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My Roadside Donkey

by Therese on September 27, 2007

in Pets, Random Thoughts

My friend Suzi has a wonderful way with animals…and with words. Every now and then she sends me something she’s written about her pets or other animals she encounters. And each time, she manages to touch my heart with her words. She sent me this last night and with her permission, I’d like to share it with all of you…


Out in the country, on the way to my friend’s houses on the river, there’s a lone donkey in a field. I look for him every time I drive out that way. I don’t like it that he’s all by himself. I’ve stopped to say hello many times. The first few times I stopped to see if he would be at all interested in my dropping by to say hello. but I hadn’t thought to bring anything for him, like apples or carrots. Folks should never drop in on someone without a “little gift”. So I felt bad about it and vowed to remember to bring an appropriate gift next time.

I pull the car along the roadside and high-step my way through the bramble and weed ditch with the hidden, red-dirt fire ant hills to the fence line. I call out to him: Hello Donkey! He’s a ways out in the field. He’s already alert to me and my car, (not a typical event out there, a car pulling up and a person getting out). When he hears me call him, he jumps and runs all the way over to me. I maneuver my hand through or above the barbwire fence and pet his sweet face and scratch his long ears. I love how his forehead feels so hard under his short swirling hair. And his muzzle feels like soft, living rubber! I love his face and that soft mouth. What a creative collection of parts, this creature! On one of my recent trips to the river, I finally remembered to take some kind of veeggie for him, but all I had was a few celery stakes. When I got to the fence and called him, he ran over to the me like before and when I offered the treats, he gently took each stalk of celery from my fingers. I felt his rubbery mouth and realized he was also feeling my fingers – and I knew he was being careful, just as I wanted to be careful – and respectful. I didn’t worry at all that he would bite down and mistake my finger for a celery. I promised myself I would bring him something much better next time. Hopefully apples!

Yesterday, Mark and I were traveling out to the country to photograph some property for his company. We would be passing by my roadside donkey. I remembered to pack apples. Mark took my camera and photographed me with my donkey friend.

I showed Mark how, when I pat his back, dust flies up and fills the air around him. That, and his being alone all day, every day, makes me wish he was mine. I would find another donkey who needed a good home and he would have a friend of his own kind to spend the day with. I would wash and brush him and his new friend, often, as often as a good human of donkeys should wash and brush a donkey.

But since I don’t live where I can have donkeys, I will just have to make a few more visits to my roadside buddy, and at least I can remember to pack up some good treats. I wonder if he likes carrots?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Johann September 27, 2007 at 9:53 pm

I love how humans connect with other species. Sometimes I hear Mum talking to the praying mantis in the backyard, just like it was one of us? She says it makes her feel connected. Love the story!


Maria September 29, 2007 at 8:33 am

AWwww….. he’s so sweet! I have to go with you next time. I will bring apples too. What else do Donkey’s eat???

As always, nicely written 🙂


Donna October 13, 2007 at 9:55 am

I am, in a matter of moments, going to feed my donkey, Daisy, some celery and carrots. I have found through a process of elimination, she loves carrots much more than she does apples (which surprised me). One comment I would like to make about that dust that flies up each time you pat your roadside donkey…..it is there because he rolls in the dust to keep the flies from biting him. So, in truth, that is a good thing. My Daisy has stomped and scratched around and made herself a nice grass-bare area so that she can lay and “wallow” in the dirt. To me, she seems to be having fun as well as adding protection from the flies.

God Bless


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