Among the most common goals that teenagers typically have, like, say, getting a driver’s license or applying to college, rescuing a donkey probably isn’t on anyone’s list. However, for Texas high school junior Payton Dankworth, caring for an abandoned baby donkey has been an unexpected and incredible experience.
Dankworth, who lives in a rural part of Texas, first came into contact with the donkey after she was called by a friend. He had found a young and abandoned miniature donkey on his horse ranch and wanted to know if Dankworth would be interested in caring for it.
“He asked if I would like to try keep him alive,” Dankworth said in an interview with The Dodo. “He told me that he wasn’t in very good health and he probably wouldn’t make it through the night. I am such an animal lover, and there was no way I was gonna let that baby die.”
So, Dankworth took the animal in and named him “Jack.” She stayed up with him the entire first night they were together. At first, Jack was too weak to even stand up, but, as Dankworth nursed him back to health, feeding him bottles every two hours, he slowly regained his energy and spirit.
Now, Jack loves to run and play. Just take a look at him galloping around the family’s yard:
Dankworth’s family lives on a large property where Jack will have plenty of space, especially as he gets older and grows larger. Although he’s thought to be a miniature donkey and is not much bigger than the family’s dog at the moment, the average size of a full-grown miniature donkey is around 3 feet tall and between 200 to 450 pounds. So, Jack will likely get much, much bigger!
Luckily, he picked the perfect person to be his human mom. She even started an Instagram account for Jack, so we can all appreciate his snuggles:
Although Dankworth wasn’t sure what career path she was interested in before Jack, the experience of rescuing him from the brink of death and caring for him has made her realize that she’d like to work with animals for a living.