Saturday, March 7, 2015

Escape Artist

J.J., Betsy & Molly
       When I saw the white van pull up to my back gate, I knew what had happened.
“Did J.J. get out again?” I asked the driver, my neighbor, Phillip.
J. J. is the donkey that used to belong to Phillip’s mother-in-law, Cathy, who lived next door to me.When Cathy died in August 2013, I looked after J.J., Betsy the goat and Molly, Cathy’s aged horse, until Phillip and Misty could get a place with a pasture. I took the donkey and the horse home Mother’s Day weekend. Molly died a few weeks ago, and ever since then, the lonesome donkey keeps pulling a Houdini act and disappearing. I like to think he’s looking for some equine company.
“Yes, he’s down the road again. I called you but got no answer, so I came on. You said I could borrow the trailer anytime.”
“Sure, no problem,” I replied, brushing Mallory, my walking horse, as I talked. “Haven’t you fixed that fence yet?”
“All but a couple of places, but there are a bunch of briars in those places. He keeps going through them. I’ve got to cut the briars down so I can run the barbed wire there.”
This was the second time in three days Phillip had to use my trailer to get J.J. home. He had wandered so far down the road that it was easier to trailer him home than to walk him home. Donkeys really can be stubborn.
“Why don’t you just bring him here for a few days, until you can get the fence repaired,” I suggested.
Phillip’s face lit up like a kid with cotton candy. “Really?” he said. “That would be great.”
So that’s what he did Friday. I came back to the house after brushing Mallory, and received a call from Phillip a short while later. He was at the back, having just delivered J.J.
“You should see him,” Phillip saId. “He brayed four or five times, ran up and down the fence, and the other horses ran with him,” he said. “They’re all kicking up and having a great time. By the way, are your mares in heat?”
“Not that I know of,” I replied. “They usually don’t go into heat until warmer weather. Why? Is he trying to mount one of them?”
“Yeah, the little pony,” he said. “She’s about his size, and seems to be backing up to him.”
“Nibbles? Well, that’s okay,” I told him. “We may just have us a little mule baby next year.”
This morning when I went out to feed them, J.J. and Nibbles were lying side by side in the pasture, soaking up the sunshine. I texted Misty and suggested they take Nibbles home when they come for J.J. She has been looking for a companion for the donkey.  If they like having Nibbles, and decide to keep her, we can talk about a price later. It will be reasonable, because I’ll have one less mouth to feed and less horse poop to muck. 
But if she does turn up pregnant, that baby is mine!

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