The Great Escape

First of all this is a RE-POST from way back when nobody was following me….excuse the not so perfect photo’s, it is the story that counts.

I’m choosing to re-post this post since this week marks one year since my sister and I adopted two wild burros from the Bureau of Mismanagement (BLM).   We adopted them for Rosie to be a guard donkey for my goats and Francis to be a guard donkey for Susie’s sheep.   I agreed to tame Francis until she was ready to go to her new home across the valley.  I would keep Rosie at Sundog.  This post was a little more than half way through their taming.  Enjoy

The Grass is Always Greener on the Other SideImage

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Francis goes to Flournoy

ImageLast week was a big week.  The BIG day arrived.  It was time for Francis to go to her new home.  We backed the trailer right up to the arena were we sometimes put the donkeys. Normally having to back up a trailer to a arena or pasture to load a horse is not a good sign.  But since trailer loading was not checked off on the “to do”  list in training we had to go the kinda wild animal or livestock way to load.Image

We built a chute the best way we could think of….kinda pathetic huh?  Mr. Lassen had no idea why were are making it so complicated to get in the trailer.ImageThis is Helen getting Francis ready to go on her big trailer ride.  Helen has been coming to Sundog twice a week to help me tame the donkey’s.  See how Francis holds her hoofs up so nicely for cleaning?  Thanks to Helen for that.  Six months ago we could not get near her let alone clean her hoofs.

ImageHere is Helen again trying to get Francis to turn around in our pathetic chute that was suppose to not let her turn around.  I was not able to take many loading photo’s as all my energy was taken up LOADING Francis.  Image Long story short…we eventually got Francis to jump in the trailer on her own accord.  If you know donkey’s you know it is a good idea to let them in on the decision making.   Once in the trailer Francis got lots of treats and did not think it was so bad in there.ImageRosie on the other hand watched and wondered why in the world Francis “GAVE IN” by getting into that BIG tin can.   Much to my delight Rosie acted perplexed but not too upset by the whole episode.   She continued to watch the trailer for a minute or two, gave out a few brays then went right back to eating her pile of grass hay as if to say “C’est la vie.”     All that separation preparation we did must have worked.  WOW I love it when things go as planned with my wild burro dream.

ImageThe Sundogs got the message they were not invited on this trip so they decided to hang out in a shady spot until they absolutely had to go back to the house.ImageAfter the hour drive to Francis’s new home in Flournoy we were immediately greeted by a welcoming committee.  They had to mark their territory right away and sniff to see what in the world was in that BIG tin can.


Why look what the cat dragged in!

ImageFrancis hopped out of the trailer and strolled into her new pasture as if this is were she was meant to be.  No panic, no anxiety,  no running around frantic that there were no other donkey’s to be seen.   She put her head down, smelled the green grass…..Image

and looked at me as if to say “why didn’t you take me here sooner?

ImageImageHelen gave Francis some good bye pats and hugs.  Helen like me was relieved to see how happy Francis appeared in her new home.ImageFrancis even seemed right at home with her new care takers Kenny and Jenna.   Allowing new people to stand on both sides of her was very courageous.  We will miss her but knowing she is happy with good folks makes it all OKAY.ImageFrancis is now a main attraction on Paskenta Road about a 1/2 mile from the tiny town of Flournoy.  If you are ever driving out that way look for Francis, honk and say HEE-HAW!!


Color (1 of 1)-22Rosie and Francis are getting used to being apart.   It is sad but it is how it has to be.    They both have “jobs to do” and “places to go”  Francis is going to her new home soon so in preparation I have put them in separate pens.   Learning to be apart is not easy for donkey’s.  We used to hear them bray at 2am, 4am, 6am and of course right before we go out to feed around 8am.  But we are making PROGRESS!  Lately they have dropped the 2 am,  4 am and sometime 6am bray!   Sleep is not the only benefit Rockin Roy and I have gained.  Color (1 of 1)-6The donkey’s welcome MOST humans even without treats in hand.  They halter easily, allow their hoofs to be cleaned and they can be lead somewhere.   At least most of the time! LOL    Another step in the progress direction is I have taken a leap and purposely let them out of their pens.  This is how it goes.  On given day Rosie OR Francis gets to come out for the day and play guard donkey.  And since I don’t want to panic about them leaving and going back to the wild only one donkey gets out at a time.  You see they are joined at the hip and if one stays around the other won’t go far.    Of course the thought crosses my mind perhaps they would not leave Sundog if they were out happily grazing together but I don’t want to find out.   Francis is going to her new home soon and I do not need chaos in my life.  So far this tactic is working EXCEPT  Rosie sometimes does not want to go BACK into her pen at the end of a day of freely grazing and browsing with the goats.  This behavior tests my patience since the goats and Francis go right back into their pens in the evening.  One night I did not have time OR patience with this behavior so Rosie ended up spending the night outside of her pen for the night.   The next morning I found her looking a bit embarrassed huddled next to Francis’s pen and Francis.  Color (3 of 7)She gladly accepted a hug and a treat then allowed me to halter her and lead her into her pen.  After that experience she is thinking twice about evading me at put back time.  Last night she decided to play run away again.  Too bad for her I had plenty of patience and time.   Eventually she came around to my way of thinking.    In time she will see the value of a nice secure place to spend the night and stop this foolish behavior.

Image  As many of you know I originally I acquired Rosie and Francis to be guard donkeys since we lost a couple of goats to mountain lions last year.  When shopping for a guard donkey they say “Jenny’s” which is a female donkey, are the best for guarding.  Even so one never knows if the donkey you get, Jenny or Jack,  will be well suited for the job.  SO it is amazing to me that Rosie and Francis are actually starting to do their jobs.  This was my original plan and it is working!  Imagine that.  Things going as planned.


Adios Amigo’s until next post.

The Great Escape

The Grass is Always Greener on the Other SideImage

As I meandered to the kitchen sink to rinse out my coffee cup Friday morning Rockin Roy calmly informed me of the fact Rosie and Francis were OUT.  The burro’s getting out is a HUGE fear of mine as I am convinced they will say “screw you Jo, we are finally free again and are going back to were we came from”

Fortunately for me they did not take off so fast.  From the kitchen window I could see them happily munching away on our overgrown lawn.  Maybe I should just let them stay up here for awhile I thought?  That thought did not last long.  Visions of fresh budding roses chomped down to the nubs prompted me to make a move.  I grabbed my camera (of course) slipped into muck boots, put a smile on my face and was out the back door.   No big deal I told myself, with all the loving and training we have been doing these gals will just follow me right back to the barn.  Well not quite.  After a few more munches of lawn Francis took one look at me in that cute way looking down, and Rosie too using her monocular vision.  They had other plans for the morning.

ImageOff they went into our newly tilled vegetable beds.ImageWhoa……what nice soft dirt.  But where is the grass?ImageHere it is!  ImageAt this point it was apparent the donkey’s had plans other than following me to the barn.  And food is always in their plans.   I called out to Rockin Roy who unlike me was getting ready for his work day.   I NEED TREATS!!ImageWell so much for that plan.  I guess they did not see orange.  At least today they did not.  They were having WAY to much fun being knotty.ImageImageOh….. maybe they are going to run right back into their stall for breakfast.  ImageNot a chance.  Francis wanted to show me how beautiful she looks in a more natural environment. Image
Francis looked at me as if to say goodbye and Rosie started to travel down into the canyon.  This is when I thought my worst fears were going to come true.  Rosie and Francis were starting the next chapter in their life titled  ” The Wild Burro’s of Rock Creek Canyon”

But no sooner than I could say BOO…..they made a swift decision to high tail it back up the hill and back to the ranch.  There were many things to investigate.  Like the pool pump, and the picnic table.  I this point I had to stop and think about how far they have come since they arrived at Sundog Ranch.   They WERE actually curious and investigating and NOT being scaredy cats.

ImageImageImage     OK I said,  you guys have had way too much fun today.  While I have you on the OTHER side of the fence how about I put into action some of the training we have done.  Time to put down the camera, put down some grass hay then grab a halter and lead.
As soon as the grass hay went down Rosie made no bones about it and trotted right into her stall.  OMG big smiles from me!!!  However,  Francis being the girl that she is decided she was not going anywhere quite so fast.  But she DID stand quietly and allow me to halter her  HALLELUJAH!ImageImage     Francis then took one look back at the canyon as if to say “so much for The Wild Burro’s of Rock Creek Canyon”.   At this point I had to AGAIN put my camera down and get down to do some serious training…..or so I thought.  Francis did eventually allow me to lead or DRIVE her into the stall.  I can honestly say I did not get kicked or run over either.  Let’s just say we need to work on leading some more and put off that video presentation we thought we’d do.


Needless to say my day got a little off track.  Rockin Roy was off to work and I was living on donkey time.

Adios Amigo’s