Donkeys and Humans
People keep donkeys for a wide range of reasons.
Some are used to protect herds of cattle or goats. Once a donkey has bonded with a herd it will protect them against canine predators (foxes, dogs, coyote) as it would one of its own. It beds down with the animals at night and on hearing any strange noises will voice a warning to the herd and chase, often trampling, the predator.
Donkeys are also often kept as stable companions for horses. The donkey seems to have a calming effect on horses. It can be introduced to a mare and foal and on separation from its mother the foal looks to the donkey for support. In a similar way a donkey can be an excellent field or stable companion to a nervous horse.
The donkey is also widely used in assisted riding and learning programmes, especially for the disabled, due to its affectionate and kind, patient nature.
There are very few working donkeys in Britain today, however, in many developing countries a donkey is a person’s most prized possession being used to pull loads and carts and to work mills and wells.