Friday, October 12, 2007

Day two: Jethro resoundingly fails to settle in

Since I'm perhaps arousing in at least one or two readers the desire to purchase a donkey, it would be irresponsible to share only the golden moments. Yesterday, perhaps, was a brief honeymoon - Jethro was sweet, he came whenever I appeared and liked being stroked and groomed, he seemed to be zooming along on the training continuum.

Last night was the first cold night after a month of record-breaking hot days (and nights). Jethro was shivering when I went out just after dawn to take him some breakfast hay. Then Paco arrived and we started putting siding on Jethro's shed, not a hundred feet away. He did not like the circular saw and he did not like the hammering. He started stamping and snorting.

I wisely thought: "This is just a bad day - all this racket - and I don't have time for peaceful training - I should just let him be." That was smart. Then the stupid thing was, I decided to take him for a walk.

I put his halter on him and led him down the driveway and he even waited while I opened the deer fence, clever good donkey! However, he stopped dead at the sight of our (completely empty) street. The next stupid thing was, I tried to get him to keep going. My neighbors across the way gaped as I urged him about twenty feet down the road. But that was the end. He turned around and headed back the way we came, at ever increasing velocity. When we got through the deer fence, he broke away from me with an effortless shrug and headed off through the woods, dragging his lead line.

One rule of donkey training - never chase a donkey. It teaches him that you like to run around like an idiot. Relieved to see he respected the deer fence (one day he'll realize he can just walk right through it), I left him to his own devices for a while. He realized the grass was greener and went on a munching rampage. He ran, trailing his lead rope, any time he suspected (incorrectly) that I was after him.

Then, while I was watering the almost-dead dogwood, I realized Jethro was between the hose and his round pen. Taking advantage of this arrangement, it was ready, aim, fire! The hose, gently spritzing in his direction, was a powerful convincer.

Yes, he went in his pen, but by then Jethro was in such a lather that when I (the next stupid thing) went in behind him to add fresh grass to his bin, he circled rather wildly and kicked me in the hand (maybe by accident). My supersonic shriek was the last straw. He sulked for the rest of the day.

Obviously I have a lot to learn.

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At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sigh...relationships can be so trying. Howver the visual of Jethro running away every time you approached him made me laugh, and I apologize for that. Very clever of you to spritz him into his pen. How is your hand?

At 8:00 PM, Anonymous obnlgfl said...

Sorry to hear that your donkey is acting like a jackass. Hopefully he'll settle down and acclimate himself to his new surroundings soon. Keep us posted.


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