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A poetic tribute to Mouse the donkey

The Donkey Sanctuary adopted a donkey named Mouse.

He was so adorable that they put his photo on pillows, duvets and even
backpacks!
When people bought these items the money went back into one of the
 ‘donkey piggy banks’ that the shop sold
 so that other donkeys could be rescued.
Mouse did not know how special he was.
This is a story of how he might have finally found his home…again.
His job was to guard the sheep on a farm in Sidmouth Devon
in the United Kingdom. He knew that guarding a Kingdom was very important
so he never complained about the weather.
He loved the adorable sheep and kept watch over his flock by day and night,
chasing off any intruders.
Mouse did, however, miss having a friend.
He knew, because the Aves had told him,
that there were other donkeys nearby at a Donkey Sanctuary that had buddies.
 (Aves flew – and knew more about what happened further afield.)
 Mouse longed for a buddy too.
One gusty night the farmer rounded up the sheep.
He asked Mouse to lead them into the large barn
 where there were troughs for hay and water
 and straw strewn on the floor.
Mouse was proud of the sheep for being so obedient as they all tucked in.
That night after he counted the sheep, he got some much needed sleep.
When he heard the rooster crow the golden ball lifted up the sky,
he opened his eyes to meet the most adorable little critter…with tiny
ears that stuck up just like his, a tail much smaller and less furry than his,
but a face in the same shape as his – with wide eyes and a soft brown coat like his!
This must be my ‘little buddy’ thought Mouse.
They became the best of friends and shared many adventures in the barn
and in the pasture. Turns out, little buddy’s name was Fielding Mouse, so they
must have been related!
One night while Mouse and Fielding slept
a barn owl sang this song –
~~Barn Owl’s Tribute~~
There, there burden bearer,
For thousands of years you’ve been faithful to mankind –
their ‘beasts of burdens’ –
heavy laden – forced to make the climbs
along the jagged mountain paths and into depths of mines.
Jacks/Jennys pull their weight in mills – thrash the threshing floors.
Asses/Donkeys carry water- transport soldiers’ stores.
You are even forced to haul explosives to front lines into wars –
but the gift you share – surmounts all else –
is when a child adores
 your soft kind face – huge floppy ears
 and gets to ride/explore.
Whether born a ZonkeyPoitou, Mule, Burro or a Hinny,
the contributions you have given mother earth are many!
We Aves and colleagues from your fields would like to
thank you now
for watching over us and for pulling heavy ploughs.
No farmers can pay tribute, nor thirsty family say
how good it is that you press on – guarding sheep another day.
You really should be treated by all humans with respect –
not skinned for people’s pallets – an atrocity – regret.
Ejiao and the flesh from you haunts all humanity –
last 10 years – 8 million slaughtered – in just one country.
Take heart, heavens are watching
and the earth is spewing forth
the arrogance and selfishness that
brings such sad reports.
You began your trials on trails 5,000 years ago.
Creation will never forget how you have served Her so.
When men are worn out, vision blurred, your braying
will bring hope.
Balaam’s Donkey saw an angel
in the road…
and then he spoke.
Even after being beaten
he submitted to the rope.
This is your great devotion – the very highest kind –
so trust your kinsman of the fields
 to leave not one behind.
~~Higher Ground~~
Mouse awoke as the farmer drove up in his large white truck that he sometimes
put the sheep into. He did not remember the song that the barn owl had sung
but his buddy Fielding did. He recalled every word.
Mouse was called immediately and instructed by the farmer to assist him in
moving the sheep into the truck.
This was a bit unexpected but Mouse was very useful in keeping ewes and lambs
together while marching up the ramp.
The farmer’s wellies were very muddy and the ground seemed to grip Mouse’s legs
as he walked. Fielding crawled up onto a trough and watched from the barn door.
The skies had sprung a leak again and the water had made itself too large for the land
(Mouse thought)…he knew that the sheep needed to get to higher ground.
As they drove away Fielding Mouse and the Donkey named Mouse felt alone, but brave.
Usually the farmer would come back for Mouse and settle him with the sheep.
Not today.
~~On our own~~
No fields to furrow
the crops are gone
washed away like the Barn Owl’s song.
No sheep to guard, no trespassers will
be bothering now…the farm stands still.
But Mouse has Fielding and Fielding has Mouse
(and many other animals from the farmhouse)
to keep spirits high and intruders at bay.
They just need the farmer and his family to stay.
~~The Farmer’s Friend~~
Several days later the farmer came again with another man’s large truck.
Mouse ran out to greet him and this time,
he heard and understood every word spoken.
‘I’ve sold the sheep, barn and house’ said the farmer
‘but I want to leave the (all-be-it soggy) field to you
in the hopes that the Donkey Sanctuary can use the pasture
one day when the flooding abates.
The children came down from the farmhouse to say goodbye to Mouse.
They took one last ride on his soft back and tickled his ears.
Mouse did not mind at all.
The farmer’s face was wet as he thanked Mouse ‘for your service all these years.’
The farmer’s wife kissed his warm nose and laughed when Mouse gave her
a grin with raised lips and a gentle bray.
The farmer’s friend stroked Mouse and said
‘there, there burden bearer,
you were an adorable foal when you were born at the Donkey Sanctuary!!
Your mother Jenny and so many others are waiting for you. Welcome back.
We could use a few good men like you.’
Mouse was overjoyed that although he could not remember being so young,
his mother Jenny was still waiting there for him!!!
~~Back Home Again~
Fielding hid in the farmer’s friend’s truck and went with Mouse.
Soon after arriving and getting used to so much noise, he found a
quiet place to nestle…oops! Someone else had also claimed this spot
and she looked just like Fielding. Now Fielding had two buddies too!!
As for Mouse, when he approached the gates of the Sanctuary –
he recognized someone that he had loved so long ago…his Jenny!
Then he heard the beautiful braying songs from creation’s burden bearers.
They continue to ring out like bells on Christmas Day in Sidmouth Devon.
S. Houston
dedicated to our Donkey Amos
faithful guardian of Jacob’s sheep
‘Our Farm’ Alberta, Canada 1997

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