Overall satisfaction


Acquired: Rescue / shelter group

Gender: Female





Easy to provide habitat


Tolerance for heat


Tolerance for cold


Commercial value


Sarah, the non-cart donkey.


0216, South Africa

Posted Apr 06, 2015

It has been said that Southern Africa could not have been tamed without the humble donkey, and even though there are several monuments to various donkey breeds in South Africa, I cannot agree with this sentiment. Donkeys may have played a part, but the work would definitely have gone faster had donkeys NOT been involved.

Perhaps it is that I do not understand donkeys. I received a 3-month-old donkey foal from the rescue group I was volunteering with in 2009, and it would seem that my donkey mare, named Sarah, had taken the rescue as a sign that she was somehow special, and above having to pull the little cart I made for her to exercise with.
She seems to have the idea that having to work off her rotundity is somehow distasteful, and no matter how many times I show her pictures of her hardworking forbears, she is just not interested; almost as if she has no pride in the history of her race.

And she needs excercise- standing around chewing the fat with the emus has caused her to run to fat just a litle bit, and I think it is here that I went wrong one day when I told her that she was getting fat. That was three years ago, and still she has not forgiven me. I have tried every trick in the book to get her hitched to the little cart, but nothing doing- she just flops her long ears, bares her teeth, and gives me the LOOK; that look of pity, disdain, and just a little arrogance that makes it painfully clear that she is never going to pull the cart. Ever.

And this is what I don't understand. Why not? Why not just pull the cart the little way up to the gate and back? It is after all what donkeys do, right? Sarah however, clearly disagrees, and we have now agreed to disagree on the importance of regular exercise for donkeys and for now, that is where matters stand. In all other respects though, Sarah is an exemplary pet; she greets me with a loud bray every morning provided the hateful cart is not in sight, she has never been ill, and she does not intimidate the chickens the way the emus do. She is calm, unflappable, and friendly with the neighbor's children when they feed her apples. If only it wasn't for that stupid cart we would have the perfect relationship- I would think I own her, and she would not have to keep reminding me that I don't.

Despite our issues with the cart, Sarah and I have a good relationship, and based on my experience with her, I would certainly recommend keeping a donkey or two as pets. They are easy to handle, not overly active and provided they have at least a couple of acres to themselves, they are not demanding or difficult to keep. Just do not let them see you building a cart for them to pull-even if you think it is for their own good.

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