By ANDY PORTER of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
This is a story about a surprise package that turned into a pair of much-loved “pasture ornaments.”
Their names are Bambi and Pebbles, they are spotted donkeys and their tale started about two years ago with a 6 a.m. phone call, said Dixie Aichele.
Aichele, her husband, Gary, and their daughters, Nicole and Tiffany, live in a country home just east of Walla Walla. They had no intention of acquiring a pair of spotted donkeys until the aforementioned early morning call came.
As Dixie recounted, it was from a commercial horse hauler stating they were delivering two spotted donkeys to the Aichele’s home that afternoon.
“My husband … told them we knew nothing about any spotted donkeys and that they had the wrong number! They said they would call back,” Dixie said.
A short time later the horse haulers were back on the line and this time they mentioned the name of acquaintances from Virginia who were having the donkeys shipped to the Aicheles for safekeeping while said acquaintances moved to Alaska.
But what was supposed to be a temporary board has turned into a permanent stay, Dixie said. “The long and short of it is they came to our house two years ago and have never left.”
Along with being “pasture ornaments” that draw the attention of passersby (because they are “so-o-o-o-o cute!”) Bambi and Pebbles have been dressed up for Halloween celebrations, greeted kids at the Walla Walla downtown Saturday market with the Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days court and greeted kids at FFA events.
The diminutive donkeys, both females, have fit in well with the numerous other pets and farm animals on the Aichele homestead. These include two dogs, two cats, two mules, nine horses and four sheep.
And although they are the same age, 4 years old, both have dramatically different personalities, Dixie said.
“Pebbles is a guard donkey and likes to chase dogs that enter her ‘zone’ and Bambi is shy and timid,” she said. “They are never apart and we will never part with them. They are a team.”
Andy Porter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-3300, ext. 282. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.