June 20, 2010

Donkey Love

Saturday was my birthday and the only thing I asked for was a trip to Longhopes Donkey Shelter, about 1 1/2 hours from us.   Since Neal is a sucker for all things animal, he gladly obliged my wish.  When we arrived, these two pregnant ladies were the first we saw.  They were getting in a good scratch on the deck railings and lattice work.

We then stepped into one of the corrals where we found Kathy Dean, the founder and CEO of Longhopes.  She and one of the volunteers, Karen, graciously welcomed us and began telling us a bit about the donkeys and their histories.  I was in heaven the minute I stepped through that gate.

There were donkeys everywhere.  They currently have 39 residents and every single one is well-loved and well cared for.  Some of them were former family pets, some were livestock guardians no longer needed, and many had been saved at the eleventh hour from the meat auction block.  You can see in their eyes just how grateful they are to be at Longhopes.

There were a couple of yearlings in the bunch.  This one, named Angel, really took a liking to Neal.  She was so fuzzy-looking and reminded me of an alpaca.

 Look at that wooly head!

Some of the most recent additions were rescued from a meat auction and they were pretty wary of humans.  Neal and I worked our magic on these two, named Spirit and Ghost, and were able to get in a few pets.  One of them even drooled while I petted him!

And this little guy is Nestle.  He was having the best time dust-bathing and snoozing in the sun.

Just look at that adorable face!

 Hector was an owner-surrender.  He used to guard sheep and when the owner sold all of his sheep due to the economy, Hector lost his job.  The owner had reported that Hector was wild and could not be handled.  He suggested to Kathy that he should be sedated to load in the trailer.  However, when Kathy arrived to pick up Hector, he voluntarily jumped up in the trailer and said, "let's go!".  He looks really wild and unruly, doesn't he?

Everywhere we went, a donkey or two was sure to follow.

Karen taught us how to give a donkey ear massage...

which produces an extreme sense of relaxation resulting in the donkey pouty lip...

In addition to donkeys, there were cats and dogs, so I was really in my element.  One of the barn cats, Kiki, was not at all afraid of the donkeys and would strut in and out of the corrals.  This picture is for Linda at The 7MSN Ranch

We had a great time at Longhopes Sanctuary and it was so hard to leave without any donkeys, but Kathy assured me when the time was right she would help us pick out the perfect companions for our little ranch.  In the meantime, I did leave with lots of literature and a book that should keep me occupied for a while.

And that, my friends, is how a wanna-be country girl spends her birthday!


rene said...

Lilla!!! Happy Birthday!!!! Hey how come I didn't see that on Facebook? What date was it? Last Saturday????

Looks like a really fun day, how neat!

Many wishes for a great year ahead.

Lilla said...

Hey Rene...my birthday was the 19th. It was on Facebook. No worries. It WAS a really fun day.

cousin Arnetta said...

I'm glad to know what a fun time you had on your B'day... The donkeys do have such funny and lovable expressions...
yep, you were in 'hog' heaven, NO, 'donkey' heaven,
for sure !!!
Neal seems to have as much fun with the animals as you do :-)

Anonymous said...

Awww! I'm offically in love with Nestle. And Ellsworth is a champion at the pouty lip. If you scratch him in just the right place, his bottom lip'll eventually almost hit the ground. :) I'm sorry I missed your bday on FB as well. :( Happy Birthday! I can't think of a better way to spend it! You're going to LOVE that book. :)

Lilla said...

Arnetta...yep, I was in donkey heaven! I'm pretty sure my parents are out there in the universe shaking their heads and laughing hysterically!

Justina...Nestle was a cutie pie, but I didn't get to pet him. He was one that was pretty timid. So, I admired him from a distance and snapped photo after photo! Aren't those pouty lips precious? Thanks for the birthday wishes.

AJ-OAKS said...

Happy belated birthday!! Wow, what a great birthday you had! Being surrounded by all those wonderful longears! I have gone to Longhopes website several times and have been impressed by it. Now I am more impressed since you have seen it with your own eyes and give it a two thumbs up.
Loved all the pics.

the7msn said...

What is it with black cats and donkeys?

My heart belongs to Angel with the wooly head...though it looks like she may be spoken for by Neal. Actually every single one of them makes me swoon. Please take Neal there on his birthday so we can get updates on all of them.

Razzberry Corner said...

I love all the donkeys! I especially live the pouty lip ear scratch technique!

Happy Birthday!

JOE and JANE said...

That looks pretty awesome!

Tina said...

Donkeys are the greatest! Happy belated birthday. :)

Lilla said...

AJ-OAKS...thanks for the birthday wishes! Longhopes is a wonderful place and Kathy Dean is awesome! I am so glad we got to go visit.

Linda...I immediately thought of you when I saw the black cat! They actually had two black cats and they were both very relaxed around the donkeys. Angel was a cutie, but I think we've decided to give a home to older donkeys when the time comes. Don't know if we can wait until Neal's birthday to go back...it's not until December!

Lynn...those pouty lips were just too adorable. They looked so relaxed when they got their ears rubbed...I kept waiting for one of them to fall over! Thanks for the birthday wishes.

Jane and Joe...awesome doesn't even begin to describe it!

Tina...thanks for stopping by and commenting. Donkeys ARE the greatest! Thanks for the birthday wishes.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Oh Lilla - you got to go! I'm so happy for you. I remember us talking about this on the phone. I so wish I lived closer to LongHopes - I've read so many great things about it.
Heyyyy, I got that book 2 Christmases ago - there are some great donkey treat recipes in there that you could have fun making for your next visit to Long Hopes! :-)
All those sweet donkey faces. sigh.
Looks like you had awesome weather, too. What a perfect way to spend your birthday.

Lilla said...

Danni...yep, what a great birthday treat for me, and what a fabulous place! I've already spotted those donkey cookie recipes in the book and can't wait to try them out...one day!