Latte, We Hardly Knew Ye....


Today, it was my painful duty to end Latte’s pain.  For the past 48 hours, and possibly more as donkeys hide pain, she’d been struggling with a twisted gut.  We did all that we could do, but to no avail.  As so often happens, all I could do is make her end, and the end of her pain, quick. I don’t know what I, or her husband Diablo and son Sancho, will do without our little leader....

Dear Latte only had about 10 months here.  She spent the first 4 months or so teaching me a healthy respect for her Houdini ways.  Despite assurances from my donkey owning friends, Latte found dozens of ways to get through my fences, and go walk-about through the brush, up the roads, to various neighbors to say hi... all with her bemused boys in tow.  I came out morning after morning to find them gone, and a little set of tiny footprints headed away from the property, in every possible direction.  I found myself emulating Dan’l Boone as I followed those tiny hoofprints up hill and down dale, as Latte explored everywhere.  And then when I found them, Latte would kindly hold still for a halter, and follow me meekly home, to get breakfast.  Always a little glint in her eye .... Ha!  Human!  Good work finding us!  And as they ate, I found and fixed yet another gap in the fencing - sometimes so small that if I hadn’t found her prints on the other side of the fence, or seen her do it a couple of times, I’d never have believed she, let alone the larger boys, could get thru it!  


After so many repeats of that morning routine that I was starting to be really hurt - what, didn’t they like it here? - I finally spent a buncha $$ and a couple of days, leaving Latte locked in the donkey pipe corral stall, and did donkey-proofing all around.  And I swear, when I let her loose, I truly believe that she traveled every inch of the outer fencing, checking my work! And looked at me with genuine respect - Ha! Human! Good work!  Ok, we’ll stay. - The little dictator. It meant a lot to me that I had her respect, how odd is that?

 She was very people friendly, and visitors couldn't resist her.

Although tiny, Latte was mighty - the boys never questioned her, and always did what SHE wanted.  She didn’t like the horses - too many, too big, too fast.  She could put on some real speed when she wanted, but seldom wanted to. 


So each morning, she brought her boys to their stall so they could munch down a flake of grass hay in stress-free privacy, and I’d let them out after an hour or so, whereupon she led the boys to the main stall line, to see what stalls they could get into, or to hang out in the memorial area.  The boys irritated her sometimes, so in her time here, about 4-5 times I put her in that pipe corral stall again and let her spend a day, or a night, by herself. And the boys hovered nearby. Without her, they were lost, with no idea what to do.


She was a tiny, delicate, gentle donkey. Shy and retiring, but strong for her family. I thought she’d be here for another decade at least.  But only 10 months did we have the privilege of her company.  I can’t tell you how much I miss her already, and my heart is breaking to hear the boys call for her.  Dear Latte, we are incomplete without you.