Life with Abner.


I’m not sure Abner would say the same about me, but I sure like him a lot!

He’s still not terribly keen on just being petted or brushed.  He tolerates being hand-fed.

Getting a handful of oats, or the occasional range cube or two, is worth tolerating us humans.


I liken him to a cat.

No, really.

Abner acts all lovey and sweetness and light while you have food in your hand, but the second it’s gone, so is he.

I still love him.

(“Just what I’ve always wanted! My very own [donkey]! I will name him [Abner]. And, I will hug him and pet him and squeeeeze him. I will pat him and pet him…” )

(Oh, Looney Toons, where would we be without you?)

And, while he may not be that sweet on us, he’s good with the cows.

In fact, it’s fascinating to watch him interacting with the girls.

He will occasionally put his ears back and aggravate them, but the majority of the time, he is always near them, watching out for them.


For example, if Freddie (our girl calf) wanders off from the two mamas, Abner makes sure she never gets too far away. If he feels she has, he gently encourages her to return to Lucy and Ethel.

(Just to clarify: Freddie does not have two mamas. She has one, Ethel. Lucy, sadly, had to watch her bull calf be taken away to another pasture of cows. So, maybe I should refer to them as Freddie’s mama and auntie?)

(But, that takes too long to explain.)

We were told and had read that donkeys are great watch dogs for cows and horses…I’m assuming any herd of domesticated animals??

Even though I grew up on a cattle ranch, I was not involved with the daily workings, so all of this is very new to me/us.

The hard work, the quiet, the cleaner air, the cows, the donkey(s)–we actually have two!–the slower pace…all make for a wonderful new season of life for us.

While living in the city for 20-plus years, I’m not sure I ever, once, stopped the car to look at cows grazing, or much less, watched a donkey interacting with them!

(Granted, I had to drive OUT of the city to find them. And, who has time for that??)

Did I ever really stop to look up into the starry sky?

…Would I have even seen the stars?

Did I ever sit on my back porch, waiting and watching for Purple Martins? Hoping to see a couple of Bluebirds while I was there?

Did I ever really hear the buzz of a Hummingbird’s wings?

How was I so conditioned to stare at a wooden fence around my yard and think it was pretty? (It was all I had, back then.)

Now, though.

Only now, do I understand my daddy sitting on the back porch, just staring out at the open pasture behind the house.

Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t trade my many years in the city. I love the city and all its offerings of convenience, constant movement, activities galore, good, good food.

But, my heart just seems to be more at peace, less restricted, where there are fewer cars, less concrete, less busyness…


and a donkey.



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