PHOENIX — Hundreds of donkeys roam free around Lake Pleasant. But only one of them approached a kayaker for help out of 'thorny' situation.
Travis Ward started kayaking about a year ago. He lives near the lake and goes kayaking nearly every weekend to enjoy the desert scenery and the feeling of gliding through the water.
“For me it’s just connecting with nature,” Ward said.
Last week, he had a connection like no other.
Ward had just set out his kayak and was about to get on the water when a wild donkey approached him on one of the beaches. Ward has seen dozens of donkeys at the lake but none had ever come so close.
“He got closer and I saw there were thorns in his nose and his ear as well," Ward said.
The spines stuck to the donkey were likely from the thousands of saguaros in the area.
“I could just tell he was in pain,” he said. “I realized he was in trouble.”
He slowly moved toward the animal and started plucking out each spine one by one. Ward said he felt as though the donkey approached him to ask for help.
“He was being very still very calm and he just let me get all of them out,” Ward said.
After taking out about 40 spines, Ward said the donkey thanked him in its own way.
“He does the donkey noise for about a minute and then he takes off,” Ward said.
Ward stood on the beach for about ten minutes as he took in the moment, before getting on his kayak and going into the water.
“It’s always nice to help whether it’s a person or an animal,” he said.
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