It was always our plan to have at least two donkeys here on Critter Farm. I knew the rules. Donkeys are very social, pack animals that need the companionship of other equine. I broke this important rule when I had Chester come to live with us at the beginning of November. But I figured it would only be a short period of time before we found him a buddy.
Who knew that finding another standard-size gelding donkey would be so difficult around here?
Fortunately, I have friends who watch out for me. Cindy, who writes the blog, A Little Farm with a Big Heart, has long been on the look-out for me. Tammy, who writes the Wrensong Farm blog, sent an email out to all of her friends and contacts that have equine connections. Linda, who writes her blog, Musings and Ramblings on Writing and Life from Linda Benson, Children's Author, and was also Chester's former owner, has been particularly vigilant, watching her state of Washington for any and all suitable donkey candidates.
It wound up being Linda who found the Craigslist ad. She forwarded the ad to me. I contacted the ad owner. And things moved very quickly from here.
The ad owner, Shannon, had four donkeys, two of which were virtually wild, all of whom had been in grave danger last year when her entire property and all her outbuildings flooded. She now wanted to rehome these donkeys for fear of flooding again this year and also because she didn't feel they were getting the attention they deserved.
So, on probably the darkest, rainiest day of this new year:
My husband, Jim, my son, Aidan, and I hooked up our borrowed trailer for a second time and took another trip.
We drove three hours north to pick up Beau, the new donkey friend for our Chester. Here's our first glimpse of Beau, led by Shannon:
It took a bit of convincing by Shannon and Aidan for Beau to realize that he'd like to go for a ride in the trailer:
Many eyes were upon us while we loaded Beau:
In a very odd twist of fate, Shannon and her family breed and show Nigerian Dwarf goats. In fact, this is Poppy Patch Farm - where the parents of Reggie, my own sweet Nigerian Dwarf goat, were born. And, it turns out, some of Reggie's family lives here even still:
Reggie's great grandma:
My son, Aidan, learned that if you stroke a buck's beard, you are going to carry a certain "aroma" with you for the rest of the day:
In fact, we all enjoyed that certain smell all the way home.
It was a long, wet and, ultimately, dark journey back to our farm. Beau surprised us by unloading very easily and only needed a few minutes to realize the stall in the barn would be an ok place for him. When we let Chester in to see, he didn't hesitate for even a moment to rush over to the stall to introduce himself:
The clay-like mud of the Pacific Northwest is hard and crusty on Beau's legs and belly. His front feet look pretty good to me, but his rear hooves come almost to points, which is a pretty good indication that he may have given his last farrier a bit of trouble during the trim:
We all think he is a very handsome boy:
From Beau's initial reaction, it would seem he hadn't seen many llamas before. But you could almost hear a collective llama groan when the girls realized there was ANOTHER donkey in the barn:
There is pretty good size difference between Beau and Chester. Chester is right around 11 hands high (44 inches), while Beau is approximately 13hh (52 inches). I worried initially that Beau might be a bit rough on Chet, but this hasn't been the case at all. In fact, if anything - believe it or not - Chester's a bit of a bully:
Aside from being in love with Beau already, I, quite simply, love the story of him coming to be here. Of all the ways we could have found him, it was my new friend, Linda, who pointed us to him. And of all the places we could have found a companion for Chester, the place turns out to have a direct connection to one of my two beloved goat boys.