Nellie the Donkey1 came to live with my children and myself for 6 months of her life. We never knew how old she was nor the kind of life she had lived before we met her.
I was lucky in that I was able to raise my three children on a smallholding2 in the county of Northumberland3, England UK
It was hard work, but so rewarding at times.
There was always a menagerie of animal or birds. One such friend was Nellie.
Nellie was a donkey of unknown age and was looking for a home from a neighbour who could no longer keep her.
I first met Nellie and her donkey companion, Hector, when I visited an old friend, Dave.
Dave used to be a tenant farmer on land which was owned by Mrs Longsfale, a local MP and serial committee member on more board’s than actually, she could handle. But she loved the fame and the “busy, busy” life of a country landowner, charity volunteer and local MP.
Dave now lived in the lodge on Mrs Longsfale’s estate, so she wasn’t all that bad. Actually, she was quite nice and suggested I take Nellie as Hector had died and Nellie was unhappy living life on her own with our the friendship of others.
I’m a sucker to the distressed and homeless existence of animals. Having the space on the holding I was always asked if I could rehome something or other. However, other people’s children during the holiday season was where I could say No.
Dandy, a wee spark off a Shetland Pony, only had Gemima a cantankerous goose who fell out of the sky as a fluffy yellow chick, several chickens, two goats (Buttercup Kate and Alouetta) and Moulder, the sheep to keep him company, so he was certainly was up for equine pal.
So along came Nellie to the Inglis household, and what a character she was, giving us so much joy, laughter, enjoyment and companionship!
If we left the house door open, which was most of the time with three children running constantly in and out, Nellie would be in! An open door to Nellie was an invitation to investigate the kitchen cupboards. Check out the children’s bedrooms and best of all, spillage the waste bin looking for goodies.
She would visit the children in their bedrooms as they were doing their homework with their windows open allowing Nellie to pop her nose onto the windowsill.
The children would climb on her back, with a donkey saddle initially and a head halter only and trot around the fields nearby. Because the saddle kept slipping and ending under Nellie’s tummy, this was ditched and the children rode Nellie workout any gear.
It was all such fun and a wondrous learning for us all.
Our first encounter with the local vet was six months after Nellie came to us.
One day when we went into the stable, Nellie was laying flat in the straw. She didn’t want to get up or eat any sweet-smelling offerings we tempted her with.
Eventual the vet was summoned and informed us that Nellie had an infestation of worms within her system which could not be rectified. These had damaged her organs, including her lungs.
There was nothing we could do but allow Nellie to make her transition to the heavenly place in the sky.
I believe we were given the opportunity for Nellie to be part of our family, even for such a short time, to feel a love that is bottomless and all encompassing to life itself. Nellie’s character was not of the animal sort. Nellie, I’m sure was an angel4 in earthly disguise. A visit from an angelic being, they are all around us.
We are sometimes given the opportunity to experience and rekindle our roots to the true beings we are.
She certainly did that!