"Are you done Ben? Truly done?"
I rubbed his ears some more, told him I would miss him if he left and finally, he sighed and moaned a bit and then heaved himself to his very sore feet. He pressed his head against my chest and I wrapped my arms around him and said,
"OK, you stay on your feet and I will fight this thing till we win. Don't give up on me and I won't give up on you."
Ben did get better, but I was not sure he would ever be sound again. He recovered slowly, in small, immeasurable increments. I worked on the foot that had foundered a little at a time to bring it back into balance. His joints pained him a little less every day. The light slowly came back to his eyes.
On Monday afternoon, we had a brief respite from nearly constant rain and, on the spur of the moment, Ben and I went for a drive.
Ben hasn't been out since last fall, but I tossed the ill-fitting harness on him, hitched him to the borrowed cart and off we went. Quiet, steady and good as gold.
Ben is a very sweet, easygoing, lovable fellow with a solid core of donkey toughness and implacability. He can be very stubborn.
If Ben likes you and you ask nicely, he will do anything for you. If you get into an argument with Ben, you have already lost. If you try to push him around, he becomes as immovable as Everest. Tell him how good and wonderful he is and show him that you mean it and he would walk into a volcano with you.
He is an excellent companion for a quiet drive in the country. I wasn't sure we would ever be doing this again.
I am so glad the toughness and implacability won out. Stubborn is good.