Tonight I offered to put the barn animals to bed while Carol was at work, so the donkeys wouldn't keep the whole neighbourhood awake and so Carol wouldn't come home to some very indignent critters. It sounded like no big deal - I know which stalls each critter belongs in, I had written instructions about their feed, and I knew the animals would be at the barn door as soon as it was open.
What I didn't know is that they don't necessarily go into their own stalls willingly and they don't come in nicely one at a time or even two-by-two (I'm no Noah, I guess). They stampede, and they go into whichever stall they darn well please.
It's darn hard to move a stubborn hungry donkey who is scarfing down Gideon's food back to her own stall, or a taller-than-Goliath horse named Spritely out of the sheeps' stall and into her own. It's even harder when the other donkey, the other horse, and all the sheep are milling around blocking the way.
I finally got everyone where they belonged, and turned to find Carl the llama standing at the door watching me cautiously, ears up and out, eyes darting anxiously back and forth between his sheep, his food, and me. I squeezed over to one side to slip out of the barn and he floated over to his cubicle, grabbed a mouthful of feed, and flew back to stand just inside the barn door.
I decided to double check the latch on the food storage area, and by the time I turned back from doing that, Carl was out the door, around the corner, and glaring at me through the window as he kept watch over his precious sheep.
Unlike my dog, Carl does not come, sit, wait, heel, or have any other obedience skills. Knowing that my alpaca will come for a rattling food dish, I picked up Carl's dish and rattled the food a little which brought him back to the barn door. By this time the critters had nearly finished their food and I looked up to see two donkeys, two horses, and four sheep watching me with great amusement. I am almost positive I heard the donkeys chuckling under their breath.
Carl and I did the llama-trot or maybe it was a four-step, back and forth on the barn floor - him retreating every time I moved forward, him edging forward if I moved back. He's a wonderful dance partner, I'll say that for him.
Thankfully, Carl's stomach won over his brain, and he finally decided to let me pass by and slip out the door as he headed for his dish.
I didn't stay to check he was eating. I got that barn door locked before any more of the inmates could try to outwit me.
The only remaining challenge was to slip back past the dog rooms without setting off the woodelling beagle. I wasn't successful. He's probably woodelling still.