Little Pansy died earlier this week. She was 34 years old and during her 23 years with us she brought much quiet pleasure to countless people.
We brought Pansy (on the left) and Poppy, mother and daughter, to the DSC in 1995 and I remember my first sight of them very well. My friend, Virginia Buchanan-Smith, and I had driven the trailer to pick them up in the Eastern Townships of Quebec where they had lived all of their lives. Actually, Virginia did the driving; over the years, her skills at the wheel have allowed us to make many donkey-related trips. The animals’ caregiver was particularly fond of them and she would not have parted with her little donkeys had it not been for the sale of her farm as a result of divorce. When we arrived they were standing in a field, close up to Paddington, their almost mammoth-sized donkey companion. We brought him to the DSC, too.
Pansy and Poppy were inseparable companions and early on they settled into life in our barnyard. We had placed them in the fields with the larger herd but they were uninterested in other company. They would slip like lightning through the gates whenever they were opened, and it just became a part of every day to see them standing under the trees in the lane. Added to their determination was the fact that both little donkeys were amiable and endlessly patient with pats and hugs from visitors and volunteers.
A vivid memory that I am glad to have is of the day when Virginia and I took Pansy and Poppy to Toronto to pass some time with one of our donors who was experiencing the last stage of cancer. She had great affection for these donkeys and when her husband made the request, we welcomed the opportunity to arrange a final visit.
The woman’s home was located in the north part of the city, on a small lot. Calmly, Virginia drove the trailer down the city streets and deftly slipped the vehicle into a double parking place just down from the house. When Pansy and Poppy trotted down the ramp, Virginia slipped a pink peony into each of their halters. Then we walked proudly down the street and into the backyard where the pair were welcomed by the woman and her husband. Virginia and I sat apart on the deck while the little group moved around the lawn, the couple murmuring all the while to the donkeys. It was a sunny afternoon so they stood under the sprawling branches of a maple tree in the corner. ( Of course, Pansy and Poppy enjoyed the opportunity to snack on the grass at their feet! ) All together, we passed about half an hour in this way. Then, the woman started to tire and we sensed that it was time to leave. Our parting was quiet and filled with emotion.
Over the years, Pansy and Poppy were special ambassadors on many other occasions for the DSC. They were comfortable riding in the trailer and they became veterans of many Christmas church services. Then, much to everyone’s sadness, Poppy died in 2011. We were consoled by the fact that Pansy was not to be alone, though; little Sable stepped into place and remained at Pansy’s side for many years. After Sable, Katy, another Miniature, provided companionship.
We were fortunate to be able to spend so long with Pansy. The air feels emptier these days in the barnyard now that she has left us but when we think of Pansy we always smile and remember the joy that her presence brought.
Sandra Pady, Founder