Donkeys-For-Good: Meet Esau

To raise awareness about our Asinotherapy Program at Latham, we’ve launched this entertaining and informative blog series featuring our six miniature donkeys: Esther, Esau, Moonbeam, Curley, Angus, and Jake. Be sure to check in regularly to learn about the donkeys and the important role they play at Latham Centers.

Blog readers may remember Esau from last week’s ‘Meet the Donkeys’ post featuring Esther, Latham’s only female donkey and Esau’s longtime sweetheart. Also from Maine, Esau is known to be stalwart and a bit stubborn. Esau is proud to be a steadfast and loyal member of the herd, but he would like to dispel the common myth that donkeys are stubborn:

“People like to say, ‘stubborn as a donkey’. I have heard this expression more times than I care to remember. I am often described as stubborn, a description that I find unfair and inaccurate. There is a growing movement among donkeys and mules to refuse to accept this portrayal and to educate the public on our true nature. We are not stubborn. We are cautious.

People assume that because we look like horses, we behave like horses. Well, we are not horses. We have rich ancestral traditions and experiences that have shaped us and influenced our behavior. We donkeys are natural protectors. You may be surprised to learn that even miniature donkeys like those of us at Latham would kill a coyote if it threatened the herd. Our big ears are on constant alert and anything that is unfamiliar or possibly threatening stops us in our tracks – literally. If the path is covered in snow, I prefer it to be shoveled. If there is a flapping plastic bag in the paddock, I will stand still until I know that it is not dangerous. This habit of stopping and thinking rather than running and bolting has served us well for generations. It also makes us safer and more reliable to ride than horses. Horses will bolt when frightened. Donkeys stop and think.

All of this has informed my work as a Latham therapy donkey. The children and adults at Latham Centers often feel unfairly defined by their behaviors. Many of the coping mechanisms that they have developed are all about feeling safe or protecting themselves from a perceived threat. Donkeys get that on a very deep, instinctual level and it helps us to understand each other.”

We could not help asking about Esau’s relationship with Esther. They have been together for seven years. “Esau, everyone at Latham is curious to know if there might be a ring in Esther’s future.” He replied, “I am the measured and steady suitor of the most beautiful, daring donkey I have ever known. I will follow Esther anywhere, including down the aisle. I am also learning how to get down on one knee. It is one of my new tricks.”

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