If you know Jack, you know he is afraid of everything; all buckets except green ones, plastic bags, hoodies, umbrellas, his harness, pavement, and the list goes on and on. His biggest fear is fly spray which is a big problem during fly season. We decided to try fly masks instead this year. Diana accepted hers right away. Here she is strutting her stuff. No, she’s not pregnant!
Jack would have nothing to do with his, running when he saw it in my hand. I have been working with him twice a day to de-sensitize him to it in hopes of one day getting it on him. I have brushed his coat near the picnic table with Diana’s mask lying on the table. Over time I started picking it up and holding it while brushing him. He was very aware of it at all times, lest it should strike out at him. I started rubbing him with the mask and letting him bite on it. Some days he let me touch him with his own mask. Here is Jack during last night’s desensitizing routine.
Tonight we were grooming the donkeys and Michael took Diana’s mask off of her and put it over Jack’s ears and over his face. He didn’t flinch, but my eyes welled up with tears. His progress is slow, but when he gets over a fear it is so worth all the time and effort it took to get there. I would hate to count the hours I have spent brushing his butt recently. We took Diana’s mask off Jack and I went to the barn and got his mask. We were sure he would bolt and run at the sight of it. Michael continued to brush him and I went to his other side and calmly placed the mask over his ears. Michael reached around and attached the velcro. Jack was wearing a fly mask! Jack was wearing a fly mask! Jack was wearing a fly mask! Hopefully I will get the mask on him again in the morning and can post a picture of Jack wearing a fly mask!
If you don’t get the importance of this, you’ve never had a skittish mammoth donkey. This is huge. Huge.
Thanks to Shadowridge Donkeys for making fly masks to fit donkeys!