Monday, February 27, 2012

Country Life

A while back, I heard an unusual story from my wife when I got home after work.  You should know first that we live a bit out in the country.  The town we live in had less than 1000 people in it when we moved in 10 years ago.  It, and the towns on either side of ours, are all small enough that they have a single zip code and post office between them.

Anyway, my wife was out front mowing the yard, when a donkey came trotting down the road in front of our house. A few of the older houses in town have horses, chickens, and donkeys that were grandfathered in when the rules changed, and there are several ranches around the town. We know there is a donkey somewhere near us, because we can sometimes hear it braying at night.

Anyway, my wife wasn't very concerned at first, as the donkey seemed to be minding his own business on the other side of the road, and in the neighbor's yards, looking in windows and sniffing around the yards. Then it saw my wife and, for some reason, either took an instant dislike to her or instantly fell in love with her, because it started running toward her, braying and kicking the whole way.

My wife was terrified, and tried to keep the running lawnmower between her and the donkey, which seemed to hold it at bay, until she could manuver herself to get inside the house.  It seemed to lose interest after she was inside, and wandered away, so she didn't think she needed to call anyone.  Then she saw it coming back, and decided it might be a good idea to call the police.  Without thinking, she dialed 911, and then panicked because she didn't think it was a real emergency, and hung up.  Bad idea.

She couldn't reach the police for our town, but she finally reached the police for the neighboring town.  They apologized, and said it was out of their jurisdiction, and that the police for our small town were only on duty on certain days, yesterday not being one of those days (again - really small town).  She thanked them and said she would try to find someone else, but as soon as she hung up, the 911 operator was calling her back to find out what was going on.  My wife apologized profusely, and told the operator everything that had happened.  There was a pause on the other end, then the operator said "Did you say donkey?".  "Yes" my wife said, "As in hee-haw. Believe me, this is not a call I would ever have dreamed I would have to make".  The operator understood, and said she would need to send a sheriff's deputy out anyway, since there is always the possibility of someone making up a story to cover a domestic disturbance (although I don't think anyone would have ever made up a story like that).

The deputy arrived a short time later, smiled and said "So, I hear you're having a donkey problem?".  My wife told him the story, and he was very nice about it.  He said that he knew someone near us that kept a donkey, and that he would drive around to try and find it, as it had moved on by that time.  He even came in to say hello to our daughter, who loves anything about policemen and police cars.  He also told my wife that donkeys could be very territorial, and that might be the reason for the attack.  Apparently some horse and sheep ranchers even keep donkeys with their animals to protect them.

God, I love living in the country.  :)

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