Friday, February 22, 2008
There Were Rules II
As in a previous post, note the use of the past-tense. There were rules.
Before we made and broke the rule about “no more than two dogs,” and “no dogs sleeping in the bed,” we had a rule about the acquisition of “exotic” animals, or at least the acquisition of animals that had not been previously owned by members of our immediate family. The rule was that, before we could acquire said animals, we had to first get a book about the breed/species AND read it. Consistent with the rule’s intended purpose and contrary to popular belief, because of the rule, there are species of animals for which we own the book but not the creatures.
The rule was broken with the acquisition of Bill, the horse. To date, we have not been able to even locate a book that would begin to provide the range of information we need about owning and caring for a miniature horse.
Aside from the obvious reference value in having a book about the animal type on hand under the book rule, the reading process gives us opportunities to engage in a robust dialogue about arrangements, idiosyncracies and preferences in advance of the animal’s arrival here at MisFit Farm. Agreements are made about important things like: what types of behavior we wish to discourage; what methods will be used to discourage and/or reinforce behaviors; and, how we will respond and react to unusual situations. Through this process, we are often spurred on to seek out additional information and resources, giving us a good foundation for parsing out the good from the bad information obtained from other sources, such as the Internet.
That the book rule had been broken was made abundantly clear to me one balmy evening last week.
Bill the horse is a fun little fellow. We play with his jolly ball. We go for walks. We chase in the pasture. We were engaging in a combination of these types of play activities after I got home from work. As it was beginning to get dark, I turned my attentions to the chores at hand and headed out of the pasture and up to the barn. Crossing the pasture, unsuspectingly enjoying the fresh evening air, I distinctly felt a touch on my shoulder blades. I turned around just in time to observe Bill reared up in what looked to be the process of removing his hooves that had, moments earlier, ostensibly been placed lightly, yet insistently on my back.
The best way I could explain what had happened to K in retelling the story is that it looked like Bill wanted me to give him a piggyback ride. Thankfully, he wasn’t too insistent on it, and was not dejected when rebuffed. If I didn't know better, I would swear he was actually laughing at my indignation.
Having entertained various explanations for his behavior, the one thing I feel I can conclusively and unequivocally determine is that there is not a book in the world that will provide me with a satisfactory answer for just what in the world happened in the pasture that evening. Nor do I probably really want to know. I am not that type of girl.
Posted by Misfit Farms at 9:52 PM