Meet the Messengers


    The Animal Messengers

                                             GABRIEL (1986–2007)

Gabriel the donkey in lupin flowers Gabriel was a wild donkey living in the desert in southern California when the Bureau of Land Management determined that the wild donkey population had grown too large and needed to be thinned. Gabriel was among those captured, probably rounded up by helicopter and herded into a pen crowded with terrified donkeys. The donkeys were then tattooed and may have been hobbled (had their legs tied together) in order for the humans to carry out that procedure. It is likely that this happened to Gabriel because for a long time he became very afraid when his legs were touched (as during necessary hoof trimmings) and is still sensitive about it.

An animal-loving woman adopted him and later he came to me. I named him Gabriel, after both the archangel Gabriel and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, to fill him with the courage of the archangel and celebrate his inspired self.

It took many years for Gabriel to trust a human. After that horrifying first encounter with humans, he wanted nothing to do with them. He ran free with the horses, whom he loves, and was as happy as a donkey can be who has had his wild world shrunk down to five acres. On the other hand, food and water were plentiful and he didn’t have to worry about survival.

Gradually, over eight years, Gabriel came to trust me. The breakthrough came when I learned from a master in horse relationships to back up when Gabriel turned to face me. He was so amazed that a human would back away from him instead of always pursuing him that he walked toward me. That began a bond of trust, which was further aided by his new companion, Pegasus the miniature horse. Since they became the best of friends and she loves humans, he had modeled for him another way to be with people. He was then able to receive the care he needed without becoming terrified.

Gabriel and Pegasus spent their days roaming the pastures and their nights in a large paddock together.

Sad news: Gabriel died on March 16, 2007, at the age of 21. He is greatly missed by everyone. Blessings to you, dear Gabriel, who brought us so much joy.

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© 2005, Stephanie Marohn, all rights reserved.