For the love of donkeys

Walking in from the pasture for dinner = A Happy Time 

A story that began with abuse and neglect and ended with the happiest of circumstances = A Happy Ending 

Click here to read Nicholas’s story.   ♥


The Celtic goddess Epona was protectress of horses, asses, and mules, as well as their human caretakers. 

Epona’s feast day on the Roman calendar was December 18. The Romans embraced her as protectress of the Roman cavalry,  invoked her on behalf of the Emperor, and worshipped her as Epona Augusta or Epona Regina. She even had a shrine in the barracks of the Imperial Bodyguard.

The worship of Epona in stables is described in The Golden Ass by Marcus Apuleius.

Apuleius writes of shrines that were built for Epona, not just in temples but also in stables, presumably to protect the horses and asses in them. ♥

It is through this blog that we have had the fortune of becoming acquainted with some extraordinary people, and many extraordinary donkeys. We’re grateful to our new friend Gayle for sending us the following to share with all of you. ♥

In Gayle’s words:

I finally paid a visit to PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary near Roseneath, Ontario last Sunday. Founder/proprietor Sheila Burns introduced me to many of the individual Donkeys, then kindly allowed me to wander at will amongst them with my camera.

I must say I have never visited a more peaceful place, nor met so many gentle and trusting creatures. What struck me most was how well they all got along and how well they accepted an unfamiliar person in their midst. Large groups gathered around the hay feeders and ate companionably, while others paired off for mutual grooming, or dozed in the sun.

I didn’t see one single act of aggression or dominance the whole time I was there, nor did any of the group around the hay feeder mind at all when I joined them and poked my camera lens in their faces while they were eating. Considering some of their histories, the calmness and trust they show is indeed a tribute to the care and healing they have received at the Sanctuary.

At present there are about twenty equines in residence mostly Donkeys, but also three Mules, and one Pony. They’re all different sizes and ages, and have widely varying life histories, some being rescues from abuse and neglect, others given over when a caring owner was no longer able to care for them, or had passed away. The oldest is Lucy, age 42.

Several others are well into their twenties and thirties, including PrimRose herself who is now 34 years old. These seniors and some of the rescued animals will stay at the Sanctuary for the rest of their lives. Other younger healthy animals that have not endured traumatic early lives, or that have been physically and emotionally rehabilitated, may be made available for fostering / adoption to carefully chosen individuals subject to terms and conditions to ensure their continued wellbeing, thus making room for newcomers.

Although PrimRose is officially a Donkey Sanctuary, no needy large animal is ever turned away which is why two Sheep, a Goat, and four Potbellied Pigs also call the farm home. I’m sure Wynonna over at the 7MSN would approve.    

Please invite your Blog Viewers to visit the Sanctuary’s website. There are three Photo Galleries there: Donkeys, Other Animals, and New Faces. Each has photos and brief biographies of several of the Sanctuary residents. (To access each “New Faces” bio you need to click on his/her picture.) There’s also some educational information under the “Donkey 101” tab.     

As for myself, I’m partial to Annabelle and Leon.

Annabelle in three months has gone from a being a skinny little lice-infested Jennet so bloated with worms as to appear pregnant, to being one of the most beautiful and charming little Donkeys you’d ever want to meet … I dare say as adorable as Bernard, but in a dainty feminine way ! It was very hard to get an in-focus photo of her as she is so people-friendly that she kept coming closer and closer to the camera.

Leon is a handsome young Donkey of 6 years who was caught in the middle of a domestic situation and spitefully turned loose to fend for himself … on a road ! After some time he was caught and held by Animal Control which insisted, when he wasn’t claimed by the owner, that he go to a Livestock (Meat) Auction rather than being sold directly to the Sanctuary. He was in decent body condition but with a severe case of overgrown hooves making it difficult for him to walk. Three months, two farrier visits, and a castration later he is moving freely and ready for adoption.

Annabelle, Leon, and the lamb Christina-Rose were all rescued by being purchased at the same auction.   


And here’s Joey, a longer term resident who had been badly abused but is now happy and friendly, and who has the cutest long ear hair. 

The latest two rescues, Simon and O’Sullivan of whom you already know from Sheaffer’s Blog, are also pictured. They share a paddock and have become fast friends. O’Sullivan still looks pretty rough, and being quite old will take a long while to recover, but he is on the mend enjoying all the attention and providing fly-swishing services to his new friend Simon who as you know has a broken and immobile tail, but is otherwise in good condition.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Look at what we received in the mail yesterday. Postcards from France. The boys were absolutely thrilled to know that someone across the pond was thinking of them. Thank you Vicki!

Vicki from I Need Orange recently returned from an amazing trip to France with her daughter. Be sure to check out Vicki’s blog to get the inside scoop.

Vicki found this postcard in Bayonne. It says, “You have cousins in Basque country?”  Vicki was sure she knew four guys in Albuquerque who did.

Then she got to La Rochelle, and there were donkeys everywhere. Donkeys everywhere – in pajamas! Sea salt is a major product of the area and donkeys help haul the salt. The “culottes” (typically described as stockings, leggings or knee-high boots) help to protect donkeys there from mosquito bites.

The postcard says the donkeys in culottes are one of the main folkloric elements of Ile de Ré – right by La Rochelle.

Needless to say, Bernard might be in a bit of a bind. I’m thinking Bernard would look adorable in a couple of pairs of culottes. We just happen to know someone who knits… Hi Cathy!

And then, goodness! Vicki said she saw this brochure and picked it up, but only as she was mailing it to us did she read it. They are keeping donkeys for their milk!  The brochure says that visitors can taste the milk, and that they make skin-care products, including soap, from the milk. As Vicki said, “Who knew??”

We’re surprised too! Vicki said that she ate lots of goat yogurt and sheep yogurt while she was in France… and just think, maybe she could have had donkey yogurt!!! ♥

This week we get to meet Keebler, Mel in N.Y.’s jack.

Here’s Keebler begging for snacks. Hi, Mel!

In this picture, Keebler is showing off for the girls.

We’ve now officially met all of Mel’s donkeys. He has quite the beautiful herd, doesn’t he?

If you think about it, what could be better than getting to meet new donkeys every week?

First, thanks to Denise for sharing her mini donkeys – Gunny and Harry – with us.

Gunny (Gunsmoke) is about 3 years old and Harry is 1-1/2.   I “adopted”  both of them from Linda Marchi at Seein’ Spots Farm near Los Olivos, California.   She has many many more and I am so tempted every time I visit.   We bought Harry as a 4-month-old so his mama, Flower, came along for a few months while we weaned him and he grew up a little.   They are FUN FUN FUN!

Don’t they just make you want to melt? Incidentally, Denise’s sister is Di, The Blue Ridge Gal. Hi, Di!  There’s an adorable baby picture of Harry on Di’s blog. Check it out here.

Second, from Mel in N.Y., we get to meet Toby’s and Tyler’s mammas!

Here are the proud mothers of Toby and Tyler. Sparkle, (gray spot) and Shyann (more often called Attitude Ann around here). Shying for two reasons, first, she is shy all the spots she is supposed to have, and two, shy is definitely NOT what she is, or ever has been!! Right from day one, she has believed that she was Queen, and every thing should be done just to please her. The day she was born, she rubbed against my legs and demanded that I pet her. If I was paying attention to some other donkey, she would push in between us and say pet ME!  When she was 11 months old, she decided it was time for her to take over being boss of the herd and by the end of summer she had become Number 2 boss!  Sparkle, her mother, and number one boss, just will not give in to her!  That was a fun summer!
My first rule in having a foal each year was to sell the foals when they were weaned. I broke that rule with Ann. She was so much fun, I decided to keep her until she was old enough to have a foal of her own and then sell her. Now that time has come, and I find that I can’t let her go ! She is still fun, and I’m too attached to her!
Just look at this happy, gorgeous family. (You can click on the picture below to see a larger image.)

I want to jump on a plane to New York right now…

Keep your positive stories, experiences and photos of donkeys and burros coming! Send them to us at and we’ll post them here. ♥

Thank you to CeeCee at My Little Bit of Heaven for sending this:

I was delighted to see this in my newspaper this morning and found it on the internet so I could share it with you.
Holy moly. Look at how cute this baby zedonk is:
Apparently, when a zebra father has a baby with a donkey mother, the end result is what is called a zedonk. Read more about it here.
And thank you to Rosanne for more pictures of Russell, her mini donk. I begged, and Rosanne delivered!  Russell is so cute.
From Rosanne:
Here’s a photo of  my little porker resting in the shade. It’s been hot and humid here since the monsoon started.


Here’s another photo of Russell playing with one of our geldings. These two are hilarious together. Please ignore my dirty horse-he loves lying down in manure. LOL

We’re lovin’ ya Russ. ♥

Please keep your positive stories, experiences and photos of donkeys and burros coming! Remember to send them to us at

The American Donkey is one of the most misunderstood and often the most mistreated animal in our society.  Improving the plight of these incredible animals begins with knowledge.  

-Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue

I realize now this is so true.

It’s shocking how different life was for Don and me only a year ago… BD; Before Donkeys. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I will. While I would never mistreat any animal, I bought into the “beasts of burden” thing. I never gave donkeys a second thought. I thought they were stubborn, I didn’t think they were intelligent, yadda, yadda. I mean, after all, why would so many people treat donkeys the way they do if donkeys were smart, willing creatures?

We know differently now, and so do many of you. That’s why we’re starting a new page on our site called, For the love of donkeys. Our hope is that you’ll share your positive stories, experiences and photos of donkeys and burros. Just send them to us at and we’ll post them. We’ll see what evolves from here. 

For our inaugural For the love of donkeys post, we’d like you to meet Toby and Tyler.

Just look at them! Thanks so much to Mel in N.Y. for sharing them. Mel and I emailed back and forth yesterday about our love for donkeys.

From Mel:

You know how much fun the big donkeys are, the babies are just that much more fun!! You must know by now just how contagious donkeys are. You can’t just have one or two, or three or four, 6, 8, LOL.

Toby and Tyler are now 6 and 11 weeks old. In the picture they were 3 and 8 weeks.

I’m still waiting for you to give Nigel a hug from me.


Toby and Tyler’s father is a black and white spotted jack. The mothers (a mother and her daughter) are a gray and white spotted and a frosted spot white. According to Mel, “I had my order in for two black and white spotted jenny foals, but someone got the order mixed up!  LOL.  With those eyes, the white one should have been a jenny!”
It’s obvious that Mel knows and loves his donks. We love that. ♥

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