Monday, March 14, 2011
I saw magic happen today
If you are not yet familiar with the Morning Bray Farm blog or their recent posts on the little donkey, not too far from their home, being used for inhumane roping activities, please go here to read the story.
If you are a reader of Morning Bray Farm, you will already know that this little roping donkey was rescued just yesterday evening by Justina and her husband, Don. I know Justina will be telling the story behind this, so please be sure to visit Morning Bray Farm.
My post today is about being lucky enough to spend the day with this remarkable rescue donkey. You see, Justina unfortunately had to work today and was very worried about leaving the little guy alone. Since I'm currently visiting the 7MSN Ranch in New Mexico, Linda and I both jumped at the chance to "donkey sit". Around 10:30 this morning, we got to meet the former roping donkey:
His name is now Patrick. And he is just the sweetest, most beautiful donkey:
Trust grows slowly, you know. It's not something you can just jump into:
Especially if you've been abused, it takes time to trust even the kindest of people:
But I watched Patrick try and try and try all day - and I watched Linda give him all the time he needed to allow her to take the next step. I've never seen a donkey so hungry for stimulation and interaction:
As we worked with Patrick, if he got scared, or things became too overwhelming for him, he would move away quickly. Most striking to me, however, was that within moments - literally - he would return, on his own, and reach out to us for more contact.
Sometimes, Linda would walk away and give Patrick a break. When Patrick realized she wasn't going to chase him around or force him into doing something he wasn't ready to do, he would seek her out again:
This 3-year-old donkey, mistreated his entire life, still enjoys being with humans! After we spent a few peaceful, positive hours with him, he felt safe enough to drop to the ground and have a good dust bath. If this isn't trust, I don't know what is:
It did take some time:
and there were a few discussions along the way:
but Linda was able to convince him ...:
that it was ok...:
to put a rope halter on:
But Linda didn't stop there.
The rope halter didn't fit well, so she moved on to a woven one:
Then came the lead rope:
And the brush:
And the leg touching:
This boy just kept going and going:
Bernard, Fergus, Nigel and Ellsworth didn't know quite what to make of it all:
...and words of encouragement came non-stop:
"How about a mouth check?" "Ok," said Patrick:
"Care for a little butt scratch?" Patrick said, "Not my favorite thing right now, but maybe it will grow on me":
What I'm maybe not making very clear is that any *one* of these accomplishments would be a huge milestone for an abused donkey who just arrived on a new farm less than 18 hours earlier. This boy is a star:
Justina was able to come home for lunch and got to love Patrick up a bit:
When Don arrived home this evening, he brought Patrick his very own green halter and lead rope and Don was able to halter Patrick up:
Judging from the interaction through the fence, I think Bernard and Patrick are going to be very good friends:
And I've made wonderful new friends on my trip here to New Mexico.
Justina, Don and I keep saying "goodbye" and "how nice it was to meet you," only to have another opportunity the next day to meet again.
Here is Justina blowing us goodbye kisses and Don saying "See you tomorrow!" even though we currently have no plans to see each other. Yet.:
What I witnessed today is a testament to the resiliency of the donkey spirit. And Patrick is an exceptionally lucky donkey to now call Morning Bray Farm his home. Since I feel like part of this family now, too, I hope he'll call me Auntie Danni:
(In between all her donkey work today, Linda still had time to take a few of her own incredible pictures. Be sure to visit her 7MSN blog.)