I rubbed Lulu’s ears, the tips of my fingers turning black with the scabs from the insects bites and the tar-like crud that builds up there. She slowly dropped her head, her lip quivering with pleasure. I ran my hands down the sides of her face and under her chin, scratching and massaging the places that are hard for her to get to. She shed tufts of hair from her neck and back as I used my fingers to comb her.
We don’t ask much from our donkeys Lulu and Fanny.
They don’t have to walk on a halter or carry anyone or anything on their backs. We really only want them to stay within the fenced pastures, get along with each other and the other animals on the farm and be gentle with the people who visit.
These are all things they seem to do naturally.
I never think of making Fanny and Lulu do any kind of work, although if they were trained to, I’m sure they’d enjoy it. Work is in a donkeys blood. They’ve been our Beasts of Burden for thousands of years.
I’ve always seen giving Fanny and Lulu the life we do, as a kind of payback from our species to theirs. They get to live a life of luxury for all the abuse donkeys have suffered at the hand of humans over the centuries.
And really, Fanny and Lulu do more than we ask of them.
They give to us the calm of their spirits. A connection to nature that is healing. A relationship that is timeless. It’s comforting just knowing they are there. Like horses, dogs and cats, their companionship is ancient.