I love donkeys. The reason I love them is because they’re grumpy and greedy and sarcastic and sometimes friendly when they know you. I identify strongly with several of those qualities. Growing up, we lived beside my Grandad’s farm. He had a donkey called Neddy. Neddy was a female donkey, but I was about twenty before anyone pointed that out to me, and even then the pronoun we used was he. And Neddy didn’t mind, as long as there was food. Neddy passed away when I was in college, because (s)he was an old, old donkey who had lived a long life full of oats and rubs and bits of grass.
Neddy would come over to you when you called and tolerate you rubbing her nose and telling her she was magnificent until she tired of you. I appreciated her honesty. And stoicism.
Having a donkey around when I was little was amazing, and I have a fondness of them to this day. But not everyone appreciates how wonderful and quirky and playful they are. There are donkeys all over Ireland who don’t get the oats, carrots, polo mints and rubs they deserve. Who don’t get their hooves trimmed or their sheds cleaned.
The pictures are from my visit to The Donkey Sanctuary in Cork, where they rescue and care for neglected donkeys until they can be fostered or re-homed with people who will love and respect them. Every donkey has their name written on their collar, and they have special back scratcher things and lots of admirers. Which is as it should be.
Have you ever encountered a donkey? Aren’t they the best?