Dennis is the proud owner of three Poitou donkeys. A Poitou donkey is one of the largest donkey breeds out there. The breed was being used for the production of mules throughout Europe in the 19th and 20th century. Because of increasing mechanisation there was a strong decline for the need for these wonderful animals. In the 70’s there were only tens left in the world. In the years following conservation efforts began and within 30 years there were around 450 Poitou donkeys (which has now slightly dropped).
Dennis bought his first Poitou donkey about 5 years ago with his girlfriend Sandy, and named it Pepito. Three years later they bought two more Poitou donkeys and named those Joey and Igor. They were already three years old meaning that all three donkeys are the same age. They took them for a walk around the area every week and stopped at a bar to drink chocolate milk. The donkeys would wait outside for them to return. They were very friendly and well known by villagers.
One day, Dennis and Sandy went to a donkey meeting nearby in a big tent. They chatted with other attendees and one of those attendees told them a story about traveling to Santiago de Compostella with his donkey and how much impact this had on his life. This inspired the couple a lot and they got excited. Being an adventurous couple and travel enthusiasts, they started thinking about taking their donkeys on a trip they would never forget.
Putting the plan together, Dennis and Sandy figured they needed to prepare their donkeys for the trip of their life. They had to figure out where to go to, train with the donkeys and buy the required materials. They decided to travel to the beautiful Vosges area in the East of France and bought a trailer since they were traveling by car. Training with the donkeys began. The process took months and during the process they learned there was only one donkey fit to make this journey. Pepito turned out to be a donkey that tried really hard but simply dares nothing. Joey on the other hand turned out to be a donkey that walks at the same pace, all the time. He likes to follow them around but would never take an initiative or walk at the front of the group. Igor turned out to be very brave and not afraid to work hard. Next to that he was the only donkey that was not afraid to stand and drive around in a trailer. He’s the perfect match.
Traveling with a donkey in the Vosges was a whole new experience. Time flew by, completely forgetting about the regular busy daily life. There were no duties, everything they did was because they wanted to do it. The surrounding was very quiet, and during diner there was a lot of time for a good conversation with each-other. They were stepping back in time where they had to adjust themselves to the pace of this beautiful animal, instead of the production speed of the machines. It was a life changing experience and they have learned a lot from each-other.
The trip was amazing and they all had a lot of fun. Igor went on the trip being a boy and returned as a man that conquered storms. While talking with Dennis about the trip we can see how proud he is of Igor, and what a great time he had with Sandy. While people around them told them that they would be crazy and it would not be possible to make a trip like this with a donkey, they did it anyway. And what a trip it was.
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