Recently, with support from friends, Carmen and Victor, I've essentially made the transition from other duties to being more-or-less full time with the camels and horses. Though still connected to and overall responsible for the rest of things at Fear-No-More Zoo, I'm now much more concentrated in the camel-horse areas.
This move is essential for the developments we are effecting here. We wish to develop a form of interaction with the camels and horses that is rooted in an understanding of their culture and who they are as individuals... rather than imposing our otherwise uninformed "human" points of view on them. Spending a lot of time among them is necessary for this to truly occur.
Already, with the increased time I'm spending among them, I'm noticing a change, or deepening, in their acceptance of me. Some have also begun testing me in various ways. We already know each other pretty well but are now getting to know each other better. Moving back and forth between camels and horses is interesting too as they are very similar but different.
A couple of nights ago, just on dusk, I was standing around with nine of the camels as they ate. Young Barack approached, wanting me to pet her. So I rubbed her all over, firmly and softly. She reached her head back to nuzzle me briefly a few times until I found a spot on her tummy that I began circling gently with my open hand... her lips quivered, her neck stretched, her back gently relaxed and she shuffled her hind legs out behind her until she was almost balancing on toe-tips, and she couldn't get enough of this tummy tickling.
After I finished and moved away she was glued to me, following me around everywhere. As I approached her little sister, "No-Two", Barack immediately got between us and sent her sibling away. I like this kind of confidence. She's still young and there is plenty of time to gently shape her as she grows so that this same confidence doesn't become dangerous for me later on.
This month, and in October, we're running our first Sacred Camel and Horse retreats. These are practice runs to get us up to speed for running monthly retreats next year, starting in April.
Now that I'm out with camel and horse people much more I'll be adding new posts more frequently so please check back from time to time to keep up with developments.