The pampered donkey thinks it’s a dog!


He may be in the process of foaling, but a young donkey began to act like a dog after his owner saved his life and raised him alongside the other beloved pets in the family.

Three-month-old Kye was abandoned by his mother but rescued by John Nuttall, 64, whose family runs a donkey ride business on the Lincolnshire coast.

Having spent much of his youth with the family dogs, Kye takes walks, plays ball, and even responds to dogs’ whistles.

Let the sleeping donkeys lie: the beloved animal became a member of the family after being taken in

From pack horse to pack member: Kye the donkey is said to behave like any companion dog

From pack horse to pack member: Kye the donkey is said to behave like any companion dog

The miniature mule began to exhibit hunting dog-like behavior after its mother rejected it, leaving John and partner Grazina Pervenis, 40, to hand-raise it.

The couple fitted the foal with a “dog diaper” and shared the care duties for him over the next six weeks in their separate homes, where he often played with their dogs.

John said Kye’s time with the puppies has caused him to show characteristics similar to these, although he has now moved to a pen with other donkeys.

Kye enjoys living the life of a pampered pet - even though her owners have given her a

Kye enjoys living the life of a pampered pet – even though her owners have given her a “dog diaper”

It's the life of a dog: Kye lays on the couch in the house he shares with farmer John Nuttall

It’s the life of a dog: Kye lays on the couch in the house he shares with farmer John Nuttall

He said: “I kept him at home, then he used to go out in the garden with the dogs, so he grew up with me and the dogs, really.

“As I would whistle at the dogs, he has just whistled now.”

“He even started playing with a ball and things, and now I can go for a walk down the street, and he’ll follow me like a dog.”

Four-legged friend: Kye the donkey loved to be pampered at home with Grazina Pervenis

Four-legged friend: Kye the donkey loved to be pampered at home with Grazina Pervenis

John, who has 70 donkeys at his stud near the village of Ingoldmells, said little Kye had a rough start after his mother turned on him and turned violent.

He said: “The previous year the mother gave birth to a foal she didn’t want to take, and he ended up dying.

“We thought there was something medically wrong with the colt, so we tried again this year, but she rejected this one as well.

“I was lucky to be there when she attacked him, and I managed to get him in.”

John initially fed Kye his mother’s milk from which he was separated to make sure the little foal was getting the right nutrients he needed when he was young.

The youngster had to be hand-raised after his mother abandoned him after he was born

The youngster had to be hand-raised after his mother abandoned him after he was born

Puppy love: The couple looked after him until he was old enough to move into his own enclosure

Puppy love: The couple looked after him until he was old enough to move into his own enclosure

But after his health started to deteriorate, Grazina, his dog trainer and breeding partner, decided Kye needed a more hands-on approach and took him under her wing.

John said: “I still didn’t dare leave the colt in the stable with the mare because she wanted to hurt him.

“Then he came down, so I contacted my partner, and she came down at midnight that night and said, ‘Okay, I have to take the foal right now.

“She put a tube in his nose and in his stomach and fed him formula milk for orphan foals.

“She kept it on it for two to three weeks. She was feeding him every hour at that time – she was like a zombie.

The little foal spent six weeks with Grazina and John before moving to a pen

The little foal spent six weeks with Grazina and John before moving to a pen

Kye spent six weeks between the houses of Grazina and John.

John said, “I went to the pet store and bought the big dog diapers because you don’t want baby donkey poop all over the house.

“We would let him out as well, but I would bring him inside at night because he needed human contact as well.”

Meanwhile, John let Kye run with his dogs since they were the right size for him, and that’s where he picked up some of their features.

He said, “There was nothing I could really put him on that was his size, and I didn’t want him to get hit by other donkeys.

– So he would go out into the garden during the day with the dogs. I was whistling at the dogs, and so he comes to whistle.

Kye the Donkey at home with owners John Nuttall and Gra¿ina Pervenis and companions at the shrine they run

Kye the Donkey at home with owners John Nuttall and Gra¿ina Pervenis and companions at the shrine they run

Just relax at home!  Kye is resting on the living room rug, like a dog

Just relax at home! Kye is resting on the living room rug, like a dog

“Now if I get in my van to get out, he will see him leave and chase the van.” He’s definitely a character.

John hopes that one day Kye will join his other donkeys, who take visitors for walks on the beaches of Skegness, Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe each summer.

His family has run the tourism business for a century, with John’s three sons and daughter becoming the fourth generation to get involved.

For now, he’s happy that little Kye, who moved into a pen with other donkeys three weeks ago, is getting stronger every day.

John said: ‘He grew up. He has all his teeth and he eats well. He’s a decent colt.

“He’s going to live, but he’s not as strong as my other foals who feed on their natural mother.

“But he’s alive, that’s the main thing. My main concern was to keep him alive. I didn’t want to lose another one! ‘


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