It warms our hearts to see how the jenny “Mocha” (dark one in the background) has taken up the role of surrogate mom to lil orphan Nestle. As those of you who are friends of the sanctuary know, Nestle lost his mom BonBon a while back and we decided to keep him in the dry lot with the jennies Mocha and Callie.
Here, Mocha does some mutual grooming with the John donkey Nestle. Note how they start with the haunches and then switch sides later to take on each others’ withers and necks. They are very systematic and methodical when they groom one another.
Meanwhile, Callie watches as the proceedings are being filmed. We are surprised they didn’t start braying and crying like crazy because it was about feeding time. Very rare that they don’t put up a big fuss when they see a meal coming!
Mocha is not the only one who watches after Nestle. Callie is also very kind to him although she does assert authority as the matriarch of the herd when he tries to horn in on her food. All it takes is a head nod for him to take the hint and back off. Donkeys are deferential to whomever is in charge of the herd. When all of the donkeys are together, such as when it’s time for hoof trims, it is clear that Callie is the leader. At those times, even though Jules runs the John donkey herd, he abdicates control to her.