Adopt a Donkey
Next week (7th – 15th May) is Donkey Week; organised by the Donkey Sanctuary in Devon, it is intended to raise people’s awareness of these fabulous creatures. As well as rescuing and re-homing donkeys and mules, and with nearly 50 years of experience working with donkeys, they also help sanctuaries all over the world with advice and research to ensure their donkeys have a good life and to protect their welfare. My brother and I were lucky enough to have a pet donkey when we were kids and they really are fab’luss – real sociable characters, who love affection and company. I recall that they don’t have waterproof coats like horses, so need shelter from the rain and strong sunshine; and here are a few more ass-tounding facts about them.
They are capable of remembering a place they have been to or other donkeys they met 25 years ago! I can’t even do that!
- A donkey will never get involved in an activity if it considers it to be unsafe. If they sense something wrong, they will simply not move ahead and will start digging in their heels. It is this behaviour, which has made people think that donkeys are stubborn. I can do that!
- With proper maintenance and care, a donkey can live for more than 40 years.
- Donkeys are by nature herd animals. They prefer to stay in groups but a single donkey can actually live happily with group of goats.
- A donkey is capable of hearing another donkey from a distance of 60 miles in proper desert conditions. This is possible because of their large ears. Their large ears also help to keep their body cool in hot and arid desert conditions.
Welsh entrepreneur and Secret Millionaire, Kevin Green is a big fan of donkeys, with his love of them starting 24 years ago when he bought cattle. He explained, “Basically one donkey, Victoria, was a compulsory purchase as part of the sale because she was friendly with two of the cows. I took her home, not realising she was pregnant, and three months later she had a foal who I called Emma. That was more than 23 years ago and I’ve loved her, and the others, ever since.”
And one of my father’s favourite jokes was donkey-esque. He used to say that he never understood why his best friend called him Donkey, adding ‘eyeore, eyeore, eyeore to know better!’
If you pop into the website www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk you can find out more about donkeys in general, and how you can help, or if you fancy adopting or visiting a donkey or mule a little closer to home, you can find out more at
Three years ago I spent the day at the Buddhist Centre in Brynmawr on a ‘Mindfulness Dry Stone Walling Course’. The tutor, ‘Jack’, was a fabulously down-to-earth fella with a good sense of humour and an obvious passion for stone walling and the outdoors in general. Before we started with the stone, we all did our introductions and said a little about why we were there. I spoke of my absolute adoration for the craft and how I just got completely lost in it, losing all sense of time and anything else. For me stone walling is naturally mindful as it kept me totally in the ‘now’ and it is, without a doubt, one of my favourite things to do.
‘Jack’, smiled and said, “Boy, you remind me so much of an American girl I know – she would have said exactly that. You are very similar in a lot of ways.”
As the day unfolded and walls were built, ‘Jack’ would come over and chat, inevitably mentioning the remarkable similarity between me and his American friend. “Just uncanny; you must have been separated at birth, “ He laughed.
Anyway, fast forward three years and I get a call form Emma at Book-ish in Crickhowell to ask if I would chair an interview with an author who was on tour promoting their book at the Hay Festival. “I thought of you straight away, you have so much in common, I’ll get her agent to send you a copy of the book.” She added.
Realising I hadn’t even asked who I was interviewing, I waited for the book. It arrived. It was called Between Stone and Sky – Memoirs of a Waller. An American waller who learnt her craft in Wales.
I emailed her to introduce myself and asked politely if she knew a guy called ‘Jack’, who I had trained with. “Yes of course”, she said, “He mentioned you to me too!”
Yup, it is only the very girl from America who ‘Jack’ likened me to all that time ago.
The book is a great read, and about so much more than stone walling, so it is with great enthusiasm that I am looking forward to interviewing Whitney Brown at Crickhowell Parish Hall, Silver Lane, Crickhowell on Wednesday 30th May (Wednesday) at 7.30 pm. You can buy tickets and get more details from Book-ish. www.book-ish.co.uk/events-calendar. I hope to see you there.