Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Stubborn is Good

Back in January, when Ben was so sick with the latest tick-borne disease to plague us, there was one day in particular that I came very close to calling the vet to come out and give that most final of gifts. Ben was lying down and showing no inclination to get up.  He was in a lot of pain and severely depressed.  I went out and sat with him, rubbed his ears, scratched his neck, massaged his muscles, and I asked him,

"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.


  1. And now I need a kleenex. You are special.

  2. Look at him go! I am so glad for Ben AND for you!

  3. How sweet and steady! So glad you were able to do this!

  4. Yes you nailed it regarding donkeys. They are not stubborn, they are just reasonable. You have to reason with them and not push them around. I am so happy to see that Ben is doing well!

  5. SWEET! How wonderful!!!

    I want to drive a cart with Star. Only, I think grumpy rumpy Star will be at full throttle and I'd get wrapped around a tree.

    I'm so glad Ben (and You) didn't give up. Animals are amazing. If only some people had had the integrity and tenacity of critters, the world would be so much better.

    Have a super, dooper weekend. We are getting rain today and all the way thru next week. :(

  6. You are an amazing woman Kris.
    Just look at that spotted ass! (I crack myself up!)

  7. Awww, this is great! I love the way he swivels his ear back to listen to you... what a sweet donk!

  8. If I ever visit your neck of the woods, you'd better hold tightly onto that boy. Otherwise I will pack him in my suitcase and spirit him away to this neck of the woods.

  9. He is.
    A treasure. Ben the invinciblle donkey. Love how he is so smart and attentive. So happy he is feeling better.

  10. Sure am glad that Ben has a lot of 'true grit' and a really big heart and decided he'd put up the good fight to stay with you on the farm. What a joy to see you two out driving!

  11. This post brought tears to my eyes. You are so great Kris!! Proud to call you my friend. So happy for Ben and for you. Love the behavioral bits; sooo true I think, of most animals, if we approach things with a positive training method, and kindness and understanding of their behavior, they will give us their all. So happy for you both!!!

  12. Good boy indeed! Now, see, I know living out there can be a pain but that is a lovely road to drive down! Even bushriding here now is dangerous what with all the illegal offroad trail bikes, and the roads are full of impatient people who don't understand horses, so I no longer feel safe riding out, nevertheless driving an equid up the road. That just looks glorious though! Driving a willing horse or donkey is blissful. Such a natural and relaxing speed.

  13. So happy to hear it al worked out . You had me at the beginning with true tears in my eyes . Glad to also see your still here blogging and sharing . It's been a long time since I've been on blogs and I realize I truly miss the in-depth shares.
    Happy Trails,
    Willow and Honey bee

  14. Ben looks very much like my donkey Matilde: similar face and very similar markings. The dapples seem to be much better defined in the summer, after winter coat has come off. From what you have said they seem similar in temperament too. Big difference in age though: Matilde is much younger.

  15. Clearly I have been away for too long. You have a Ben now. He's very handsome. :)