PRESCOTT – Carol Heintz’s longtime dream of owning a donkey led her and her husband, George, to buy two miniature donkeys that they cherish as pets and enjoy training for donkey shows.
“I wanted donkeys from the time I was young,” Carol said, adding that she grew up in Barberton, Ohio. “My family used to go to Clay Park for picnics and family reunions. In this pasture was a herd of donkeys, all brownish gray and very fuzzy. I would spend hours sitting on the wood fence, reaching over to pet each and every one of them.”
She added that “we always lived in the city, so I never could own a donkey.” But “I knew the day would come when I would someday own my very own donkeys.”
Carol and George, who own Hidden Acres Bed and Breakfast in Prescott, have plenty of land to keep donkeys, and they finally got two of the animals after searching long and hard.
Carol said they visited several donkey owners and breeders in different states, and found a miniature donkey that they would take home.
They found their second miniature donkey about six months later and, this past December, both donkeys – Paulee Anna (spotted) and Brayonna (dark brown) – joined their family.
“We’ve never seen a miniature donkey we didn’t like,” George said. “They’re all beautiful.”
George said they spend time with their donkeys almost every day, taking long walks along the creeks and boulders near their home “to expose them to many different situations and conditions.”
Both of the Heintz’s donkeys are about 30 inches tall, which qualifies them to compete in miniature donkey shows.
“They’re just little guys that get to play with the leprechauns all day long,” George joked.
He and Carol said they work with the donkey’s daily, training them to do different tricks, such as jumping over logs, carrying packs on their backs and pulling carts. They said that as the donkeys get older, they will be able to teach them more tricks.
The couple recently returned from a donkey show in California, where Paulee Ann took fourth place in halter and third place in the spotted donkey category. Carol said judges look for donkeys who have “nice, square bodies, good, straight legs and are a good replica of regular-sized donkeys.”
Carol said they enjoy training their donkeys, even though it is not always easy.
“People think that donkeys are stubborn and dumb, but really they’re smart, because they keep themselves away from danger,” she said.
Donkeys are often afraid of some things, such as certain kinds of flowers, cows and manholes, Carol said, so they stay away from them and thus appear to people to be stubborn.
“They’re brilliant little girls,” George said, and Carol added that “if they trust you, they’ll normally do (tricks) for you.”
“Half of the fun is bringing yourself to their intelligence level and trying to figure them out,” George said.
Donkey show promoters intentionally place items that might typically scare donkeys into the trials so judges can see how they react in frightening situations.
George and Carol said they enjoy every minute they spend with their donkeys, and they welcome anyone interested in learning more about owning a donkey to join the local tri-city donkey club called Longear Lovers.
Anyone interested can call Pam Boufford at 636-6768 or e-mail pam@
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