I have been participating in a rather hysterical online conversation about kissing donkeys. The thread has been playing out in the Open Group for Bedlam Farm, an online community comprised of creative souls who also have wicked senses of humor. Come on now…it’s nothing kinky. We do not need to ask said donkeys to show us on the doll where the human touched them.
It was just a funny conversation inspired by a photo of people…well…kissing a donkey on the nose. This was followed by author and group mentor Jon Katz making a public proclamation that he is, indeed, also a donkey kisser. He kisses his donkey Simon on the nose every single day.
I too am very fond of donkeys. Jim and I share our world with a menagerie of animals and prominent among them are five miniature donkeys, one standard donkey, and one fabulous mule. All are very kissable. Jim might argue this point—the donkeys can be a tad mischievous and occasionally destructive—so let me rephrase that, “I” find them all very kissable.
Anyhow, all the talk about the smoochability of donkeys made me reflect on how my love of long ears was born. And it’s a bit of a tale.
Many, many, oh-so-many years ago, I lived on just three acres with just one horse and a rational number of dogs. It seems like that was a lifetime ago. In many respects, it was.
One warm spring day I received a call from a friend who lived on a horse property not far from my place. She was on a mission to save an injured donkey and the donkey needed to enter the witness protection program.
She believed he actually belonged to a neighboring ranch, but the donkey knew no boundaries and easily scooted beneath pasture fences in search of a better life. The little guy, a bit starved for attention, had always spent more time at my friend’s ranch where her daughters would hug him and where he knew he would be offered feed and carrots.
On this particular day, the little donkey needed help. He had shown up a couple of days earlier and had a very swollen, painful back leg. My friend (yes, names are being withheld to protect the not-so-innocent-but-very-caring) had called the ranch where she believed the donkey lived and left messages that he was injured, that he needed immediate help. There was no reply. There was no donkey ambulance dispatched.
At this point she believed the donkey was abandoned. If not abandoned, certainly neglected and she did not want to see him returned to his former home where his injury might be left untreated.
Would I rescue a cute miniature donkey? Do I really need to tell you my answer?
Of course nothing is really simple, is it? You see, neither of us had a horse trailer. And there were several miles betwixt point A and point B. And the donkey’s leg appeared to be broken.
Ok. We were intelligent donkey thieves rescuers. We could figure this out.
So, we called a friend who had a small pickup truck. We backed the truck into a ditch and lowered the tailgate as a makeshift ramp. Perfect! What donkey wouldn’t want to hop right in to head off to a new and wonderful life?
Apparently an open-air ride in the back of a truck was not on this little man’s bucket list. So we slowly convinced (aka: pushed and pulled…ok, my friends pushed and I pretty much fell in the bed of the truck laughing hysterically), our little friend to make his way into the truck and quickly shut the tailgate.
Of course the donkey would not move to the front of the truck bed and instead insisted on leaning precariously on the tailgate. Could this be how you guys got a reputation for being a tad stubborn? You think?
We obviously couldn’t risk having the donkey flip out of the back of the truck as that would certainly defeat the purpose of rescuing him, so my friend sat on one corner in the back of the truck and I sat on the other. She sat on the corner with the butt-end of the donkey. I got to laugh a whole lot more from my vantage point with the front-end of the donkey (there is no photo evidence of this event…so it may or may not have happened).
You see, as our other cohort gingerly inched the truck onto the road, the donkey, feeling the motion, decided that he should sit down. And he did. On friend one’s lap.
Now, let’s paint this mental picture once again…we have a small pickup truck. We have a tiny donkey sitting on a woman’s lap in the back of said truck. We have another woman holding the donkey’s head with tears born of unrestrained laughter streaming down her (my) face.
Add to this little calamity the fact that we wanted to circumvent the ranch where our little runaway donkey may have (did) actually belong. Though the probable (actual) owner had been given every chance to claim his donkey and failed to do so, we still thought it might be a bad idea to parade directly in front of the ranch.
So yeah, we had to go a few extra miles out of our way with friend one’s legs losing all feeling. Miniature, yes, but he still weighed 250 to 300 pounds. This is kind of like Santa Claus deciding he should change things up and sit on the kids’ laps to hear Christmas wishes.
Oh and we could only drive about five to 10 miles per hour because in reality we (one partially paralyzed person, one sobbing with hysterics person, one very content, enjoying-the-ride jack) were all still in danger of flipping out of the back of the truck.
A drive that should have taken 15 minutes took well over an hour. It might have felt like five hours.
And we got looks. Lots of looks. It was not exactly a subtle getaway.
But we did get our little donkey buddy to his new/my home. I had a veterinarian out to check his indeed-it-was-broken leg. I gave the little guy a comfortable place to rest while his leg healed (which it thankfully did!), and so a new love for long-eared, loud yodeling, heart-stealing little equines was born.
So how did I end up with five more miniature donkeys? I bought him a girlfriend, of course. I’ll let you figure out the rest from there.
Note: In the event that you are reading this and find the story familiar…in fact feel sure I may have absconded with your miniature donkey…I assure you this is just another exercise in fiction writing. Yes. Fiction. And I’m pretty sure they don’t hang people for stealing broken donkeys these days.