Archive for March 13th, 2009

Louis the Donkey


Louie’s arrival came as a surprise… to me, anyway. He was acquired by Ponygirl in her last year of high school. She picked him up from a farm with the help of a girlfriend who had the use of a van. They took the back seats out, and loaded the donkey, where he stood looking forward between the passenger and driver’s seats. On the way home, they went through a Tim’s drive-through and, with their coffee, received a carrot for the donkey! That was eight years ago, and Louis has been a much-loved part of the family ever since.

He came with the name Munchkin. I hate that word. First of all, much of The Wizard of Oz creeps me out, including the munchkins. Secondly, my ex-step-mother-in-law used to call my kids munchkins when they were young. I hated that. Others were less dismayed by his name, so it was left to me to please myself. I settled on a character from my childhood as the source of his new name: Quick Draw McGraw’s deputy sidekick, Baba Looey. You have to be “a certain age” to remember Quick Draw, since he debuted in 1959. Thanks to the magic of Youtube, though, you can still watch Quick Draw. In that cartoon, Quick Draw does actually refer to his buddy as Louis.


Donkeys are related to horses, of course, but they have very different personalities. Donkeys are mostly easy-going, curious critters who take life as it comes. They are often used as “watchdogs” to guard horses or cattle because they are bold and don’t take kindly to intruders. While horses may run from a dog or coyote, a donkey will challenge the canine and chase it out of the field. Louie grows a thick, shaggy winter coat that protects him well. It takes a long time to shed in the spring, and it is mid-summer before he has acquired his more svelte, short-coated persona. One of the most amazing things about Louie and his donkey kin is something you can’t see. It’s his voice. When Louie brays, the uninitiated could be forgiven for concluding that the animal is choking to death as he opens his mouth and loud, stuttering gasps burst forth. Sweetly sings the donkey!

Louie with Fiddlegirl, Summer 2008.

Louie with Fiddlegirl, Summer 2008.

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