Everyone, I'd like you to meet Ding (on the right) and Dong (on the left). They've come up for a treat, a bit of apple or carrot will do if you're packing some, but if your pockets are empty they'll demand that you run up to the house for some tasty donkey morsels.
I seem to have "inherited" this pair of donkeys by way of a neighbor. They came from a friend of my neighbor and enjoyed an extended vacation on our joint pastures this summer. Their owner happened to mention that he was tired of them and would be happy to give them away if we wanted them. They're friendly and kind of fun to have around, so we're trying them out for the winter. If nothing else, they have been a source of entertainment in the middle of the night when they decide to bray and wake up the neighborhood.
Now, it's true that I'm a veterinarian by trade, and in my early pre-surgical specialty years I treated all manner of domestic animals, but horses have never been my thing. That stems from being bucked off an insufferable Shetland during my first ride at age 7. I've never rode a horse since and don't trust any of them. Donkeys, however, are quite sociable animals; you can't have just one donkey because a single donkey will die of loneliness. Two will thrive together and this pair are as gentle as lambs; well, except when they nip at my fingers while grabbing a piece of apple. They're both around 20 years old, late middle-aged as it were. Ding is a female and Dong is a male. You can remember which is which if you remember that my bawdy neighbor calls the male Long Dong for a reason that I can't elaborate for you on a PG-13 blog.
Their previous owner just left them alone to fend for themselves on the prairie the past few years, not even worrying about how they'd get water, but I'm going to make a place for them in the new barn and put a tank in with a warmer. Besides the quiet companionship and the excuse to slip away from Mrs. ProfessorRoush, I'm looking on this pair as a factory of sorts. Donkeys, you see, have the lovable habit of pooping in the same place each time, creating a handy pile for the occasional rose fanatic to gather easily. Already, down in my pasture, is a gold mine growing day by day. Yes, I think the donkeys and I are going to get along just fine.