Friday, November 14, 2008

Let's talk about how smart donkeys are


Are some of you wondering how Pistol is doing since his donkey pals, Ian and Brownie, were adopted?

The day that Ian and Brownie were picked up wasn't just rough on me, it hit Pistol pretty hard, too. I witnessed something with him that afternoon I never would have believed had I not seen it personally.

Seconds after Mary's big diesel truck, carrying Brownie and Ian, pulled out of my barn driveway and started to drive down the road, I went into the barn to let Pistol out of his stall and into the pasture.

He walked slowly out of his stall, walked through the gate and into the pasture and just stood there for a moment, as if assessing:

And then he started off down the hill:

Slowly at first, then he broke into a run:

...until he reached the bottom of the hill. The way our property is situated, the road that took Brownie and Ian away winds along two sides of our property. As I stood there wondering what the heck he was doing, it dawned on me that Pistol was running after the sound of the truck engine - and his pals! He had watched from his stall as they were loaded into the truck and was now following the truck as it wound its way down the road on the other side of our property. Can you see him down there?:

How about now, when I enlarge it a bit:

He ran as far as he could go, then stood there for the longest time, looking in the direction that the diesel truck had driven. He let out the most plaintiff bray. Nothing I did could distract him from his post. He just wanted to stand there, watching and listening, even long after the engine noise had disappeared:

Donkeys aren't meant to be alone. They have an incredible need to be with others of their kind. While we humans might like to think our company is all they really require, I believe donkeys become sad and confused when their number dwindles to one.

Once the boys were truly gone, and Pistol gave up his fence-staring vigil, he started following me everywhere I went. This is not usual behavior for him. He would have even walked into the chicken coop with me if I had let him:

If I walked outside to see him, he'd hurry over to see me:

If I walked away, he'd be right behind me:

Yet every time he heard an unusual noise or saw a movement out of the corner of his eye, he would stop and stare:

This isn't the stance of a cautious donkey who just heard something, this is the stance of a donkey hoping he's merely overlooked his pals, who've really come back and are over there behind those trees:

Dinnertime used to be so much noisier:

Fortunately, there's hope for my big guy. He won't be alone for long.

22 comments:

Heather said...

Ahh sadness. Equine creatures are such herd animals. You might put a radio in his barn until he has some pals arrive.

Great pics by the way.

Thanks for the note on my blog. I've been so busy - it's 4th quarter right before Black Friday and I work as a buyer in the movie's business...you get my drift eh? :)

the7msn said...

Ok, that's twice this week you've left me sobbing. It sounds like more donkeys might be on their way from Peaceful Valley, though. Gosh, I hope it's soon, for your sake, Pistol's sake, and all your faithful readers' sakes, too!

Farmer Jen said...

Oh Danni, I am sad for Pistol and for you too. Are you really getting more donkeys to foster? Wonderful post and photos.

Tracey said...

I am so sad for Pistol and you! I do hope more donkey friends arrive SOON!!

Robbyn said...

He's so beautiful.

I'm glad he won't be alone for long :)

Anonymous said...

I'm crying right with him! :( This is so sad. You're getting him a friend RIGHT? **sniff** **sniff**

frugalmom said...

Just thinking about my sweetheart, Pistol, running after that diesel truck trying to catch up with his friends just brings me to tears....not to mention hearing him braying...calling out to his pals...and wondering just what the heck was going on. Where everyone could have gone and why wasnt he with them....

He must have been so confused and concerned. Poor guy. Just makes my heart break thinking about it. He, who, likes to give the first impression of aloofness....he really does have a very charming and tender side. Being the "leader" is a big job. He filled the shoes very well.

Handsome Pistol....Im so glad that he chose me to be his friend.

Wrensong Farm said...

Poor Pistol! :( I can feel his sadness (and yours)....I sure don't need to be crying at work! I hope you are feeling up to getting some more donkey friends.....

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I sure want Pistol to have some new friends really soon, too . . . so he won't be so lonely.

seasonseatingsfarm said...

Would a couple of hens stay with Pistol to keep him company? It would probably help until the new donks arrive or he goes to his forever home. When one of our horses was alone she had a pet barn cat that slept on her back. She went from sad and lonely to at least a little bit content.

farm mom said...

Oh, poor pistol. It is so easy to see why you made the decision you did. xoxo

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Oh Danni, your killin' me with these posts. Please find him friends soon!!! Lots and lots of friends!

CeeCee said...

Hooray! More donks for Danni! Maybe this time you should latch onto two of them permanently?

goatgirl said...

Awww Danni, you're killing me here. Poor Pistol. Please let it be that more donkeys are on the way!

Marigold said...

Okay, stop with the tear-making stuff already. Goats don't like to cry!!! :) Goats don't like to be alone either, so I quite understand Pistol's plight. Okay, time to ADOPT Pistol yourself and get him a permanent buddy while you're at it. After all, Watson and Peanut worked out. Perhaps I should send Pistol some Peanuts in the meantime. Do you think that would help???

Christy said...

What a sad post. Poor guy. I'm glad he'll have friends soon.

Country Girl said...

Ohhh, your breaking my heart! I am glad he is going to have some new friends soon!

warren said...

Poor thing! I am glad he'll have pals again soon. I have really appreciated learning about donkeys from you...great work!

Eve said...

I hope to hear a happy ending to this story Danni!! I wish I was there to give Pistol some hugs!

Mellimaus said...

MORE DONKEYS?! MORE DONKEYS?! YOU'RE GETTING MORE! SPILL THE NEWS!

I like donkeys.

Poor Pistol, I wish I could meet him, he has such a sweet face. :-/...

sweetgrace said...

Ohh that is too sad. It breaks my heart to see him so lonely. Twice now you've brought tears to my eyes over your sweet, sweet donkeys.

I hope you get him some friends soon.

Egghead said...

Again this made me feel so sad for him. I am so glad he is with his friends. Don't let anyone ever say donkeys are not smart. This is proof.