Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Tale of Two Donkeys -- Make That Three!

This is our baby donkey, Ila Mae. The one on the left!! She was born here on the farm last August. Her mommy, Ona Mae, is the only animal we ever went out and purchased on purpose! But there is a story behind that!
The third photo down is Eor. He was dumped by his "family" because "he made too much noise"!! So he came to live at Smiling Dog Farms. When Eor arrived, his only companion was Mr. Ed, a horse who was left here by a man who did not want him any more. (I don't think people had been kind to Mr. Ed because he has scars on his neck, and he is wary of humans.)
Eor and Mr. Ed became fast friends, spending their days wandering the pasture. When Mr. Ed would break into a gallop, Eor would trot behind him everywhere he went. They were inseperable!
Then one day two more horses arrived. Shelley and Navajo were premarin mares, rescued by Dr. Debbie Wilson in Arizona. She paid to have them brought all the way from Canada to Smiling Dog Farms, where they could live out their lives in safety and peace. If Debbie had not rescued them, they would have been sold for slaughter!
The addition of the two girls altered the social dynamic of the pasture. The girls immediately took to Mr. Ed, but Eor was not included. To a certain extent, it was Eor's own fault. Apparently donkey ettiquette is different than horse ettiquette. Eor would start charging from across the field and come up behind one of the girls and bellow the loudest HEE-HAW you can imagine! It would startle Shelley and Navajo, and they avoided him.
Soon we would look out into the pasture and there would be Mr. Ed, Shelley and Navajo together... and Eor would be on the other side of the field, gazing at them with sad eyes. One day we went into the pasture to visit with Eor, because we knew he was lonely and he missed his old buddy, Mr. Ed. Eor's ears were back against his head and -- I am not making this up -- he had tears rolling down his cheeks!
That was just more than we could bear. Eor is such a sweet, sensitive guy. We can hug him around the neck and even kiss him on the lips. He always comes to us when we call him. We could not let him feel so left out and sad.
So we went shopping for Ona Mae! A farmer one county over raises donkeys, and he had run an ad with some donkeys for sale. We took our trailer over and brought her home. Her picture is the second one down from the top. As it happened, she was pregnant when we got her.
Eor was smitten with Ona Mae immediately. Apparently Eor had to "grow on" Ona Mae, or she was playing hard to get... because she did not return his ardor right away! Eor has only one way to get a girl's attention in his play book, and that is running up from behind and bellowing HEE HAW !! It must have won her heart, though, because soon after Ila Mae was born, Ona Mae and Eor would be together with little Ila Mae between them. Eor has been gentle and protective of Ila Mae.
The top photo shows the relationship today between Ona Mae and Eor. Since donkeys can't hold hands, they nuzzle each other with their noses. Our little donkey family is fun to watch. All are friendly and readily come to the fence to visit. They love cinnamon bread and powdered sugar donuts, but they will take about any treat you offer them.
Donkeys have kind and sensitive souls. At least ours all do!

Jay Hellerich, executive director
smiling dog farms
a 501(c)3 corporation
wharton, texas

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