Many of us will remember the first time we came across a donkey, whether it was as an infant learning the story of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, or being taught to sing "Little Donkey" at the top of our voices at Christmas nativities, or when we visited the beaches and saw the donkeys giving rides there.
For many people today the main object is just to enjoy owning and caring for donkeys. Today, they are rarely used in their earliest trade forms such as carrying the laundry or delivering milk. In fact it was the invention of the internal combustion engine that was the danger to donkeys and signalled the end of their role as a working animal.
However, in the 21st century the donkey has made a come back. Because of its temperament and calming influences it is used in modern animal assisted therapy, providing particular help to people with additional needs and disabilities, whether being driven or ridden or just being on hand to be petted and patted. In a small but increasingly important role, the donkey has found fresh work in this century.