donkey jack and donkey jenny
I took my friend Judy to meet the donkeys today. We had some carrots. The donkeys were at the other end of the meadow. Jenny was closest when they both started walking. Jenny came walking ahead, Jack about twenty feet behind her. Jenny walked especially slow, even stopped, waiting for Jack to catch up. I noticed her slow walking right away, wondered if she might be waiting to let Jack overtake her and lead the way. Jack is Alpha now. It's his role to lead the way. Jenny waited for him. He passed her starting to run and she followed close behind. I called "Donkey Jack," and Jack came in a hurry. As usual, he slowed to a stop at about fifty feet away. That's the distance where he can see clearly facial features. He looked at me, then he took off running until about ten feet from me, and slowed to a rhythmic walk with a big smile on his face. I came out of a strange car Jack had never seen and had someone with me he'd never seen. I put my hand out for him to smell, to confirm for him I am I. My other hand gave him a carrot. Jenny came up and Judy gave her some carrot. Jenny's calm today was like I'd never seen before. She was quiet, didn't even get anxious when Jack was standing beside her. I was petting Jack and talking to him while Judy was feeding carrots to Jenny. I gave carrots to Jack. He turned his rear end to Jenny and I paid close attention. He's not an aggressor from jealousy. I felt like he was telling Jenny to stay back, the ice cream man is Jack's friend. Jack stepped over to Judy and Jenny came to me. I ran my fingers inside her long ears rubbing out what I suspect are ear mites of some sort, little granules like sand. I rub them out of her ears a few times a week. She likes having her ears rubbed.
jenny chews a carrot
Jenny has never been one to want my hands on her. She'd endure me scratching her forehead and the underside of her neck, but not for long. Since she fell in love with Jack about a month ago, she sometimes likes me to touch her. Today she was wanting me to touch her like never before. In fact, she asked me to put my arms around her neck. I draped my arms over her neck, not taking hold of her, not to take charge of her, just to let her feel my arms around her neck. She loved it. I was wondering if she'd buck me with her head to cut it out. She received my hands like she never had before. Her head is heavy. When she swings it at you, the best thing to do is get out of the way. She doesn't do that to me anymore. At one point she turned her head to face me and I put a hand on either cheek, rubbing her furry cheeks. She pressed her long face to my chest and belly, I rubbed her cheeks and told her I'm happy she's my donkey friend, I love her being my friend. I tell her she's a beautiful donkey. She let me know when it was enough. Caterpillar sometimes likes to press her face into the palm of my hand and for me to hold her head like a baseball for a three to five second meditation. She goes into a deep stillness. She loves it. She lets me know when she's done by just a gesture and I let go. If I hang on any longer, it makes her nervous. It's the same with Jenny. If I'd held her to me past her will, she'd have turned anxious in a hurry. Jenny fell into my hand rubbing the underside of her neck and between the jaw bones, her ears, her cheeks. She likes me to talk into her nostrils, just long enough for her to savor the scent of my breath. We humans do all we can to wash away and mask our scents with deodorant and mouthwash. Scent is not important to us humans except when it's objectionable. We are slow to get it that scent is still important to the four-leggeds.
I'm remembering the day Jenny was coming around to trust me and I was beginning to trust her. We were about equally apprehensive of each other until our trust was established. This day I was carrying hay into the meadow for them. I'd put down the last hay, Jenny came to me like she wanted to smell me. Before this day I'd have been apprehensive she wanted to bite me, and she might have. I could see she wanted to smell me. I stopped, let my arms hang straight down, relaxed and let her have her way. She sniffed me from top of head to feet all over the front. She moved around behind me and smelled me from feet to head, taking her time. I wasn't sure about her being behind me unguarded. I was somewhat apprehensive she'd bite. She was still in her rampageous time. I decided to trust her completely, relax into it, show no lack of trust with her behind me. She meant no harm. She appreciated that I stood still and let her smell. I trusted her after this experience like never before and her trust in me rose considerably. It was a break-through moment for us. By now, I trust her behind me and she trusts me behind her. I feel as free to be relaxed behind Jenny now as Jack. I took Judy in among them with no concern for her safety. By now I know Jenny's affection for women. Sisterhood. Jenny was gentle with Judy, even with Jack standing so close they touched. Even when Jack turned his rear end to her telling her to stay back from me, Jenny acted like she didn't notice. Her attention was focused on Judy. The donkeys started moving about when they'd had enough hands-on. We took the clue and walked to the gate with donkeys all around us. I unfastened the chain to open the gate and Jenny bumped Judy with her nose right between the legs in front. Judy jumped and Jenny laughed. I felt like Jenny was saying, Glad to meet you, sister.
I see Jenny out the window standing next to the gate, her chin over the fence, resting on the top wire. It's a "woven-wire" fence, not barbed wire. It had some barbed wire too, but I took it off for the donkeys. They don't need barbed wire. All the other fence around the meadow is barbed wire, but this stretch of about thirty feet is barbed wire free. Jenny stands like she's having quiet time. Jack is inside their shed. He likes it in there. It's cool in the heat and he can see the entire meadow. If I were to go out there to speak to Jenny, Jack would come walking out of the shed. Jenny is enjoying the peace of Jack no being obsessed with her. It feels good to her to have a moment to herself, standing in the shade of a big maple tree. She's at home. Jenny's gentle nature is still new to me. Since she fell in love with Jack and turned Alpha over to him, she can relax into her life with her man who no longer needs to be jumping on her back so much. He chases her down only a couple times a day now. It used to be all day every day. Jack came walking up to her, she stepped aside and he rubbed the side of his face on the fencepost. Jenny walked out to the meadow to graze. Jack followed. I will take Judy into the meadow tomorrow, too. I know already Jenny will be happy to see her again. I wonder how much having Judy with me caused Jenny to give herself so fully to being touched. I'm still not quite accustomed to Jenny wanting to be touched. I have to note, too, that Jenny fell in love with me when she fell in love with Jack. It was the six months that it takes for grief to subside and at the same time get used to her new life. She has relaxed with me considerably. She has fully accepted her life with Jack to the place it's Jack she wants to be with. Jenny is apprehensive of men, which tells me I have come a very long way gaining her trust. I didn't think to take the camera, glad I didn't. It would have only been in the way. I believe a camera would have acted as a stiff-arm in so intimate a moment.
jack and jenny