That Girl’s Blog: Donkeys and Unicorns

“Grace” and “Harvey”

In difficult times it’s important to take care of yourself. Eat right, get enough sleep, and laugh as much as possible. If you can’t laugh, at least find ways to make yourself smile. If you aren’t happy with what you are doing, find something new to do.

I have given this advice to friends again and again, but it’s been a long time since I took my own advice and tried something new. It’s easy to fall into routines. Sometimes you just need to shake off the dust and cobwebs so you can get back on track.

A few weeks ago, I saw a facebook post with a picture of the saddest looking creature I had ever seen… It was a donkey. Her coat was a mess and she was just standing there in a stall. I am really not sure what drew my attention, but I clicked on the picture and read the following message: 

Here is a picture of Grace. She will be coming to our rescue next week. Grace will need lots of calm, quiet attention. Pm me if you would like to volunteer to sit with her and help her out. We hear she will need work with leading and being touched as well as lots of resting after her scary journey through auction.


Photo from Mills River Rescue

Again, not sure what I was thinking at the time, but I sent a message to the page, which turned out to be an animal rescue farm right here on Cape Cod. I introduced myself and offered to come by and read books to Grace and try to help her get accustomed to human voices.

I would like you to know that I have very little farm experience and I do not recall ever crossing paths with a donkey. But, I decided it would be a chance for me to try something new and maybe help transition this creature from what looked like a life of neglect into something better.

A week later, I was getting a tour of a peaceful little equine farm… and by little, I mean there were several mini ponies, a few horses, ducks, chickens, the owner’s pet donkey, Marilyn. In a few days “Grace” would arrive, and no one knew what to expect.

A few days later, I returned and there she was: dirty, depressed and in need of care. From what I could tell, this farm was the right place for her.

With the help of Patti, the owner of the farm and rescue, I introduced myself to the newest rescue. Grace was shut down and not interested. She still had a halter with bailing twine attached that no one had been comfortable trying to remove from her head. There was also a second donkey with her – a white, more social guy, nicknamed “Harvey”.  Apparently getting Grace out of the trailer after her journey to the Cape had been difficult so she was given space to move and plenty of fresh hay.  

A little nervous, I turned on some soft music, sat down and started to read the book I grabbed on my way out the door earlier in the day. Occasionally, Grace looked up from her hay and flipped her ears around to listen, or jumped when she was spooked by a noise she didn’t recognise. Harvey wandered over a few times. Grace kept her distance. Honestly, I can’t say I blamed her as the book I was reading was terrible.

Finally, after 7 or 8 pages, I couldn’t stay focused on the awful book I was reading, and I put it down. Grace finally made eye contact with me.I decided to take a chance and reached out to her to see if she would trust me. She did. Slowly she came closer and sniffed. Cautiously she let me touch her. She was dirty and dusty and her coat had patches of missing hair and her hooves were a mess… and yet, she let me touch her. After a little more time, I was softly rubbing her cheek and showing her that it was ok to let me touch the halter. Patti came over and we were able to get the rope off and eventually the halter. It was a big step for a sad little donkey.

Cat Wilson with “Grace” and “Harvey”

I have been back several times to chat with Grace when it’s quiet and very few people are around. You can see her slowly coming out of her shell as she learns to trust the people and other animals at the farm.

When I tell you there is something wonderful about this place, I mean it. Sometimes you can even catch a unicorn following children around on special picture days with Kat Newland Photography!

Photo: Mills River Rescue

The goal of the farm is to rescue and re-home most of the animals. In fact, there are a pair of ponies looking for a forever farm right now. They are named “Buddy” and “Beau” and they are the sweetest ponies you could ever meet. Of course they come with special care instructions, but once you meet them, you will realize how wonderful they are!

Photo: Mills River Rescue

Eventually, Grace will be ready for her forever dream farm. In the meantime, the volunteers are working with her every day to let her know she is safe and loved. As Patti says: “All are welcome to stay at our rescue and have sanctuary here if that is what is in the cards. We love them and enjoy them. They will always have a place to call home.”

Mills River Rescue is a 501c3, so if you would like to make a donation to help with hay or veterinary costs, you can follow this link: http://PayPal.Me/millsriverrescue

They are also looking for volunteers to help around the farm with a little heavy lifting, if you have time. Contact Mills River Rescue for more information.

Donkey Selfie

And just a friendly reminder, please make an appointment if you would like to visit, and meet any of these beautiful animals so the folks at the rescue know you are coming. 

Feel free to send me a comment: 


About Cat Wilson

Cat Wilson is "That Girl" on Cape Country 104 – a Cape Cod native and longtime Cape radio personality. She is a passionate supporter of Military and Veteran causes on the Cape and also hosts local music spotlight program, “The Cheap Seats” on Ocean 104.7.
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Hyannis, MA 02601
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