What comes to people’s minds when they hear the word mule: stubborn, aggressive or even dangerous? Mules can be perceived as all of these things but it is in fact our perception and how we work with and respect these animals for what they are. When treated with kindness, patience and understanding they learn to trust and obey. If they are treated with force they are most likely not going to obey as they can sense danger. This is where people’s perception of mules as being aggressive comes into play. But it is a defence mechanism for them, to protect themselves.
Robin is a beautiful affectionate mule on the farm here at Hannigans. Robin is one of my favourites. When Robin arrived at the Sanctuary she was very unsure of her surroundings and alert at all times on her arrival. It took her some time to gain the trust of the staff.
She overcame that fear by having been shown the love and care that she needed, by spending time with her and showing compassion. After this perseverance her personality shone right through.
Robin is the first one right up to you in the mornings, waiting at the gate for a kiss and a cuddle. Always inquisitive and wants to be involved in everything that’s going on. She has her head in every corner and has no problem letting us know when she is hungry. She has even been good to herself and opened the gate to let herself into the shavings barn for some pampering and a good roll.
After her long stressful days of eating grass and sun bathing she will come to lay her head on your shoulder while she goes into dream land. The feeling of knowing that you have gained another animals trust is what makes it all worthwhile. So instead of presuming that these animals are incapable of showing affection and also unworthy of it, maybe we need to ask ourselves are we willing to put in the time that they truly deserve.