Crazy-Awesome Part 2: Miniature Donkey Edition

I mentioned on Monday that this week is the one-year anniversary of the most unexpectedly crazy-awesome thing I’ve ever done. Here’s how I intended to celebrate that milestone: More napping.

Here’s how I’m actually going to celebrate that milestone: By moving 2836 pounds of stone out of my little barn, building a stall, and installing 1200 linear feet of electric fence in 8″ of snow.

Why would I do that (other than just my general insanity)? Because I just found out that these guys need a home:

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I’m going to tell you two stories today. The first is the story of my girls– Lucy and PJ– the miniature donkeys who live at the Memorial House.

If you’re new around here, the second craziest thing I’ve ever done is live in a garage for 18 months with my then-boyfriend (and current drinking buddy) while we built the Memorial House. In addition to building the house, we also built a small donkey barn, drove down to Texas, and then spent 24 hours driving back across the united states with a couple of miniature donkeys in the back of our pickup.

These are my girls, and they have a special place in my heart. When MysteryMan and I decided to amicably end our relationship (yes, we’re totally still friends, by the way– he gives me pointers on electric work, I give him pointers on installing flooring) there was no question about who was keeping the house (him) but those donkeys? We had some serious heart-to-hearts about who was going to get the girls.

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Let me just say this: if at any moment I had said, “MysteryMan, my heart is going to break in half if I have to leave my girls behind” that man would have given them to me in a second, no matter how much he wanted to keep them. But when I moved out of the Memorial house I had no idea if I would end up somewhere with a pasture, and if I took the donkeys I would have to board them somewhere for a while. In the end, it seemed selfish to move them from their home (twice) just because I didn’t want to leave them behind. And no matter what, one or the other of us was going to be getting more minis… its just that if MysteryMan was going to do it, he’d feel obligated to get them from his aunt in Texas again. Do you know how many times in your life you want to drive 24 hours across the country with a couple of donkeys in the back of a pickup? Once. That’s fair.

On the other hand, I could always get my donkeys from a breeder nearby when the time was right. And if you take a look at what I’ve been doing for the last year… the time just hasn’t been right. I needed to spend some time focusing on the house and the property before I could turn my attention to more donkeys.

So, that is the story of Lucy and PJ… my first long-ear loves. I still stop by Memorial every once and a while and let them chew on my hair (and I’m sure I always will) but I had planned to bring my own donkeys to the Liberty House come spring.

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The second story I’m going to tell you today starts with facebook. Facebook at 8 AM on a Saturday morning, when I’ve had approximately 4 hours of sleep, and my friend Brandon (from the Turtle House) sends me a link to an article about how 2 goats, 2 horses, 2 donkeys, and 2 miniature donkeys were siezed by the local Humane Society–from a person who plead guilty to animal cruelty–and are now up for adoption.

My first thought was: Holy shit, I’m tired.

My second thought was: No way in hell I’m ready to take on donkeys at this place. The barn is full of crap, I don’t have a fence up, the water and electric isn’t working out there yet…

Then I lay there in my bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking about how a year ago I was wandering, lost, adrift, unloved, and when I needed a place, I found this house. And now, exactly a year later, there are some miniature donkeys– the animals of my heart– who are lost, adrift, unloved, and need a place…and I’m making excuses about not being able to take them in because of what? Because my dining room floor needs to be sanded and I’ll have to spend a day clearing shit out of the barn? Seriously?

Inside of an hour I’d made two calls to the Humane Society, and decided that I would put on my big-girl Carhartts and invest an hour in tackling the mess in the barn to see if I could make reasonable progress on it.

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This is no small task, but seriously? I’ve tackled bigger.

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So I figured if I could move an entire effing barn into a dumpster in a couple of weekends, or hang a sheet of drywall on the ceiling by myself, or haul a 300 pound drum sander in and out of my truck more than once, I will be dammed if I can’t find a way to make some portion of my six acres of property habitable for donkeys in the next couple of weeks.

And then, yesterday, I got a call back from the Humane Society saying that two little boys were, in fact, available for adoption. They sent me pictures and my heart pretty much jumped out of my chest and plopped right at my feet.

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I had intended to get a couple of girl donkeys (jennies) because the boys (jacks) tend to be more ornery. But, lets be honest, when it comes down to it, uh, so do I… so I’m guessing I’ll get along just fine with these little guys.

I still have to go through the adoption process, meet my little dudes, clear out the barn and build a stall in it, put in a temporary electric fence (until the ground thaws) and figure out how to get electric out to the barn to plug it in. (Or, as a secondary option, put in a solar powered electric fence.) In… you know… a week or two.

It’s not going to be easy, but if there’s one thing that the Liberty House taught me, it’s that the really awesome things in life never are.

27 Responses

  1. I grew up on a farm but we never had donkeys. We had horses and cows, sheep, goats, pigs, turkeys, pheasants, and chickens!
    I would have loved a donkey but my step-dad said we had enough animals… LOL

  2. Mini donkeys are on my list of must have livestock when we move to our farm. I still need to do research on them (not planning on any livestock until 2014), but I thought I’d ask…do they tend to do okay with goats? That’s another must for me…

    1. They do! I know MysteryMan’s aunt kept her little goats and some of the minis in the same pen. Donkeys are smart… but goats are little tricksters. They’ll escape almost any enclosure so you really have to be on your toes with them.

  3. Yahoo Kit! The donkeys are what brought me to follow you in the first place! And now you get extra points for getting rescue donkeys! Not sure that the males will be any more onery… My gelding is pretty even-tempered. And if they are not gelded… and you got a Jenny… Well… And you have PLENTY of room for more.

    Have fun with the fence and barn in winter, I will be following this from Hawaii starting tommorrow! So excited to follow this new part of the story!

  4. oh fanTASTIC! we got our jack as a wee one, and he’s just as affectionate, if not more of an adorable nuisance as our jenny. And we thought it would be a good idea to get him home in the back of a Ford Explorer… (just nowhere close to 24hrs of a trip). I have heard stories of many mini donkeys being this side of wild, as a lot of people don’t seem to handle them much- fingers crossed these two guys aren’t crazy ruffians.

    our two like to rest their noses in my palm, have yet to see if they have developed a taste for hair.

  5. *SQUEAL* Mini Donkeys are coming!!! This is very exciting πŸ™‚ But holylottawork girl! Good luck getting everything done in time – you can do it!

  6. Animal neglect is always so heartbreaking. The little dude in the lower photo really looks like he could do with a good trim! His hooves look like elf shoes!

    1. That was one of the issues with their old situation… hoofs had never been trimmed! (They hadn’t been starved though… so that’s something.)

  7. Totally awesome of you to give theses little guys a “forever home.” You’re the best, and I am so happy to follow your journey. Hope I get to meet you in person some day and tell you how great you are. I’ll just say it today on behalf of the donkeys.

  8. That is soooo exciting! I grew up on a farm and we had a lot of different animals. I wish I could have chickens, but I live in a subdivision now πŸ™

    Your little guys are so adorable. I think it’s fantastic that you are in the position to help them. You’re fierce, to say the least!

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