Keith Kendrew pets the his newest addition on July 19. The donkey, born July 4, stands behind his mom in the field. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Rimbey Review

The Donkey Days of summer

Local ‘donkey man’ reflects on where it all started

By Jessica Jones

For many local Rimbey residents, seeing Keith Kendrew and his donkey’s are not an anomaly.

The long-time resident has had his donkey’s at a number of events over the years, whether it be at farmers markets, providing donkey rides for the kids, rodeos, parades, trail rides, or maybe they’ve even seen him passing through the local A&W drive-thru with a donkey in tow. Kendrew, and his various donkey’s, have been a constant local fixture over the years.

“Everyone probably knows me, because I’m the donkey guy,” Kendrew said with a laugh.

It was 1978 that Kendrew bought his first donkey, explaining that he “balked” when one of his son’s asked for a horse. Kendrew’s wife, Lil, suggested they purchase a donkey instead and it seems the family never looked back.

“That’s when I got the donkey-itis,” said the proud father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

He says donkey’s, and attending events with his donkeys, sort “snowballed.”

“I walked over to my neighbours house with the first donkey and there she ran a dayhome centre so I took all the kids for a little ride,” he said.

From this he used his donkey on camping trips, riding from east and west to Brazeau County to Kananaskis and many other places.

“I’ve been to quite a few unique places,” he said, suggesting that perhaps he should write a book about all his adventures.

“When I started with one donkey, it drove me crazy seeing it stand around and do nothing, so I trained it to drive, started packing him and taking him around,” Kendrew said.

Training donkey’s has been an adventure in amongst itself, Kendrew explained. He says they can have a lot of “personality.” Mostly, however, he’s taken training and breaking the donkey’s in stride.

“It’s sometimes a mess,” he admitted. “But donkey’s are fairly easy to train. People always say that donkey’s are stubborn, but you’ve got to be smarter than the animal you’re training.”

Kendrew mentioned one of his donkey’s doesn’t like going into town, but once he’s there, he “adores the attention.”

“Every one of them is an individual,” he said. “And I have this new baby, and she is the most darling little animal you will ever see,” he gushed, further adding that in Canada and the United States, donkey breeds are not recognized. Most are registered by size.

He also reflected on one of many donkey stories, recalling a time when he was crossing a stream with his donkey, trying to get to an outfitters camp in the mountains. Thinking that his donkey would follow the group, he encouraged her to give the stream a try. His donkey put one foot in the water, looked up, and took off to a bridge about 20 yards away.

“There wasn’t a chance she was going in there,” he said. “I’m still amazed at the thought process,” he said with a laugh.

Kendrew will still lead his donkey’s into town from his 12-acre donkey farm at the east edge of Rimbey, keeping up with many events year-round.

 

Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Rimbey Review

Just Posted

County of Wetaskiwin concerned about provincial policing discussion

Lack of detail, lack of answers discussed at council Oct. 8

Water leak finally repaired

Water leak causes concern

Trees removed at Pas Ka Poo

Trees beginning to rot

Lacombe Chamber hosts election forum at LMC

LPC, CPC, PPC and NDP battle for Red Deer-Lacombe votes

NDP candidate for Red Deer-Lacombe committed to creating new green jobs

Lauren Pezzella says the country needs to diversify away from fossil fuels

VIDEO: Alberta teen found guilty of shooting German tourist, leaving him paralyzed

The boy, who cannot be publicly identified, was from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Scholars say religious vaccine objections can’t be traced to Biblical sources

Vaccinations are a requirement to attend class in Ontario and New Brunswick, while B.C. launched a demand this fall

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Most Read