When we parked the car last Sunday at church, we saw someone cleaning out an animal trailer and remembered that this was the day for the animals to visit. We hurried to the courtyard where a live petting zoo and a pen for larger animals had been set up. All of them had fresh hay underfoot and some were grazing. A woman in jeans and a tee-shirt sat near the pen where some of the animals were. I took a chance and asked if she was in charge of them. She said she was, and I told her how healthy and well-cared for they looked. She was happy to talk about the mobile domestic animal zoo she ran with her husband and to point out her daughter and tell me she had just graduated from college and would be taking over the business.
Then, with shiny gray fur, and unique gray and white markings, a small donkey caught my attention. Bill, reading the situation accurately, asked if she was a miniature. Yes, she was. She was new so she was still nervous around a crowd. I asked if she was a rescue donkey. Many folks buy or re given domestic and even wild animals and discover they aren’t as easy to care for as it seems they would be. Those end up in rescue organizations of one kind or another. No, she wasn’t a rescue animal. The business couldn’t take that on because of the long wait for rescue animals to be quarantined to make sure they had no communicable diseases.
My family had two regular-size burros as pack animals for Dad’s hunting guide expeditions in Colorado. I learned then that females were called Jennies and males were called Jacks. In this case the miniature was named Jenny, for the donkey in the movie, “Shrek.” The male who had been left at home was Malachi, from the Bible.
There were several full-sized sheep eating the hay that covered the grass. I asked if their wool was used, but she answered, “No this is all they’re good for. They roam around and they eat, but people seem to enjoy looking at them.” Definitely, I thought.
Did you know there was such a thing as a miniature Brahman bull? I didn’t. He was beautiful too–gray and white like the donkey. The miniature wasn’t as fearsome as big ones are. He had the same coloring as the donkey and was the prettiest bull I’ve ever seen.
The petting zoo held two very small and cuddly looking rabbits, a white one and a black and white one. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me. Next year, I will.
Pastor Bill apparently gets a lot of joy from the animals. He kept talking about Hormel, and we met him, too. He was a pig that stood only about three hands off the ground. He was pinkish beige. I reached down to him from outside the enclosure and his nose went back and forth seeking to discover whether it had any food in it or not. When he discovered it did not, he walked away.
The geese were stately, as geese often are. They were not as scary as some I’ve seen. Instead of them chasing people, a chubby boy in dress clothes chased them. When he had to give up, he picked up a small chicken and started thrusting it in the face of a baby goat. The owners’ daughter sorted that out by telling the child that if he was going to hold the chicken, he’d have to sit down. Soon bored, he took off to look for some other kind of adventure.
The Rhode-Island Red rooster stood looking out at his domain which was everything and everybody. Chickens have always been favorites in our family. My grandparents kept them, my parents kept them and our son and his family kept them. We even got to baby-sit them at our house a few times before the flock got too large to move.
I didn’t have my camera, but I enjoyed everything so much I didn’t miss it until later. Next year for sure I will want pictures and will remember to take it with me.
All Things Bright and Beautiful