Charlie is an important story for us because he didn’t come from an abusive situation. In fact, Charlie came to us because his family did love him and wanted the best for him.
I moved to the current farm property on September 25th, 2018. I saw the donkey nearby that lived in a small shelter (definitely adequate for a small equine) on a small mud lot. He never appeared poorly cared for but I knew he didn’t have the space to run around like he should. I got to know the family and I know they all loved him very much BUT had been considering finding him a new location for the very same things I had already thought about (space, ability to graze, etc). I proposed they send him to WFAS and they said they would consider. I mentioned we had 5 acres, it was already fenced in, even though it was winter there was still plenty to graze. They said they would consider.
Although if you asked me to be honest, I really didn’t think they would trust the newcomer with an animal they clearly loved. Out here, donkeys are used for herd protection. The only natural predator in this area to a donkey is a coyote … which is why donkeys don’t usually get along with dogs. There are a lot of farmers (and their friends) around here that had asked for Charlie. They wanted a guard donkey – to be a protector. So yea… I thought I was the very last consideration on their list.
But I was wrong! I want to say it was within a week or two of them telling me that they would like Charlie to be with us that we got the temporary shelter up. I purchased a lead rope and a small halter … we don’t have a trailer SOOOO that means I had to walk him back to the property.
He was skeptical at first but as soon as he knew he was being walked into grass, he bolted. He nearly ripped my arm off a couple times simply because he was excited to be on grass. I don’t blame him. Thankfully – I sustained no injuries (just a sore shoulder for a couple days).
Once I got him up our drive (which is 1/4 mile long – for those who don’t know), we released him into the enclosed pasture and I got out of the way. I knew it would go 1 of 3 ways: 1 – he wouldn’t care at all, 2 – he would be angry or scared and possibly lunge/kick/bite me, or 3 – he would be happy and run around with excitement.
Thankfully, he chose option 3.
He behaved like this for days.
It wasn’t because he didn’t have a family that loved him or food in his belly – His excitement was simply because donkey’s enjoy a good run. In fact, most donkeys won’t be overweight because they will exercise themselves, provided they have the space.
It wasn’t long after we got him to WFAS that an awesome someone made an in kind donation of a winter blanket for Charlie, which he loves. Now that’s its summer, he is rocking an awesome fly mask, protecting his eyes and ears from flies. He has become an integral part of WFAS – its always nice to be greeted by Charlie with a big hee-haw. He is a super curious boy and a wonderful disposition. So many people love him (on and off the property).
OH – speaking of disposition.
I thought the family had Charlie for a long time but as it turns out, they had purchased him just shortly before I closed on the property! When they saw him at the auction, they fell in love with his sweet little face and just how sweet he was in general. His personality. His disposition. His everything!
When I met him, I thought “wow, this little donkey has a great disposition!”
Because of his wonderful disposition, no one (the family that bought him AND us at WFAS) had no idea why he would ever land at an auction. He seemed healthy enough and he was sweet enough… was he old? was he sick? what was wrong?
We didn’t care about the answer to any of those questions because Charlie had found sanctuary … but as it turns out:
- He is not old. He is only 5 years old. On average, donkeys live to around 30 years old.
- He is not sick. In fact, the vet gave him a sparkling clean bill of health. He did need to be gelded though …. but that made the vet really go on about how great a personality he had even though he was an in tact male. Gelding him would only make him nicer!
- He is not broken. His body is very strong.
No one knows why he ever made it to the sale barn but what we all do know is that any animal sold at a sale barn is at a high risk of being purchased by a killbuyer. WFAS is so thankful for the family that went there looking for something else but came home with a donkey. And we are all thankful that he gets to live his days without worry of being abused, exploited, worked into the ground, or slaughtered.
He is Charlie Donkey. He is an individual. He is loved.
and he is spoiled… really really spoiled. HA!