Welcome to my blog - a diary about living with donkeys, notes about care, my training sessions and the absolute pleasure of donkey companionship.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014


This summer, I decided to host three "open barn" days for kids - the idea is to introduce kids to my four donkeys, give them a bit of donkey info, you know, facts and lore and even talk a bit about positive reinforcement training and the terrific option of training without scolding or punishing.

I'm a passionate believer in encouraging relationships between people and animals - it's really hard to explain the deep, heart-felt connections that are possible when you truly get to know and love someone from another species.

So I picked three dates and advertised a bit in our small community.  These events are also to support the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, headquartered in Quelph, Ontario, so I have brochures and newsletters available as well as a donation jar.  100% of anything donated will be sent to them in honour of their dedicated and compassionate work for donkeys.

The first date was yesterday.  Three to six year old's were invited (with an adult in tow) and it was really fun!  We had seven kids and eight adults - it felt like a BIG crowd!  And it was HOT - about 32 Celsius.

The donkeys were haltered and the kids were given a few "rules" - "don't walk directly behind them," "don't yell and scream or otherwise scare them,"   etc. and then they came through the gate, got introduced and could pet and groom to their hearts content!

I did a few short demos on what they can do (clicker trained of course!) and the donkeys were brilliant!

I always worry a bit about Siog as she can be a tad pushy and hasn't decided how she feels about kids.  At one point, I tied her and Dorrie to the fence as I thought four loose donkeys were too many.  The kids were mostly wearing sandals or flip flops (yikes!) and I was worried someone would inadvertently get stepped on and pushed down.

But Siog told me after awhile that she needed to be untied and SOON please, so I did and as it turned out, all she wanted was to show the kids what she could do:  stand on a pedestal, drop her nose to the ground, smile, play fetch - the list was long and she was ... performing!  Rose, Heather and Dorrie just sucked up all the attention.  Dorrie can get quite jealous, but she sniffed the kids all over and was her kind self.

I wish I had taken more photos - meant to, but was so busy as kids arrived at different times.
Here are a few ...

and we even played "Pin-the-tail-on the Donkey!"  while Dorrie watched through the gate!

The next date is August 2nd and I will definitely try to get more photos.

1 comment:

  1. How fun!!

    Love the pictures.

    What a great experience for the kids, and looks like your donkeys were having fun too. :)