When you think about cute animals, what do you imagine? If you’re like most of us, I suppose that you probably have images of kittens and puppies and baby ducks pop into your mind.
Yet there are less commonly adorable critters that are just as squee-worthy. Have you ever seen an ink-eyed baby hedgehog, a skittering sugar glider or a quizzical pygmy owl?
These beasts don’t show up at your local pet store, but these are critters that make you want to cuddle up with them. And so is the miniature donkey — or at least one of them.
Tiny Tim the Mini Donkey began life as an extraordinary specimen, although it wasn’t necessarily a positive thing. His owner, Ted Topping of Peterborough, Ontario, discovered the little beast’s existence in the most extraordinary way.
On TinyTimTheDonkey.com, the itty-bitty animal’s own website, Topping described the morning of his arrival. “In the middle of the large common area, all the animals were milling around as usual, but Donald [the Muscovy duck] was in the middle hissing and flapping his wings making a lot of noise,” he wrote.
“I thought the worst, that a cow had stepped on him! I went in through the gate to get a closer look and saw what I thought was a rabbit sitting beside Donald.”
Only that small, gray form wasn’t a rabbit at all: It was Tim, a newborn donkey no bigger than a stuffed animal.
He weighed a mere 10 pounds. What’s more, he almost didn’t make it through his first 24 hours.
Tim had a difficult first few hours in the world. His mother tried to trample him and began seizing him in her mouth so she could hurl him against the wall, so Topping and his wife Jody brought him into their home.
They weren’t sure that the baby donkey would make it, yet (in Topping’s words) “he definitely had a will to live.”
And not only to live, but to thrive. As the weeks rolled into months, he gathered strength and became a member of the household — a member with some decided personality quirks.
“He takes on characteristics of dogs. He fetches a ball, licks plates as I load the dishwasher and sleeps on a dog bed,” Jody Topping explained to People.
“The first four months my husband carried him up to our room each night, and he slept in a play pen in our room, as he was like a newborn baby and ate a couple times during the night. When he reached 50 pounds, he was too heavy to carry upstairs so now resides in the mud room.”
Of course, Tim doesn’t stay in the mud year the whole year round. He romps around the Toppings’ harm, which covers 113 acres.
But he likes the inside just as much as the outdoors. Completely housebroken, the dwarf donkey enjoys building his own forts out of cushions and getting whacked during pillow fights.
“He is so small, about 70 pounds and 23 inches at the shoulders at 7 months old, but he has a huge personality and loves to make people laugh,” Jody said. “He’s very affectionate and super smart.”
Jodi added that “miniature donkeys are very sweet and loyal, but they are a lifetime commitment. They live much longer than dogs, and even horses. So, though they are cute, you have to think a long way down the road to provide for them. They will give you companionship, love and they are very loyal. You just have to love and care for them.”
Meanwhile, they are trying to get a therapy animal certification for Tiny Tim so they can spread his joy to others. What an adorable blessing!
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