I visited Opal today at Codman Farm. She's back with the sheep.
The lambs are sequestered behind a gate, but next to their mothers, although one must have slipped through the fence to find his mother and nurse. Poor lamb was too big to stand beneath her, so knelt and butted its head against her teats. She allowed it for a minute, then walked away.
Opal lay back her ears and rushed the lamb who ran for shelter among the other sheep.
I brought Timothy pellets for my favorite donkey. I give her four or five little pellets at a time and she pulled them off of my hand with her soft lips, enjoying each little bit.
Like a rabbit, Opal eats up the goodies, but doesn't automatically warm up to me. Petals will shy away when I try and pet him and won't come when called until he's ready. It takes patience, and time to engage with them. I can sit for fifteen minutes in a chair or on the floor and when Petals is ready, he comes for a snuggle, and then he totally collapses like a pancake and laps up the love.
It took Opal twenty minutes of hoovering up the little treats before she let me stroke her ears, scratch her neck and forelock. After a half hour, she presented her butt for scratching like she was doing ME a favor!!! Of course I scratched it for a full five minutes.
I'm ordering a furminator to take with me next time I go to the farm. Last year, it was months before she shed her winter coat. In June I began taking a brush with me to loosen the old hair. I think she might like the furminator.
Petals will begin to molt in the Spring too. No furminator for the rabbits. They prefer gentle plucking of their loosening coats: too rough and we're rejected.
Dogs are so much more transparent. This makes them lovable in a very different way. But rabbits and donkeys are more discerning and it ends up being a lesson in patience to win them over. It's nice to be greeted by a deliriously happy canine at the end of a long, hard day. But there is a real satisfaction when a donkey or a rabbit present themselves in trust for our attentions.