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A donkey's tale

Updated: May 20, 2023

Breffni my beloved gelding donkey died on Friday of suspected Scyamore poisoning. He was 23 this year.

It was a horrendous way to have a loved one die and I hope never to experience it again.

Myself and my late husband Joe bought him from a farmer in County Cavan in 2003 as a two year old.

The name Breffni is a very common Cavan name and seemed to fit him well.

He was bought as a companion for my Friesian horse Galach but also as myself and Joe always wanted a donkey for what thatched cottage is complete without one!

Baby Breffni and his beautiful Mam

Breffni and Galach made quite the funny looking pair.

A huge black Friesian horse with a tiny hairy grey donkey are not a common partnership but it worked and more than just worked they became the very best of friends.

Galach may have been huge but he was afraid of his own shadow and quite the baby, where as Breffni was cheeky and full of mischief and Bravado.

Breffni and friends

From even the first few weeks of his life with us here he would make us laugh on the daily with his antics.

Big Ron our ginger tabby cat comes close but Breffni was the biggest character of all the four legged friends I've ever had.

The poem I wrote (The Welcoming commitee of Trohanny Cottage) was actually based on a real life story.

Breffni really did love the local farmers herd of dairy cows and he did in fact head up the pass with them and was in the queue for milking before the farmer spotted him!! We still laugh about it today.

This still makes me laugh..Breffni giving his pals a blast of his melodious singing voice!!
A very precious photo. Breffni with my late husband Joe

I've always had a soft spot for donkeys.

My first ever gift given to my mother on the day I was born was a blue/gray donkey on wheels with red plastic saddle and bridle.

Of course me being me, I got a notion the saddle and bridle were hurting him and he couldn't run with the wheels so I cut them all off and released him so he could be cuddled!

That blue straw stuffed donkey was carried everywhere and cuddled in bed every night until I was in my teens.

He is still by my bed now in my forties!

Another precious one. With my youngest son Mr.T

I asked Santy for a pony every year until I realised Santy isn't allowed give animals for Christmas (which is now totally understandable) BUT I did have a skewbald coloured donkey in the field across the road owned by my neighbours that I could hang out with every day and sneak treats to and that kept me fairly satisfied for a while.

Her name was Katie and she was the harborer of my little girl pony dreams.

When Galach died in 2014 Breffni grieved and we grieved together.

It's hard to explain but it's like Breffnis fun/cheeky nature left and was replaced with Eyeore from Winnie the Pooh.

That's when I got Rosie our donkey mare.

Rosie and Breffni

It took longer than I expected for them to bond as Breffni was still not completely himself and Rosie wasn't interested in him.

Nine years on and they were like husband and wife and rarely even went one side of a field without the other.

The only time that happened was in the morning when Breffni would sneak over to me for a chat and a piece of something.

That was our daily routine, a chat in the morning and cuddles in the evening after feed time.

He would always bray to me when I'd drive the car in and even my neighbour a few fields down the road would know when I was home.

At the cottage wall

Twenty years is a long time to have any friend in your life and to have one that is such a part of your daily life it's even more difficult to live without.

I am certainly no newcomer to grief.

In my 47 years I have loved and lost many, but the special ones hurt your heart in a way you know won't ever fully heal.

I don't think a time will come where I don't look out and expect to see those long ears or to hear that hee-haw on my arrival home.

This is the price we pay for companionship, friendship and love.

While it is not the same as losing my husband it is still a genuine raw grief of not only a loved one but a lifetime of precious memories.

My beloved Breffni

Breffni I love you and I miss you and I thank you for always being there through my trials and tribulations, deaths, births and marriages.

I'm so sorry the way your life ended but I am trying not to dwell and think only of the years of memories we made together.

May we meet again in some form with our two and four friends over that rainbow bridge.

Breffni the legend 2000-2023 🫏💫💖

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Sep 04, 2023

Just read this now as I couldn't go back to sleep. Awh what a special place in your heart he holds. As my mother aptly said "better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all" which now makes sense as the years go on more memories come to mind and its those memories that make us laugh and make life worthwhile🤗


Beautiful testimony to your sweet friend, Breffni. They always manage to weave themselves into our lives for the better! And it’s possible that we benefit more them.

Hope your heart heals soon from his loss!!




May 21, 2023

I am so sorry for your loss of Brefni. There is something about the loss of our dear animal friends that rips the heart in a certain way. Cherish the fact that you had such a friend ❤️


May 20, 2023

My heart is aching for you….as I read your words, Your sweet Breffni came to life for me with all the personality, charm and mischievousness that a loving life presents. This morning I heard the phrase, the paths we have crossed, we will cross once again and while those words have remained in my mind this day, I believe they were meant to be shared with you as your journey continues towards a future crossroad. Take care☘️


What a sad story, I feel the hurt, it is so difficult to lose somebody that you love and is a big part of your life. it leaves a big whole in your hart that is not easy to fill. (if ever) . I am sure someone comes along your path someday that fills it in a different way. Take your time for grieving , wishing you all the best

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