Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Happy World Donkey Day...........

Yep, this is the day.

Donkeys were domesticated long before the horse. Do you  know why? I have read many explanations but I would summarize what I have read by saying, it is because they are more hard wired to interaction with humans. I think it's because they have a sense of humor and like to hang out close to the human beasts who are more than a little interesting.

In the wild, donkeys keep on the move but have a home territory like many other animals. They fall victim to canine and feline predators and do not have a fast get away. Not to say that they cannot haul some *ss when necessary but......they are not very fast in the scheme of the animal kingdom. Domesticated donkey do not loose that natural instinct with canines and many do not tolerate dogs well. But there are always exceptions to the rule.
nope not quite this old. But don't you just love how sweet this is?
The first time I met a donkey, I was 4 years old and visiting my grandfathers 40,000 acre cow/sheep ranch in northern NM. They called the donkey Feo, which in Spanish means ugly, but he wasn't. He was a "typical" brownish grey donkey with the cross on his back, wonderful long ears and the kindest deep brown eyes. His bray was like a squeeky hinge and escalated to a bull horn. He was wonderful.

He had wandered into the recinto (compound) of the rancho and just hung around with a old billy goat, 2 orphan lambs and the yard and barn cats. My grandfather, as gruff as he was to humans, was a softy for animals. He made a special blanket saddle for the grandchildren to use to ride Feo.

My grandfathers lap cat was one of the most spoiled animals I had ever known. All white, long luxurious hair and Aldofo would sit and wait for Papi all day in the rocking chair they shared at night. When he went out to inspect the porch, the other cats gave him a wide berth. He was something to behold. There were lots of white kittens at the ranch because he was "el jefe gato", boss cat.

Anyway back to Feo. He probably was turned out by his owners when they couldn't feed him anymore. Feo, not being a stupid animal, because donkeys are very bright, made his way to the compound where apples, hay, grass and water were plentiful. The younger cousins, who lived on the ranch found him to be a fun playmate and Feo was very affectionate and patient. So when I, the city cousin, visited I was introduced to this lovely little burrito and instantly fell in love. We became fast friends.

I would brush him, rub his ears and sing to him. He would quiver and nuzzle. It was a mutual admiration society. Most all of my time at the rancho for the next 3 summers was spent with the donkey. I learned to be still and let him show me what he wanted. He learned to be patient with a city kid who didn't know the ways of the natural world. By the time I was 7 I was riding him alone, everywhere.

When my cousin got it into his head that he was going to be a rodeo cowboy, I saw first hand how awful it was when a donkey is roped and injured. Stupid boy eventually maimed the donkey and my grandfather could not let him suffer and so put him down. I never did "cotton to my cousin" for that reason alone. So if you ever wonder why I am so against donkey roping it is because I witnessed cruelty and human stupidity as a child. I will never forget Feo and how beautiful, wonderful, soft and gentle he was when given a chance. And how docile he was to the cruelty he had to endure.

And most especially when I hear other donkeys bray, I hear Feo singing his donkey song and I always will.
Ellsworth and GK just enjoying each other
Feo introduced me to a world of the donkey that I shall forever be grateful for being a part of my upbringing and fond childhood memories. That is why, when given a chance, I introduced my grands to the wonderful world of donkeys. They change your thinking. They give you peace. They teach you joy in the moment.

If you have never been around a donkey, take the opportunity. During these crushing lack of resources time,  many folks are having to let their animals go because they can't afford to feed them. There are so many worthwhile donkey rescues all over the world that could use your help to rescue, foster and rehome donkeys.

Happy World Donkey Day.

***my chosen rescue is Lavender Dream Farms and Donkey Rescue. They just added two more beauties to their donkey group.

Notice too please that I can reply to you now right here on the blog. And I shall.

17 comments:

  1. Feo sounds like a lovely fellow. It's so lovely that you honour his memory by sharing all the donkey love he taught you.

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    1. Debra: I remind myself that I am getting very much more like my Daddy Jack (my Mom's dad)with each passing year. I love to spin a yarn and tell a tale. Glad you liked the story of Feo. He was a love.

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  2. I love Feo...already he has a place in my heart. The first donkey I knew was the vegetable cart man's donkey that went down my grandmother's alley! I loved him too. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

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    1. Mary, thanks for loving Feo. It's hard not to love an animal with the deep thought eyes that donkeys have. Happy today, life and celebrate it.

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  3. It's a shame my grandfather didn't have a donkey or two instead of all of those sheep. Sheep are alright I guess but who wants to ride one? I wish I could have known Feo, I'm sure I'd have loved him. S&S

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    1. I always loved how silly sheep are. Not the brightest animals in the barnyard but oh so sweet. I wish you could have known him as well. I wish he could have lived out his years unmolested as well. S&S

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  4. Oh, dear. That story made me just weep. Dear, sweet Feo. We see this first hand so often. Broken bodies, broken spirits. Roping is a 'sport' and people pay to see donkeys and other animals cruelly treated for amusement. We have quite a few donkeys who have been here many years who are still recovering in body, mind and spirit from the trauma they endured. Thank you, Oma Linda, for making today special with your memories of Feo to honor World Donkey Day. www.lavenderdreamsfarm.com - www.facebook.com.donkeyrescuer

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    1. Made me weep while I was writing it too. Many memories flooding back and the ugliness of the abuse of Feo as well. Poor little burrito. But without the memory, I would not be as staunch a supporter of donkeys and the lovely people like you who give them refuge from the storm of human stupidity. I love what you do and who you are. Carry on with your angelic work my friend Marci.

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  5. Aww, Feo sounds like a lovely chap, so glad he was able to introduce you to the world of the donk (curses to your cousin though!)

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    1. Oh curses indeed. He grew up to be a terrible human being. Duh...like that was a surprise.

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  6. I don't know about others, but you are sure giving me an appreciation for donkeys ... thank you!

    I am glad Feo was in your life and I am sure he was happy you were in his. It is sad that he became so injured he had to be put down, that must have hurt deeply.

    Big hugs ... 8)

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  7. Feo sounded like such a beautiful donkey! I am so sorry he had to be put down! I am happy you had such amazing memories with him ;o)
    Your grandpa's lap cat sounded so cute! Big hugs Oma Linda ;o)

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    1. I'm always touched by your comments Stacy. Thanks for being a part of this blogging experience.

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  8. I am so sad to hear the story of Feo. Not how you delighted each other but how that thoughtless cousin caused his death. How hard that had to be on you.
    I have never really met a donkey but your glowing prose makes me want to. Loved that picture with GK.

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    1. I hope that there is a donkey meeting for you. They are such clever, curious animals. Thanks Patti for you warm words.

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  9. I love your story of growing up and getting to know and love Feo. And I love the way you have given that same gift of love to the Grands (What a sweet photo with GK hugging Ellsworth!)
    I have met a real live donkey once in my life. I was in Ireland- on the island of Inishmoor (The Aran Islands off the west coast- Galway). I would pass him everyday as I went through the maze of the many stone walls to get down to the Sea. You have helped me remember him and you definitely have given us all an understanding and love for Donkeys.

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  10. Feo, means gentle, intelligent and loyal friend from now on. Your 'cuz' on the other hand, well sounds like he embodied the real essence of the name, an ugly being in all ways :(

    I have not met a donkey, although I'm sure if one had turned up at any stage through our childhood it could have joined the rest of the pets that seem to gather under our roof :)

    Happy Belated Donkey Day sweet Oma!!!
    I also wanted to let you know a donkey was one of Australia's best known & loved war heroes -
    http://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/forging/australians/simpson.asp
    http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/simpson.asp

    Take care & BIG Hugs, Donkey Day & all days xoxox

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