Monday, March 14, 2011

I saw magic happen today

If you are not yet familiar with the Morning Bray Farm blog or their recent posts on the little donkey, not too far from their home, being used for inhumane roping activities, please go here to read the story.

If you are a reader of Morning Bray Farm, you will already know that this little roping donkey was rescued just yesterday evening by Justina and her husband, Don. I know Justina will be telling the story behind this, so please be sure to visit Morning Bray Farm.

My post today is about being lucky enough to spend the day with this remarkable rescue donkey. You see, Justina unfortunately had to work today and was very worried about leaving the little guy alone. Since I'm currently visiting the 7MSN Ranch in New Mexico, Linda and I both jumped at the chance to "donkey sit". Around 10:30 this morning, we got to meet the former roping donkey:

His name is now Patrick. And he is just the sweetest, most beautiful donkey:

Trust grows slowly, you know. It's not something you can just jump into:

Especially if you've been abused, it takes time to trust even the kindest of people:

But I watched Patrick try and try and try all day - and I watched Linda give him all the time he needed to allow her to take the next step. I've never seen a donkey so hungry for stimulation and interaction:

As we worked with Patrick, if he got scared, or things became too overwhelming for him, he would move away quickly. Most striking to me, however, was that within moments - literally - he would return, on his own, and reach out to us for more contact.

Sometimes, Linda would walk away and give Patrick a break. When Patrick realized she wasn't going to chase him around or force him into doing something he wasn't ready to do, he would seek her out again:

This 3-year-old donkey, mistreated his entire life, still enjoys being with humans! After we spent a few peaceful, positive hours with him, he felt safe enough to drop to the ground and have a good dust bath. If this isn't trust, I don't know what is:

It did take some time:

and there were a few discussions along the way:

but Linda was able to convince him ...:

that it was ok...:

to put a rope halter on:

But Linda didn't stop there.

The rope halter didn't fit well, so she moved on to a woven one:

Then came the lead rope:

And the brush:

And the leg touching:

This boy just kept going and going:

Bernard, Fergus, Nigel and Ellsworth didn't know quite what to make of it all:

Supportive hugs:

...and words of encouragement came non-stop:

"How about a mouth check?" "Ok," said Patrick:

"Care for a little butt scratch?" Patrick said, "Not my favorite thing right now, but maybe it will grow on me":

What I'm maybe not making very clear is that any *one* of these accomplishments would be a huge milestone for an abused donkey who just arrived on a new farm less than 18 hours earlier. This boy is a star:

Justina was able to come home for lunch and got to love Patrick up a bit:

When Don arrived home this evening, he brought Patrick his very own green halter and lead rope and Don was able to halter Patrick up:

Judging from the interaction through the fence, I think Bernard and Patrick are going to be very good friends:

And I've made wonderful new friends on my trip here to New Mexico.
Justina, Don and I keep saying "goodbye" and "how nice it was to meet you," only to have another opportunity the next day to meet again.

Here is Justina blowing us goodbye kisses and Don saying "See you tomorrow!" even though we currently have no plans to see each other. Yet.:

What I witnessed today is a testament to the resiliency of the donkey spirit. And Patrick is an exceptionally lucky donkey to now call Morning Bray Farm his home. Since I feel like part of this family now, too, I hope he'll call me Auntie Danni:

(In between all her donkey work today, Linda still had time to take a few of her own incredible pictures. Be sure to visit her 7MSN blog.)


  1. He is so sweet. What an amazing fellow!

  2. Ah Aunty Danni, you have put a smile on my face. Glad to see you are having a wonderful time.
    LiBBiE in Oz

  3. That's just amazing. Glad to hear Patrick is doing so well after his rescue. ♥

  4. Aren't Carson, Justina & Don just the best people ever? And how wonderful you were there for Patrick's homecoming! I have shed many tears between yesterday and today, and have a feeling I will shed more as Patrick's story unfolds. But they are tears of joy because that sad, scared little donkey has found heaven on earth - Morning Bray Farm!

  5. What a lucky little boy Patrick is. And I'm sure he has lots of internet aunties rooting for him as well as his Auntie Danni!

  6. And have we mentioned that Patrick is now forever desensitized to cameras in his face and a swirling crowd of papparazzi? He's not only ready for his first vet visit today, he's ready for fame. As it should be. Because he's earned it.

  7. It sounds like there are some very lucky people who got the chance to be involved with a rescue donkey named Patrick. It gives me hope for the world.

  8. Danni,

    Yes, Patrick is a star, but so are you and Carson. We can't tell you how much we appreciate you spending the day with him yesterday.

    We love you, Aunt Danni!!! :) xoxoxoxo

  9. awwwww....what a wonderful story! he is such a cutie!

  10. Jenny in MN now in AZMarch 15, 2011 at 6:01 AM

    I'm so filled with Joy that Patrick has such a wonderful new home! I would have to say, he just had the best day of his life. So sad that animals can be abused. He is a doll. Thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures and stories.

  11. OhMyGosh Danni tears of happiness! I have been following this and what a wonderful home for Patrick to be in. I kept praying that either Morning Bray Farm or 7MSN would give him a forever home. My heart hurt everytime I looked at that picture of him laying down by the fence. What a WONDERFUL Tuesday this is!! Very sweet. Thank Heavens.

  12. Danni, you are now on my favorites bar and I will begin each day with a visit with you, and Linda, and Justine and Don. In a world of too much sadness, you all are balm to the spirit. I have totally fallen in love with the blessed animals that live with you all who are their blessing. THANK YOU! (I'm going to copy this and post it to 7MSN and Morning Bray too.)

  13. Oh, what a special day for you and Carson both. I had a tear in my eye as I read about Patrick trying so hard to gain affection and learn to trust all of you. Wonderful!

  14. Thank you for this post with all its pictures, Auntie Danni! I love the one of Linda just sitting with the little guy, giving him space and choice. What a story! What a resilient Patrick, in spite of his life pre-rescue!

    Could your readers possible weep with joy any more than we already have this morning? The world was so ready for some good news.

  15. What a lovely post about a lovely donkey. I've been following his story since that first sad post on MBF.

    Thank you for taking the time to make Patrick's first day a memorable one.

    And for sharing it with us.

  16. Danni, you are on my 'favorites' as well, right next to Linda and Justina.
    I feel, through the wonder of the internet, so blessed to be a witness to all that is happening to Patrick. I can not wait to watch him soar !!

  17. What an awesome experience. My emotions run deep with your story. Several years ago I used to take in rescue horses and bring them back to trust and friendship with people. It's absolutely beautiful to watch and experience. What a treasured day!

  18. You certainly had an eventful weekend! I am amazed at how quickly Patrick felt comfortable with all of you! He is an adorble addition to the MB farm.

  19. The spirit of animals continues to amaze me. You did a beautiful job capturing the day with Patrick and Linda. It's so encouraging. Such a loving spirit in that adorable body. What an awesome experience you've had on your trip, Danni!!

  20. So glad to get get your take on it, as well as Linda's and Justina's, and so happy to see your pics.

    It just amazes me how these guys can bounce back, so quickly, from so much bad treatment.........

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

  21. Linda made me cry this morning and now you've got me blubbering as well...what a wonderful wonderful heartwarming story! So happy for little Patrick :)

  22. Thanks for sharing your take on the miracle of Patrick. Yes, I'd say with Linda and Justina and Don and you......a day of magic was had by all.
    What is amazing to me is that Patrick can still even be close to humans after what was done to him. Linda looks to be a donkey whisperer anyway but your photos are proof positive about this very special lady.
    Justina and Don are remarkable for their strength of character. They made it happen for Patrick....a new life as one of DA BOYZ at Morning Bray.
    And my goodness you have had the adventure of a lifetime in your visit to NM. Congratulations on an adventure par excellance.
    Much love to all you donkey wranglers. The Olde Bagg, Linda

  23. Thank you so much, Danni, for posting pictures of Patrick's first day...he is so lucky to have such a great home and great aunties!

    I borrowed some pictures to share Patrick's story. I hope you don't mind :)

    Sue and the Crew

  24. I have tears in my eyes, sniffing, as I write this. I am just so glad to know about all of you and so happy that you share your lives with us. Patrick is amazing. It is wonderful to watch all of you being so loving with him. I enjoy your blog so much that last week I decided to start from the beginning and work my way up. What a wonderful story! I'm enjoying all of your adventure.

  25. Yep, me, too! I've had Carson on my favorites bar, then added Justina. And since your visit, you are now right up there with the 2 of them. You've had an incredible visit with Carson, and have played your part in the Great Rescue by loving on that handsome donkey in his new home. Many cheers to all of you! He's going to be a fine pet companion!!

    Nancy in Iowa

  26. What special people you are. What a special animal Patrick is. And all of his new friends--human and critter. Tears in my eyes at all of this magic documented so well in pictures and words. Thanks for doing this and sharing it with us. My husband is getting a donkey book at the library today on his way home.

  27. There will always be cruelty to animals because some humans don't realize that we are all the same. These are the angry people that take life out on the innocent.
    We have rescued dogs and have one right now that suffered 6 mos of his puppyhood at the hands of stupid people.Cutter is learning to trust and he's a happy dog now.
    The really great thing about animals is that they live vertically, not horizontally. They live in the moment. They do have memories... but they don't dwell in them like humans do and, with lots of love, they recover.
    It is a magical thing that happens in this beautiful post of yours.These photos of Patrick and Linda restore my faith in the power of love.
    Thank you for this most amazing blog post.

  28. Incredible and heartfelt story - Patrick is on his way to such a good life, now! Carson, has such a special connection with critters. It touches my heart and soul. Bless Justina and Don - what wonderful and beautiful people they must be. You are having an absolute ball and we are lucky to get to live it vicariously through you, Auntie Danni!

  29. I was going to say...Bring him to me...then I realized they are keeping him. I mean you don't buy a nice green halter and lead rope for a donkey you aren't keeping:)
    I think one of you should write a book about Patrick. He has a story to tell and there are plenty of pictures.
    There is also goat roping if you can imagine such a thing...I wonder what kind of person likes to do that in their spare time.

  30. I know exactly how my farmgirl felt when she had the honor of being involved with a rescued donkey. Truly an experience of a lifetime!
    So come on home now and tell all your critters about your adventures. They are all missing you terribly. They tell me it's just not the same without you.

  31. Oh heck I'm bawling here! Can hardly see what Im typing!


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