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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

TRAINING DONKEYS WITH LOVE

jenny

I had just picked up Henry Miller, read half a page, heard a Japanese car horn go beep, saw Justin's little Toyota slow down to stop. I had parts from yesterday's art project strewn about. Picked up the palm sander and its box from the chair just inside the door. It was all of them, Justin, Crystal, Vada and Cheyanne. It was petting zoo day. I had not seen Cheyanne in at least three weeks. First thing I noticed was her hair was longer. Vada was wearing a glowing pink raincoat and pink rain boots. The kids were lit up, big day, donkeys. I stepped inside for carrots and accompanied them to the gate. Jack was walking toward us, Jenny a ways behind him. This is their new pattern, Jack leads the way and Jenny follows, the reverse of when Jenny was Alpha. They have been a good education for me in Alpha behavior among equines. Jack is assertive now. He's da man. I like seeing the new Jack. In the time Jenny was Alpha, Jack just grazed about and let Jenny keep a lookout for any marauders crossing the fence into their territory. Jack is now the lookout, the first one to see anything moving. It felt good to see Jack walking toward us, seeing it was petting time, visitors, carrots, the human touch, perked up ears, walking in anticipation. I gave a piece of carrot to Cheyanne. Jenny's head was over the fence, her nose reaching for Cheyanne before she could get the carrot situated in her hand. Jenny's lips reached out like fingers and picked it up from Cheyanne's hand before Cheyanne had a chance to hand it to her. It scared and delighted Cheyanne. I was glad to see how gentle Jenny was being with Cheyanne. She picked the carrot out of Cheyanne's hand without touching the hand. I knew then that neither of the kids need be concerned about Jenny or Jack biting their fingers. Both donkeys were taking the carrot chunks with their lips.
 
jenny
 
Jenny was so gracious with both kids I was heartened to see her take to them with such adoration. Cheyanne put her hand on Jenny's open eye and all Jenny did was close the eye while Cheyanne's hand was there. I felt compelled to say, Don't put yer hand on her eye, but chose not to, Jenny knew how to handle it. I preferred for them to interact without me interrupting their communication. They were enjoying each other. Jenny likes Cheyanne. I was holding Vada in glowing raincoat. She wanted to hand Jenny a carrot. She was apprehensive, but I was certain by then Vada's fingers were safe. Jenny took the carrot with her lips and tickled Vada, made her giggle. She wanted to give Jenny another. Cheyanne took carrot to Jack while Vada was getting acquainted with Jenny. Jack was being just as gentle as Jenny with Cheyanne, reaching for the carrot with his lips. Donkey lips are so comic they made the kids laugh to see how they extended the upper lip like the two forefingers and lower lip like a thumb. It's comic because unexpected and it looks funny. They use the lips to take hold of things like with those two fingers and a thumb. They take hold of a tuft of grass with their lips, twist it and chop it off with their teeth. Those are efficient lips for an herbivore. I think I recollect seeing a camel's lips can extend like fingers, too. I was feeling happy about Jenny and Jack, happy to see they were so caring and gentle, dependable with the kids. I was glad to see the confidence I had in the donkeys was realistic. It tells me my reading of the donkeys is somewhat accurate. It felt like an experiential exam, a measure of how gentle the donkeys have become toward people who visit, with me. It tells me I know my donkeys, passed the beginner phase. And the donkeys were my only teachers. First hand, hands on experiential learning. It was how I learned the farm work from old man Tom, by working with him and paying attention.
 
jack
 
The kids got their next big thrill feeding jewelweed to the donkeys. They take the whole plant and munch it down the stem, bite off the roots and let them fall to the ground. It's comical to see the jewelweed plant with all it's leaves around Jenny's nose and her lips pulling them in. Cheyanne went back and forth from Jenny to Jack with jewelweed, having a great time, excited to be playing with the donkeys and them interacting with her. I was heartened to see the good vibes flowing both ways. Cheyanne was loving the donkeys and they were loving her. Vada, too. The affection was flowing both ways with her. It thrilled her out of her mind when Jenny took carrot from her hand and touched Vada's fingers with her lip. Vada was hesitant to risk her fingers again. I told her Jenny was just wanting to feel her finger, donkeys feel with their lips. I held my hand to Jenny and let her feel it all over with her lips to show Vada the lips don't hurt, and reassured her Jenny will not bite her finger when she takes a carrot. I did not want to push Vada to let Jenny feel her fingers again, just wanted to ease off the fear, show her Jenny's lips are safe. She didn't want to give Jenny a carrot again, and that was ok. At jewelweed time, Vada was ready with a new plant as soon as Jenny finished one. Crystal was picking jewelweed plants, handing them to the kids. Justin was watching, not as certain as I was of the donkeys, looking for any sign of danger or a threat. He was relaxed in his Alpha role seeing his babies were safe and happy. And I was relaxed seeing my babies were safe. This has been my ideal, that Cheyanne and Vada be safe with the donkeys.
 
jenny grazing in sunlight
 
I've learned from knowing dogs and cats how to communicate with the four-leggeds. I don't mean telepathic communication, though its included on the subconscious level, but body language, tone of voice, eyes. Eyes are very important in their communication. They read eyes. And I read their eyes. I've learned from living with several dogs and several cats along the way how to communicate with them. When I meet a new animal, like go into somebody's house and a cat comes to have a look and smell of a human never seen before, I make eye contact with the cat and say, in effect, I see you. Sometimes a cat will walk a straight line to me after we make eye contact. But all cats are different. Some shy, some not. I've trained all my dogs and cats with love. I've looked at dog training books and wouldn't do any of what they say to do to a friend of mine. I love my dogs. I don't stand over them so they'll know I am dominant, I am Alpha. I couldn't do that to one of my dogs. I could in play if we were wrestling around and being rambunctious, but not to say I'm dominant. I've loved all my cats and dogs, never trained any of them, never had to scold any of them, never had to hit them. I loved them and they loved me. They love me so much they want to make me happy. From their way of thinking, making me happy is done by pleasing me. They obey automatically. It's not even a matter of obedience. The donkeys respond to love the same. I have not trained them in any way. Don't have to. I can talk to them and they know what I'm saying. This is where our telepathy comes into play. I sometimes am tuned to be able to receive what they have to say. They don't care to talk a lot, talking isn't what they do. They pay more attention to nuances of feeling. They are way more physical than we are. They communicate physically like we do mentally with words. They pay attention to me and learn my language. I pay attention to them and learn their language.     
 
jenny's lips
 
 
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