The donkeys are such good natured donkeys that I am able to know them as I would know a dog. Big powerful beasts I would not have a chance attacked by one with murderous intent. They don't have court. It would take a lot to make a donkey kill a man, but mistreating one is a very dangerous thing to do. There comes a time they've had enough. They know my size and they know their size. They know I'm easy to push over. I'm not as certain on two feet as they are on four. I'd be gone in half a minute if one of the donkeys went at me furious. So I don't make them furious. I treat them the way I want them to treat me, and they do. Every living thing gives what they get. It's natural law like gravity and the speed of light. This is why it's in all the scriptures of all the religions. I don't hit donkeys with a stick, they don't kick me. I love having a friendship with a beast as powerful as a bear and with a brilliant mind that catches on as fast as a child's. I feel completely safe with the donkeys. Children are safe with them. They adore kids. I've tamed them not by training, but by loving them. I love them, they love me. I recall in the first weeks of becoming acquainted with Jack, one day I was visiting with him and said to him, You're my friend. He snorted and shook his head like in a slight uncontrollable spasm. He understood what I said. He liked hearing it. Every time I call him Friend, a mild calm runs through him. My familiar name for him is Donkey Jack. He likes Donkey Jack. I have both of them proud to be donkeys. I praise their beautiful donkey nature, their donkey minds, their donkey faces, donkey ears, donkey body, donkey legs and hooves, donkey speed, donkey power. I tell them both daily they are beautiful donkeys. At carrot time, I get down and look Jenny in the eye and say, I love you, beautiful donkey. Her eye responds by showing a degree of relaxation. Jenny's familiar name is Donkey Jen. She likes her name and Jack likes his. Both like to hear me speak their names.
One day before Jenny arrived in the meadow, I was in the donkey shed with Jack. I said to him, I'd like to be able to ride you. He snorted, wiggled his head and held it down. I felt like he was saying he'd like me to ride him too. I said, But I'm so heavy now, I wouldn't want to risk hurting your back. He smiled, snorted and it felt like I heard him say, Thanks for the consideration. I heard those exact words in my mind's ear. I wondered if I might be tapping into his telepathic zone. I feel so certainly they read me by way of telepathy, I go to them with clear mind. The only danger I have in the meadow is they get so jealous, they'll take turns keeping the other away from me. At the fence in the morning for carrot time, Jack in his Alpha role comes running. He squeals and brays. I give him carrot while Jenny takes her time walking along. She approaches for her carrot, Jack squeals and snorts, donkey growling, turns his rear end to her telling her to stay back, MY ice cream man! Jack settles down as quickly as the gesture was begun. Jenny backs up a little to get out of range if Jack were to kick. He doesn't kick and she reaches to me with her lips reaching for carrot. Jack settles down and they stand side by side munching carrot. It was quite different in Jenny's time as Alpha. She would arrive at the fence first. As soon as Jack was anywhere near, see went at him kicking him, biting at him, sending him in a big half circle around her on his way to the carrot. I'd step over a ways to make it easier for him getting past Jenny. Once he took his first carrot, Jenny settled down. She was haughty with him, bold, a very difficult woman with Jack, and kicked him so much he took to liking it. She is bigger than Jack and feistier. However, when Jack goes into action, he is fierce as a dog. I saw Jenny and Jack fight enough during their early months together to get the picture, they are powerful. They fight like horses. I know better than to piss off a donkey. Like I say, they don't have court, nor do they have the Ten Commandments.
jenny trickles down
It's by the force of their will they allow me to live. Both are free to swing around and let me have it any time I'm around them. Once, I stepped in the way when Jenny was about to pop Jack with a back hoof and she touched my leg. It was no more than a touch. At the moment of contact she realized she'd hit me, not Jack. She withdrew the power from the kick immediately so all I felt was a mere touch. Another time, I stepped between them just as Jack was hauling off to let Jenny have it. His hoof touched the back of my hand about like a butterfly landing. He realized on contact he'd hit the wrong one and pulled the power out of his kick so it was just a touch. I didn't scold him. I was impressed. I said, Thank you, Friend. I heard a statistic from a reliable source that in the course of a year more people around the world are killed by donkeys than die in plane crashes. That was the only thing I knew about donkeys when Jack took up here. I imagined an awful lot of men who work donkeys are not good to them. According to the range of human nature, some are good to donkeys and some are not, in degrees from one pole to the other. The statistic tells me a donkey will take abuse like a dog, but unlike a dog, a donkey doesn't have loyalty unto death in its nature. Donkeys want to please us. Don't allow the opportunity to be pleased, hit them and only scold them, there comes a moment the donkey says, I have given you my all and you did not deserve it. The western USA has wild donkey herds. I'm sure the mountains of Central and South America have herds of wild donkeys, herds that came from donkeys that escaped perhaps an abusive human and reproduced into a herd. Surely the Middle East has donkey herds in its remotest regions. Iran is covered with mountains. Surely donkey herds live in those hills. Southeast Asia surely has wild donkeys, rural China, Siberia. Original donkeys in Somalia are endangered down to around 500, the number shrinking fast. They eat them there. They also live in extreme poverty.
jack sniffs it
I want my donkeys to have a good donkey life. Ideally, they would live in a herd, but herd is not practical in circumstances here. I don't want a herd to deal with. I don't want a dozen kick-boxers stamping around me jealous of each other, back ends hopping up and down, legs kicking. It's weird enough between two of them going into a kick fest, even knowing I won't be kicked. I don't like to test trust. Trust gets tested by way of unforeseen circumstances enough without pop tests complicating it. I step out from between them and say, I'm going back to my barn. They settle down and return to grazing. The donkeys have shown me what I've seen in other four-leggeds I've known, dogs and cats, they hear, see and pay attention while giving the appearance they are not. We learn from the time we're babies that we are required to show that we are listening when talked to. They've never been taught you have to at least act like you're paying attention. I talk to them while they're grazing and they show no sign that they're listening, except I can see it in the way they're grazing that they're multi-tasking, grazing and listening to the ice cream man. Jenny and Jack are so familiar with the camera now they get frisky with it. Invariably, they, both of them, will run their nose right up to it just as I'm about to take a picture of a donkey face, giving me a donkey nose, and sometimes donkey teeth. Both act like they want to bite it but I know they only want to feel it with their lips and teeth, so I let them. Jenny made a dive for the camera, I held it for her like a carrot and clicked when she opened her mouth. Now that Jenny has given Alpha over to Jack, which she did in May, she is gentle and sweet all the time. She's still frisky Jenny, but only when Jack gets too close. Her eyes are different when she's not Alpha. Alpha, her eyes flash, she's in control, she's in charge, she wants all concerned to be aware of it. I so seldom see that flash in her eyes anymore, I sometimes wonder if she's not well. Her eyes are calm and serene all the time. She seems like she's in meditation with eyes open. Jack is a let-it-be Alpha. He is the lookout for the territory and first for carrots. Jenny defers to him as her conqueror. Once Jack conquered Jenny, she fell in love with him and passed Alpha to him.
jack curls his lip