When the subject of service animals comes up, the mind doesn’t instantly jump to donkeys.
Yet for a pair of blind animals in Green Forest, Arkansas, a miniature donkey named Violet has given them the sort of independent life that no one thought possible. It all started when farmers Robbin and Cory Plumlee spotted a blind cow named Molly for sale on Facebook.
Robbin spotted Molly, a cow who was born blind, as she was scrolling through her social media feed one day. The animal lover immediately became concerned about the cow, so she adopted her and brought her to live on the farm where she could take care of her properly. Once Molly arrived at the farm, however, Robbin realized that the animal was far too reliant on humans to survive.
“Molly could not get around anywhere, she couldn’t get to water, feed,” Robbin explained. The cow was becoming agitated and getting injured in her own pasture, so they tried pairing her up with other cows. When that didn’t work, a friend of Robbin’s suggested adopting a donkey.
Donkeys are often used throughout the world to protect and guide other animals. Robbin soon found Violet, a miniature donkey, and brought her home to meet Molly. Cory had the brilliant idea to put a bell on Violet so that Molly could follow her around the pasture.
The plan worked! Soon Molly and Violet were inseparable and Molly’s confidence began to soar. Violet taught her where everything in the pasture is, so now Molly can find her way to the gates, watering hole, and feed bay. Whenever the cow gets stressed and needs guidance, she just listens for Violet’s bell.
“We were able to turn Violet and Molly out to a 20-acre pasture where Violet showed her how to get around the property,” Robbin said.
Just a few months after Violet and Molly formed a bond, the family found another use for their seeing-eye donkey. Robbin’s horse Raz is 18 years old and has lived on the farm her whole life. As she aged she developed equine glaucoma, and they slowly started to realize that the horse had gone fully blind.
Cory and Robbin decided to put Raz in the pen with Violet and Molly to see what might happen. To their amazement, Violet began to help Raz find her way in the pasture too! Now all three animals spend their day together with Violet leading the way! “She really shows that anything is possible,” said Robbin.
What a brilliant yet simple solution! Neither Molly nor Raz could survive without their trusty companion. Violet is living proof that every living creature serves an important purpose in this world. We’re so glad the Plumlees found Violet to give their blind animals a second shot at a life worth living.
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