I once worked with a guy who learned to juggle, and for a while there, it kind of took over. You might say he got bit by the juggling bug, and he got pretty good at it. Unfortunately, he spent so much time doing it that he eventually began juggling time itself, which is never a good idea when working with elephants. Bull elephants are rather large, and often aggressive. Certainly, they're destructive, which is why the facility had large, 6-ton hydraulically-actuated doors to provide a measure of safety when moving bulls from place to place.
One day, we had a bull out in an exercise yard for the morning, while a few cows hung out in the exhibit facility. They needed some air and exercise as well, so I opened the door to let the bull into his stall. Ordinarily, he comes right in.
Not this time.
No, this time, he decided to go into his "dancing cat" routine.
If you've ever had a cat, you know how that goes: they yowl around the door until you open it. Then, they put on their top hat and spats, grab a cane, and go into a dance routine while singing
Oh, I thought I wanted out but now I don't
Maybe I will and maybe I won't.
Of course, a lot of people can't hear the song; I'm not sure if I'm blessed or cursed, but the dance itself should be enough to tick you off.
Bulls don't yowl, they pound. But they will occasionally do the same routine, which is sort of what happened that day. Then he disappeared, and pandemonium broke out in the exhibit facility. The reason for that became clear fairly quickly: the juggler had decided to speed things up.
Usually, one would wait until the bull was in his stall, and then move the lever to open the door leading from the exhibit to the yard. The juggler decided to speed things up by using some wire to hold the exhibit lever in the open position so that he could return to practicing his juggling skills. Had his plan worked, then as soon as the door to the bull's stall was closed, the exhibit door would have begun opening. It didn't work out that way. Nope, due to the bull doing his cat-dance routine, everybody ended up in the yard amid much roaring and bellowing.
We tried luring them back with treats, but nobody was buying it. Man, I hate things like that; half a dozen cows and a big bull. But there wasn't anything for it, so I had to wade out there with over 100,000 pounds of excited animals and start pulling cows back into the barn, one at a time. I figured that the bull might not notice for a while, and the cows would be so amazed by the audacity of the move that they'd come along quietly. It worked.
I had the juggler open and close doors as I slid on out next to a cow, waited for the bull to look someplace else, then grabbed her by the ear and walked into the barn with her. Once the first was locked in, it was a series of repeat performances. After a while, however, even the bull became suspicious. And there were still a couple of cows to retrieve. Bummer.
But you know, if you bounce a couple of apples off the head of the bull, he'll amble off to find them. One more cow retrieved. Unfortunately, he was now getting defensive, but there was still one more cow to retrieve. However, the bull was now standing guard at the exhibit facility door. So I moved three doors away, caught the attention of the remaining cow, and moved her into a stall while the bull was preoccupied with that darned exhibit door.
No harm to man nor beast. I love it when a plan comes together.