When Emily and I are fortunate to go for walks around our neighborhood we always hope to see our sweet donkey friends at the top of the hill, waiting to say hello to us. It is usually the highlight of our walks when we get to pet them and tell them how much we appreciate them.
The other day, during an evening walk, we made it to the donkeys just as their owner was giving them dinner. The donkeys and sheep were too focused on their food to be bothered with us, but their owner stopped what he was doing to talk story. A nice man, the owner of the donkeys and sheep told us the history of this pair of rescue donkeys, who came over from the big island of Hawai’i. We learned their Hawaiian names, Kēkake (kay-kah-key which is donkey) and Kōkua (ko-coo-ah which means helpful) and that they are the sweetest donkeys you could want (something we had already assumed). They are so patient and tolerant around people, that in the past they have been rented out for church nativity scenes.
There are also two sheep that share the paddock with Kēkake and Kōkua and their names are Lefty and Fluffy. They are much more skittish than the donkeys, so we do not get to pet them. Lefty is getting more comfortable with us the more we see him, but Fluffy tends to stay in the background, far enough away from everyone to feel safe. On rare occasions a mule named Tater in the paddock with the rest of the four-legged family members.
Walking around and exploring our upcountry neighborhood is always special, mostly because of the company, but we are fortunate to see so many different animal friends in our neighbor’s front yards. Chickens, peacocks, pheasants, cows, horses, mules, goats, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, deer, elephant hedges, and of course, our sweet donkey friends…Old MacDonald has nothing on Makawao.