I met Rufus on January 14th when I drove to see him after responding to a Kijiji add. I would like to say it was love at first site but it was more of a sense of obligation than anything else. This obligation wasn't a woeful one, Rufus would melt anyone's heart, but after seeing his condition I knew he was coming home with me.
After trying for over two weeks to meet up with him the day had finally arrived. My journey to get there was somewhat eventful which added to my excitement. It was a bitter cold day and the truck wipers decided they needed the day off and refused to work. I also had to tie down the hood of the truck with a bungee cord as the latch was somewhat unreliable. With the truck rigged up, and some directions I had printed from Google, I started out on my journey to the east end of Ottawa.
Things were going smoothly. I had packed some snacks, had the music on, and the heat blasting. Things were going well, that is, until I hit a bump in the road - literally. With each bump a strange beep would come from the truck. Something like a warning sound. But what? There were no lights going off. Puzzled and a little worried, I pulled off at the next exit to investigate. It turned out to be nothing more that a door not completely closed, phew!
I continued my drive with no more unexpected adventures. Just like Google said, I arrived an hour later at my destination. As I turned into the driveway I was greeted by a tall blond woman dressed head to foot in warm clothing. The bitter wind made our greeting short and I was led to the field in which I was to meet my new friend.
He was kept in a small field with many other horses. The woman explained that she had been trying to find a new home for Rufus, who had only been with her for six months, as he was being picked on by her horses who would not allow him to eat from the round bale or drink from the trough. It was evident from his condition that this was the case. He was standing by himself away from the other horses. His tongue was sticking out frozen from eating the snow as his source of water. His feet were unkempt and he was underweight. He walked strangely because his feet were packed high with snow. Although I had driven the trailer this far I was prepared not to take a donkey home if it didn't feel right. Well, it felt right. This poor creature needed help.
Money was exchanged and the donkey was mine. I took my rather over-sized halter and put it onto Rufus' head. It hung pathetically low, like an orphan with clothes too big for him. I wasn't confident that he would lead to the trailer because he could slip out of the halter if he had wanted to. Armed with a pocket full of treats I fed him a bread crumb trail to the trailer. This was, of course, to be his first time on a trailer. I again wasn't very confident he would cooperate. Shaking a bucket full of alfalfa cubes was enough incentive to lure Rufus onto the trailer and he jumped up without hesitation. He looked happy to have some food to himself. He stood there shaking half from the cold and half from his experience. I took the halter off letting him roam freely in the trailer that was bedded with fresh shavings and set up like a box stall.
We shut the doors to the trailer and I hopped into the truck to begin my journey home hauling my precious cargo. It was getting dark so I turned my lights on and as I drove down the road taking Rufus away from his home I started to cry. I am not sure what emotion was attached to the tears, but I believe it was a mixture of relief and joy for the donkey who was obviously in need of a loving home and a loving home was what he certainly deserved and was going to get. Welcome home Rufus!