gray just right. I see in Jack's eyes loneliness, like he misses the other donkeys and humans he lived with perhaps since birth. I want to soothe his loneliness by showing him he will be treated well here and has a human who wants to know a donkey. I can see the calf bores him. It's just a baby. Though I have watched him pay close attention to the calf like he is its protector. Years ago I learned that the Sanskrit word for dog is kutra. It means protector. I'm guessing donkeys are also known for a protective nature.
As I have done with all my pets along the way, today I gave Jack to God for his friend, then received Jack back to take care of God's friend I am now entrusted with, perhaps to have dominion over in my interpretation of what that means, responsibility to take good care of. This is what I believe baptizing babies is about. As God's babies I give them the respect I believe they deserve. I gave Caterpillar to God soon after she was born. She's not "my" cat, it's just that I am taking care of her, because cats need taking care of in a human dominant world. I am accountable to God for how I take care of her. It will be the same with Jack. I can see it won't be long before we know each other. It's a little like getting to know baby Vada when she could not talk and did not understand language. I remember the moment Vada and I started communicating. Jack is learning my ways as I learn his. I move my hands slowly so Jack can see them and not be startled. I've noticed he is quick as a cat to react to the unexpected. Alert senses. Same as a baby's alert senses. This is a great opportunity in my life, to know a donkey, something I've wanted to do all my life. And here it is. Donkey Jack.