Animals can be great "teachers" if you are willing to open yourself to communication between species. That means that we may not always understand what the animal is trying to tell us and they might not have a clue as to what we are saying, such as "Ringo, blah, blah, blah ...!" We need to have heaps of patience, compassion and humility and lots of time for them.
So often, we think we need to "get them to do" something ... "teach them a lesson" ... "show them who's boss" ... it's all about our agenda, but do we ever stop to consider that maybe it is the animal who has something to teach us, something to show us? Maybe we're all bluster and bravado and in a hurry.
Ringo has been my teacher. He has shown me that I can be impatient, easily frustrated and scared. These were things I actually didn't know about myself and would have disputed. But you can't really argue with a donkey. They have a deep wisdom, I think, inherited from generations of survival and from stoic service to humans, a deep threshold to pain yet still, a compassionate nature. That's not to say they are necessarily easy or compliant ... Ringo continues to display outbursts of frustration and annoyance. This can be demonstrated by furious pawing in front of me with a mean hard look in his eye, by shoving me around with his nose or crowding or following me about with his ears pinned back.
But to truly "know" him, as I think I am getting to, is to know a sensitive, intelligent creature ... one who is smart, wily, playful and thoughtful. And also very sensitive. I am grateful to Ringo - he has been my biggest challenge of all the animals I have known and cared for. I even considered looking for another home for him, felt I couldn't handle him. I'm SO glad he is still here, that I didn't cave to my timidity!
Ringo and I will do great things together - he is my mirror. I hope I can reflect back to him the love and gratitude that I feel.