Friday, July 1, 2011

Lucky Little Donkey

How would you like a donkey named after you?

In a corner of a historic park in Victoria, BC, a jenny proudly shows-off her new baby.

What’s a jenny, you ask? Well, a female donkey, of course!

The Beacon Hill Park Petting zoo attracts thousands yearly, and these days are no different. Taffy, the miniature donkey, was all set to give birth in July. But as Mother Nature would have the final say, the baby - or foal - decided to make her way into the world a month and a half early. On May 25, 2011, Jeneece the miniature donkey was born.

The Beacon Hill Petting Zoo staff aptly named the baby after Jeneece Edroff, the 16-year-old dynamo who has raised over a million dollars for the Variety Children’s Charity (, all while keeping up with her studies at Claremont Secondary School. As a three-year-old she was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis – tumour growth on nerve tissues. As a thriving young adult, her medical challenges have spurned her volunteer work, earning her the Order of British Columbia. Find out more about this amazing girl and her work at

Jeneece, the girl, is honoured and thrilled to have this miniature donkey named after her, and I suspect if the donkey knew, she would be just as honoured to be named after such an inspirational kid.

Lucky little donkey.

Typical baby miniature donkeys weigh about 20 – 30 lbs, growing to weigh between 200 – 350 lbs at full ‘miniature’ size. That’s a lot of donkey, even for a ‘mini.’

And poor old mom carried baby around for upwards of 13-14 months before the big day. Ick. And I thought 9 months carrying around my own two little foals was bad enough.

The myth that donkeys are stupid is simply…a myth. They are self-preserving animals who know better than to put themselves in harm’s way. Stubborn, yet always craving attention, these underestimated herders hate being alone. They are happiest - when not getting unlimited attention from their owners, that is - in a pasture guarding sheep, goats, llamas, cats and dogs. Loyal and friendly, miniature donkeys make terrific pets, and given their potential 30-year lifespan, they make perfect lifelong companions.

Just don’t expect one to curl up at the foot of your bed.

Though curious by nature, Jeneece the donkey has remained close by her mother’s side. This particular sunny day when I all but climbed over the fence to cuddle her, she was a month and a day old. My shiny pink camera must have caught her attention, however, as the fuzzy foal inched her way towards me.

Step, step. Stop. Step, step. Stop.

She then gave up and figured she was better off with mom.

I don’t blame her, what with me and my paparazzi tendencies.

As donkey and girl sharing the same name grow in their own little worlds, one thing I knew for sure as I watched the little foal stumble her way back to mom; she was going to grow to be brave and as tireless as her namesake.

The BC Neurofibromatosis Foundation (

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