There is very little news in this world that I can say honestly sparks any bit of joy anymore. Most of it is depressing stuff like Brexit, whatever the orange Cheeto is up to these days, global warming, burning rainforests, plastic pollution of our oceans – the list can go on.
But one news story is sure to brighten your day and yes, it involves adorable animals.
It turns out, there is a place in Italy where donkeys are used to transport newborn lambs when they are too young to make the journeys themselves.
I know, right?
My heart literally cannot cope with the cuteness.
And to make it even cuter, these donkeys are referred to as “donkey nannies,” because they are essentially looking after the lambs and being stand-ins for their parents when their mothers aren’t available.
Today I learnt about donkey nannies, which are donkeys that are used to transport newborn lambs from high pastures to the plains when the lambs can't make that trip themselves.
They're taken out after the day's journey for food and nuzzling with their mothers. pic.twitter.com/GwIWxiaQOW
— James Bartholomeou (@iyagovos) November 5, 2018
I’ve never heard of “donkey nannies” before this. And if you haven’t either, let me elaborate for you. According to Cattail Chronicles, the donkeys help transport the lambs to other pastures when they are too young to make the treks themselves. That much we know already. But apparently, the way that the transport is done, is the donkey gets fitted with a custom-made saddlebag. The saddlebag is the perfect size for the lambs and they fit like a glove. And from there, they’re off.
Just look at the cuteness of the little lambs peeking out from the saddle. I am literally squealing as I write this – the whole thing is just too cute! And if you’re wondering where in Italy, the practice is apparently quite normal and customary in particular parts of the north, such as Lombardy. And, these types of journeys usually occur in the early spring whenever the shepherds need to move their livestock to different areas in order to give them better food access.
According to National Geographic, the person who took the picture – Elspeth Kinneir – said, “In the early spring shepherds drive huge flocks of livestock, here sheep, mules, donkeys, and goats from the Pre-Alpine hills to the plains of Lombardy, for grazing. The newborn lambs are carried in a custom made sidesaddle by the donkeys and returned to their mothers at rest time. I was told that the hump on the donkey’s back is a cauldron!”
Isn’t that just the cutest? I dare you to try to find something more cute than these donkey nannies.
Hope this story has brightened your day a bit from the usual doom and gloom news.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.