This is a donkey I found last night on Craigslist, “Free to a good home.” In the same town as me. Now it just so happens that the fiance and I are gifting a donkey to my best friend, who will be my matron of honor at the wedding. She really wants a donkey, we really want a donkey*, this is the cutest donkey in the history of donkeys.
The rub is, however, that none of us have done this before (as is true of almost every single endeavor we shall be undertaking at El Rancho Loco and Soilent Greens). We don’t know what we’re doing. BUT! I’m a fast learner, and they have these things called “books” and this big thing called the “IntraWebz.” With things like the gardening, I already have experience, yes, but not with microgreens or greenhouses. With animals, my experience is limited to horses when I was a teenager, and cats all my life.
BUT, here are the other things in our favor: We have the room, we have the small amount of money it will take to feed her and get her her shots, we have gigantic hearts, and she’ll have so much to do here as part of our family! Job one, she’ll be expected to scamper. While occasional lolling about is fine, we expect shenanigans. Number two, I might train her to carry a monkey in a little saddle (but probably not…I WISH). I will train her to take a halter and a lead, so she can come along with me to hang out while I do certain chores (for moral support). We’ll expect her to love the bothersome carrots and sugar lumps we’ll occasionally foist upon her. We’ll expect her to take care of that pesky hay and water we’ll be providing her. While we won’t necessarily expect it, hopefully she’ll learn to not trample the geese with whom she’ll be sharing a field (I’ve read they are good companions).
But as with every other undertaking here, I have a certain amount of trepidation because I’ve never done it before. Take this puppy we have. Yes, she is the cutest puppy to ever live. AND, she was “Free to a good home” too! No lie. Three weeks ago a couple in front of the grocery store was giving away her and her litter mates (7 brothers!) and we could not say “no.” However, she is mentally unstable and given to unbridled fits of retardation. As I shared with a friend, she is simultaneously brilliant and moronic. And while I haven’t lived with a puppy since I was twelve, the partner has and assures me that she does not need the short bus or a helmet. He tells me she’s naturally “gifted” and with training and maturity will grow out of the need to bite my feet, herd me with nipping and barking, tear up my garden, shit on the rug, eat cords and cat shit right out of the box.
She does come when called, plays fetch, sits on command, and naturally heels (when she’s not trying to walk between our legs). She loves having her belly rubbed and she sleeps right next to the bed without any problems. No whining or crying. I’m having to train myself more than anything, for instance, accepting the fact that she really needs crate training to stop her from having accidents, because I’m not super-human and can’t watch her every minute. She’s gaining weight at a rate of about 2 lbs. a week, and at this rate we expect her Black Mouth Cur/Golden Retriever DNA to put her at around 70 lbs., so I have some fast learning to do. BUT I CAN DO IT. (I just hope she doesn’t grow up thinking her name is “Jesus Christ, REALLY?”)
Again, I ain’t scared. None of us is sure whether we’re exceptionally brave or unspeakably dumb. I’m hoping it’s 90% former/10% latter.
*In all seriousness, though, the donkey will have a job, but it’s one that is instinctual: Warn of predators like coyotes, and hopefully protect against a potential fence-breech. I’ve read they’re naturals!