Josie joins the Brewer family

By Becky Brewer

A few months ago, I got a donkey from our friends, who have a goat farm. I’ve always liked donkeys. They are so cute with their long ears, small stature, and furry body.

When I was a little girl, my family went to Grant’s Farm in St. Louis. My dad saw how much I enjoyed petting the donkeys that were there. 

On the trip home, he said he wanted to get me one. Dad spoke about it several times throughout my childhood, but a time and place for a donkey never worked out.

I finally got a donkey at age 62. My dad passed way a few years ago, but my husband fulfilled my dad’s promise. 

I renamed the donkey, Josie. Dad’s name was Joe, so Josie is named in his memory.

We have cattle on our farm and Josie earned her keep that first morning. She chased two coyotes out of our big field,

away from the baby calves.  

My husband witnessed the whole scene. He said the coyotes ran like the devil was after them! 

Donkeys will kick predators, even standing on their hind legs and striking with their front hooves.

Josie also uses those big ears to hear something that may enter the property. She gives a warning — “hee haw” — if she suspects danger.  
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Josie also stares in the direction of anything suspicious. She is better than a watchdog.

Dogs are not welcome around her. Our three little house dogs are not a threat to the cattle, yet she doesn’t want them around.

So, a word of advice, don’t trust a donkey around dogs because to them, they resemble a coyote, fox, or some type of predator.

Josie is a descendant of the Amiatina donkey breed from Tuscany in central Italy. She bears the dark cross down the back and across the shoulders.

There is Christian and religious references to the donkey and how the donkey bears the cross.

The donkey, or ass, has been mentioned in many storybooks and the Bible. They have been used as working animals for at least 5,000 years.  

They are loyal and hard-working, but well-known for being stubborn. They can get mean or unpredictable, but definitely not stupid.  

I will enjoy getting to know more about my donkey. We are thinking about getting Josie a friend.  

My dad would be glad that I finally got a furry long-eared friend.

(Becky Brewer can be reached by email at

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