Stormy Rose was born Sept. 13, 2008. We’d already settled on “Rose” or “Rosie” as the name if the new arrival was female, but that was the day Hurricane Ike hit the South Texas coast, and the addition seemed appropriate. The day was warm and humid, cloudy, with winds from the southeast. Her mama delivered her in the middle of the paddock, and she was small enough (and cooperative enough) for me to pick her up and carry her to the covered stall, where she and mama lived for a month or so, until she was strong enough to hold her own in the company of the other critters.

Rosie the Donkey

Rosie, with mama hidden behind

She’s been a good citizen of the paddocks, though she doesn’t like a couple of people and has been known to kick, not viciously but enough to emphasize that she didn’t care for the treatment she was getting. We’ve handled her regularly since Day 1, so although she isn’t trained she responds well, comes when called, and readily suffers the little kids to ride on her back as somebody else leads her.

Unfortunately the carrying capacity of this habitat is strained at best, plus the fact that her daddy is becoming incestuously interested. Animals don’t know or care much about genetics, and their genes are well enough mixed that breeding daughters to fathers and mothers to sons is common, so really it’s a matter of fastidiousness by the owners. The real problem, though, is that with two other donkeys, six horses, a cow, and uncounted barn cats around the place, she isn’t getting the attention she deserves. I decided she needed a new home, and it didn’t take long to find someone who was delighted with both her coloring (which is somewhat unusual) and her manners, needed a companion for the foal they were raising, and seemed like good people who would treat her right.

She’ll be off to her new family sometime this weekend. That’s mixed emotions for me. I am continually surprised by how well I like and get along with the horses, but the donkeys have never been my favorites — not that I can’t handle them well enough, simply that I don’t care about them as much as I do their larger compatriots. It was my wife who delighted in them, and I always wanted her to have things that would make her happy, but since the stroke she can’t leave the nursing home, much less get out and about with the critters, and I’m gradually tapering off the animal collection. Still, though, any critter you’ve held in your arms as a baby has an emotional impact, and I can’t be totally indifferent to that.

Baby Stormy Rose

When She Was a Baby

Goodbye, Rosie. You’ll have more and better grass in your new home, and fewer others to compete with for your owners’ attentions. I’ll watch the trailer leave, glad for your improving fortunes and sad for the gradual diminution of my own.