Last Sunday, I paid another visit to the outdoor hair salon at the remote Texas County outpost where my wife Wendy and I reside.

After the passing of last weekend’s monsoons, the weather didn’t clear up, but it did become pleasant enough that we spent a lot of time hanging out outside. Late in the afternoon, Wendy decided to take the scissors to the thick, coarse pelt that covers the top of my noggin, and we set up near the small fire pit by the corral.

About half way through the exercise, our donkey Abe did something pretty funny – again.

Of course, as I’ve previously mentioned, Abe often acts more canine than equine, and is allowed to roam on the “other side” of the fence when the conditions are right. While he moves about, checking out every inch of the yard on every side of the house, he doesn’t bother the dogs and cats, doesn’t (always) eat the flowers, and never tries to leave. And since he weighs about 450 pounds, as opposed to the 900 our horses weigh, his hoofs don’t leave annoying holes all over the lawn.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

He’s basically this big yard ornament that usually has its front end tilted downward in the direction of the green, green grasses of home. But during his jaunts outside the lines, so to speak, Abe is sometimes prone to letting his dog side take over in a big way, and he’ll walk right up and stick his face (literally) into whatever situation a group of humans might be involved in.

Anyway, I was sitting on the outdoor chair, haircut smock thingy draped over me, and wife snipping away. Suddenly, there was a noticeable presence.

Then, there was a donkey nose in my left ear. At first it was like, “OK, now that’s different.” But after a few seconds, I discovered something interesting.

It has often been said that you can hear the ocean when you hold a large seashell up to your ear. I now know that if you hold a donkey snout to your ear, you can hear the wind in the Sahara Desert.

It’s kind of a wispy, whooshing sound, accompanied by significant warmth. It truly spurs a kind of arid feel.

After he removed his big beak from my ear, Abe calmly moved his head to my other side and gently rested it on my right shoulder. I think I recall my wife going, “aawww, cute!” and me saying “good boy, Abe,” or something like that.

After his head-to-head display of cuteness, Abe never stepped very far away from the haircut zone, and we began to realize he wanted something. We deduced that he knew exactly what was going on, and wanted in on it.

Basically, he wanted a haircut – or in his case, a major brushing.

Indeed, it had been quite a while since we had taken a brush to his brown girth, and since the time of year was early June, he was probably more than ready to loose some of his fluff.

And lose it he did. As my wife brushed away on him, the fur piled up below him to the extent it made us both laugh out loud.

“Wow, Abe, that’s impressive,” I said.

By the time Wendy was done, I had raked enough donkey locks off the lawn to literally fill a yellow Dollar General bag. Not loosely tossed in, but packed.

It was easy to see that Abe was pleased with the moment.

Now when he rolls around in his favorite dirt bath that he has so deftly created in the corral (it’s an almost perfectly round spot that looks almost machine-carved out of the grass and weeds), he won’t take quite so much earth with him.

A slight coating of soil is better in the warm weather, you know. You only want a heavier layer in the winter.

Donkeys know these things.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email:

While having his hair cut outdoors, Herald writer Doug Davison, left, is joined by Abe, who has high hopes of getting some attention paid to his own curly hairdo.

While having his hair cut outdoors, Herald writer Doug Davison, left, is joined by Abe, who has high hopes of getting some attention paid to his own curly hairdo.