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Thursday, April 24, 2014



I asked Jack to teach me Donkey when we were first acquainted. I watched him closely, looking for what constitutes donkeyness. Over a few months I saw enough to think I was getting insight into what about him is donkey. I connect with his consciousness right away, but I see consciousness very similar from being to being. I connect with a dog and I see consciousness on the order of my consciousness, awareness, sees through eyes, hears through ears. We see and hear just like a mouse, a bird, a fish. I feel like it is how we interpret what we see and what we hear that is different from species to species, from individual to individual. How we interpret is through experience and attitude toward life. Jack showed me a nature I'd never seen before in any animal I've known. I was apprehensive of his back legs for quite awhile. Everybody I know with donkey experience has said, "They'll kick ya." Knowing Jack, humility stood out for me. I felt humility in Jack like we feel loyalty in dogs and their forgiveness. I came to think humility was a donkey characteristic. Everyday I'd visit with Jack, talk to him, scratch his neck. Jack is a quiet donkey, while at the same time he has the donkey way of pushing back if I want to push him out of my way to get through the gate. I'll push the gate against him gently and ask  him to move. He stands still like this is the best place in the world to be right now. He stands firm and I have to push him and squeeze through what opening he allows. It's not that he doesn't want me to come through the gate. I've come to believe he's playing. Gradually he taught me he liked to play. To donkey mind play is different from play to the human mind, but also not. Jack will stand against the gate and laugh to himself that I can't get through. He has played several tricks on me over the time I've known him, fun tricks, harmless, tricks that make a donkey laugh.


Jack was here about four months when Jenny came into the meadow. They went through such a time I stayed out of the meadow for a month. Jenny and I did not know each other, and she was a rampageous donkey, kicking Jack every time he came anywhere near her, which was all day every day. I thought I'd leave them alone to work out their dominance and their relationship while I stay this side of the fence. I was slow getting to know Jenny as she was so preoccupied with a donkey that had a one-track mind. She was an aggressive donkey. I couldn't tell if that was her nature or if it was a result of circumstances. I talked to her every day at carrot time and she gradually came to like me. In a few months I felt confidence Jenny would not kick me, same confidence I had with Jack. First weeks with Jack when I'd felt like I could go into the meadow with him, I was petting his back while he chewed a carrot. His dinger started extending. I took a step back, put both hands up in a halt gesture, and said, "This is not what we're about, Jack. We can't be close if you're going to do that." It never happened again. He has taught me that a great part of donkeyness had to do with understanding. Many times I've just spoken to Jack and he understood, showing evidence of it. I thought I had a good understanding of donkeys when Jenny arrived in the meadow. I had asked Jenny, too, to teach me donkey. First thing she showed me that what I'd learned about donkey from Jack was Jack, not Jenny. She is a very different donkey, very different nature. Where Jack is humble, Jenny is a haughty woman. Jenny is in charge at all times. She's not passive aggressive. She's just aggressive. If Jenny were to be a work donkey like in South America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, Jenny would have to be taught humility. I was about to say she'd be a difficult donkey to handle, but I'm also seeing her with another donkey that is attempting rape on her regularly.
jenny kicks jack
Jenny is a sweet donkey with me, one on one, but when Jack comes around, jealous Jenny pulls her ears back and swings her ass end around and thumps him on the ribs with a hoof. I've been wondering recently how much of Jenny I know as Alpha Donkey behavior and how much is Jenny behavior. I've not had anything to go by since she's always in relation to Jack. Last week she twisted her right front ankle while they were donkeying around, Jack hotter'n a two dollar pistol at Bull Run, and Jenny kicking him. Jack returns for more like he's saying, Hurts so good, baby, do it again. They neck-wrestle, twisting their heads over and under each other's head, each trying to bite the other and protect self from a bite. I see a kind of martial arts sparring. Play. It's hilarious to watch. I could not tell if Jenny favoring her right front hoof had to do with a hoof infection or a sprained ankle. I wanted to think it was a sprained ankle, but had no way to tell. Jenny will not have her legs touched. She doesn't like to be touched anyway, but legs are always off limits. I honor that and don't insist. Jack would let me look at his foot. I thought I'd let it go over the weekend to see if it gets better or worse. I'm happy to say it was better. She only limped four days. I noticed during that time Jack had taken the role of Alpha Donkey. He usually walks with his head lowered a bit, but in these days his head was up and ears up all the time. He stayed in the middle of the meadow and the high places where he could see best, body taut as a bull, firm on his feet. He was no different with me and was gentle with Jenny, like he wanted to protect her. Jenny walked with her head lowered at the same angle Jack walks. Aggression was gone from her. Sometimes at carrot time she will pretend she's going to bite my finger, just to see me jump, to give herself a laugh. The days her ankle hurt she never played her pesky games, and she let Jack take the first carrot like she wanted him to have it. It appeared the jealousy was gone from her.
First morning her limp was gone, Jenny was Alpha again, biting at Jack, kicking at him, wanting all the carrots for herself. Jack was so easy about it I realized Jenny did not have to fight Jack to get her status back. She is the biggest of the two. Alpha is her natural role. She knows it and Jack knows it. It must be Donkeyness to understand the role. Evidently a survival mode in the wild. A pack of dogs defers to the biggest dog. Among humans, money determines Alpha status. I do not understand their thinking, so it came to me a surprise seeing Jack take the role of Alpha, automatically, and Jenny went into the role Jack had before. Jack was not aggressive toward Jenny, possibly because she was not trying to hump him all the time, though he'd have loved it. They switched roles back to their original places in the night. At morning carrot time Jenny was back, kicking, biting and snorting at Jack for standing too close. When they woke up in the morning, they both knew Jenny was Alpha again. Jack was as automatic with the change as Jenny was. This suggests to me that Alpha status, at least between them, is not a matter of desire to be number one. It simply goes to whoever is biggest and in good health. Jack played his Alpha role as casually as if he had known how to do it all along. Upon giving the status back to Jenny, he went back to laid-back Jack who would rather stretch out under a shade tree and listen to reggae. I feel like Jenny would rather be dancing to techno. Yet, when she's not Alpha, she has her headphones on listening to R&B. I've been curious recently to know the Jenny that is not Alpha behavior. I feel like I see now that the Jenny I know is the Alpha. It's because Jack is always nearby. It's in the times I talk to Jenny, looking at her eye-to-eye, I feel affection from her. Sometimes she seems to melt into the exchange. Jack takes a step too close and she's snorting, biting at his neck. She runs him off and she's back for more listening to ice cream man talk to her. In the days she let Alpha go, the Jenny I knew was the affectionate Jenny. Now I'm able to see the affection I thought I'd seen is really there. This is how I know to feel safe behind Jenny. The little window that let me see Jenny's nature inside the Alpha behavior gave good insight into Jenny. Now I feel like I know her better than ever.   
jenny wants a kiss

1 comment:

  1. We are able to learn so much about human nature from the animals if we only give ourselves the chance...Enjoyed!