And then Sinai came through the back door to the patio where we all stood.
His eyes widened and his jaw dropped. He looked from me to Poogy (now Gandolf) and back to me and then to Gandolf again, stunned.
“Ann,” he whispered, “who is that? And what is it doing here?” I could tell that he was having trouble taking it all in. It took about an hour, in fact, before he did.
But by that time, Gandolf had won his heart. He threw up his hands. “Ann,” he said with a deliberate attempt at calmness, “we have a donkey in our backyard.”
I was managing things better by then, feeding Gandolf bits of stale bread I had been saving to make breadcrumbs. “Yes,” I said with aplomb, “we do.”
The discussion lasted into the night. I went to bed at about 1:00 pm, with Sinai still at the computer, trying to put some sense back in his world. Gandolf stood outside, his face at the glass of our French doors, gazing longingly into the house. Sussie lay facing him, grimly determined that her turf would remain hers.
The cats ignored them both.
At 2:30 am, a neighbor’s cat found its way in through one of the windows…. A hurricane ensued that involved the dog fiercely chasing the cat, the cat literally climbing the wall till it hit the ceiling, according to my amazed husband, and then jumping out the window.
The dog streaked out the back door when Sinai opened it. Sussi barked viciously at Gandolf, although she stayed out of reach anyway (she really is a coward) and Poogy, awakened like that, was frightened and began to bray – LOUDLY – into the night. Sinai found himself shushing the donkey and trying to coax the dog into the house. She was having none of it, however, and ran to the middle of the street, barking.
At that point, it occurred to my husband that there was no reason he should be suffering this alone. And he went and woke me up. Zalmy, of course, had already woken up when the donkey started yelling.
So there we were. Sinai hid behind the door so the dog would not see him (she wouldn’t come into the house if she did, you see) and I went out into the night, with Zalmy, in my nightgown and into the street to sweet-talk Sussie into coming back inside. After lying on the street regarding me suspiciously for 15 minutes, she finally acquiesced. The three of us returned home, to sleep the precious few hours remaining to the night.
We won’t discuss the veterinarian’s reaction when I showed up in his office in the morning to ask him how to take care of a donkey. He knows us. And soon he will know Gandolf. His “big animal” expert will be here tomorrow. And in the meantime ………. Well, the man at the nursery said that donkey poop is worth a lot and people come to his place to BUY it. It will make my garden grow, he said. Of course, if Gandolf EATS my garden, at least he will be replenishing the nutrients to make it grow back again.
And my kids will have the pony rides they always wanted, as many as they want, for free – sort of. Smell and sound notwithstanding…….