I never had the joy of meeting Summer. But her presence was everywhere during my recent visit to the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada. Volunteers and staff spoke of her in terms of endearment; she was the sanctuary greeter, its ambassador, its gentle jenny who made friends with children and grandparents. She met you at the gate, she trotted beside you, she nodded off while being groomed.
For13 years, Summer delighted all those who had the fortune to meet her. She was a blue-grey donkey with striped legs and a dominant cross over her withers. And her bray meant business. She arrived at the sanctuary on a scorching summer day, thus her name. She had been abandoned. But with top care provided by the sanctuary, Summer thrived. She strolled in paradise, soaking up all the attention.
Sadly, Summer recently passed away. She was 45 years old, the sanctuary’s oldest donkey. Staff blessed her with their last act of kindness, relieving her of a painful and sudden illness. There was a celebration of her life: smiles, tears and hugs. No longer would she meet visitors and staff at the gate, or in the lane. I could sense the loss when I was there.
The sanctuary’s executive director, Katharin Harkins, put it perfectly: “Maybe somehow this splendid donkey made us all believe in magic a little, or so I like to think, and that good things last forever.” There are almost 80 donkeys, mules and hinnies at the sanctuary, some with sad pasts, and some who came from elderly or ill owners no longer able to care for them. Each deserves a good life. Each deserves to be loved in the same way Summer was loved. She will never be forgotten; she will live on in the hearts of all who knew her, who sang to her, who brushed her, who simply respected her for her will to survive. For her heart.
I dedicate this painting to Summer’s memory. I chose soft colours to reflect her gentle nature; and I set her against yellow and orange, to represent a hot Summer day. Do not remember her with sadness; let her memory bring you joy, the same joy she gave you.
The painting extends around the edges, so requires no framing. If you would like a canvas print, also wrapped around on a wooden frame like this, let me know through my Contact page. Cost is $150. Bring a little Summer, and her joy, into your life. Ten per cent of all donkey painting proceeds go to The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada.