Driving onto our property one evening, I caught sight of an unlikely trio. Our standard donkey Daphne was grazing with Ollie, a miniature donkey, and Pru, our short-haired black sheep.
As different as the animals look, they have become their own special herd. It’s no longer a surprise to see them together out in a field throughout the day. Daphne and Ollie are always within sight of one another. Pru sometimes visits with the pigs or lies down near the livestock pens, but most of the time she can be found with her two grazing buddies.
Daphne has been on our farm the longest. She and Ruth (who passed away last December) came to us at the beginning of 2020 to act as livestock guardians for our first two Kunekune pigs. The donkeys became a favorite of guests, walking over to their tents to say hello and maybe get a few tasty treats.
Fast forward two years and we had a young Jack (male donkey) named Ollie. He was sweet and curious. Daphne began acting as his surrogate mom, watching over him while he napped and never straying far from him. Since then, Ollie has come out of his shell and is one of the friendliest animals on our farm.
Pru joined us early in 2022 and let us know early on she did not want to be fenced in. We realized she was happier just being out on the property with the other animals. She never strayed onto neighboring property, and even began greeting us like a dog when we pulled through the gates. Since she’s a grazing animal, she eventually began hanging out with the donkeys.
I love seeing the three of them together. The way they’ve accepted one another and want to be in close proximity is such a picture to me of the importance of spending time with people who are different from ourselves. Having friends who look different, have different interests and hobbies, different occupations and different viewpoints adds such texture to our lives. Despite our differences, we have much in common. We can serve on local boards and committees alongside each other. We can break bread together and experience community around the table. We can care for one another in times of crisis and celebrate in times of joy.
Maybe it’s time we take a look around at those we spend time with. Do our friends look, act and think just like us? Or are we brave enough to venture out of what feels comfortable and embrace some of the most rewarding experiences and dearest friends we’ll ever have?
This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the August 13, 2022 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.