“He turned it into a dinner bell”

A shy, elderly donkey has delighted its owner by showing off its singing voice just days after setting foot in its foster home. Today, nothing but center stage will suffice for this king of drama.

Pinky Ruggles, 37, lives in Conroe, Texas, in a house with land. She’s always dreamed of owning horses, and after buying her first horse, Ace, in 2009, she noticed he had an affinity for donkeys. She also had Jack, another horse, in 2018.

When Pinky closed on a new home and finally had more space, she contacted the Texas Miracle Ranch (TMR) in Plantersville, telling them she would like to adopt a tougher donkey.

(Courtesy of Pinky Ruggles)

The ranch introduced him to two “super sweet” donkeys before he met Monte. The average lifespan of a donkey is between 27 and 40 years. At the time, Pinky had no idea Monte was already 26. He just seemed “perfect”.

“He was standing by himself on the side, quiet, shuffling,” Pinky told The Epoch Times. “There was just something about him that said, ‘You gotta pick this little dude.

“I came home and said to my boyfriend, ‘I think I’ve found the perfect ass for Ace.’ When it was time for him to come home in September 2020, this donkey got off the trailer and… looked like he was ready for a new life.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Pinky Ruggles)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Pinky Ruggles)

Monte was also ready to meet his two new friends, Ace, now 15, and Jack, now 16. The trio bonded instantly. Pinky kept them on halters for safety, but in no time the horses and their new donkey pal were grazing together in the backyard. Monte was only silent in his new home for a few days before he found his voice.

“I think I heard it maybe once or twice,” Pinky said, “but on the third day for breakfast I went out the back to feed them at their stalls, as I usually do, and he just let go.

“He looked like he was surprised when he did it, and I know the horses were like, ‘What was that? But now he’s turned it into a dinner bell, as soon as it starts braying the horses know that means mommy’s out and mommy’s got food!

Monte doesn’t just sing for his supper. The musical mule also brays at mini ponies across the street, cars pulling up in the driveway, and neighborhood roosters. But standing in front of the stairs, braying and nodding until Pinky appears, is by far his favorite pastime.

(Courtesy of Pinky Ruggles)

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Pinky Ruggles)

“I thought to myself, ‘Well, he sings! Obviously he’s an opera singer, we have to put him online,’ said Pinky, who didn’t expect his eccentric ass goes viral.

Since her meteoric success on TikTok and Instagram, Monte has even become “a bit of a diva” and has understood that when the camera comes out, the snacks follow.

“People let me know daily how much joy he brings them,” Pinky said. “Whether it’s someone who’s never really interacted with a donkey before, doesn’t have the space for a donkey, or just wants to keep up with a super clumsy animal, we’re humble.”

Pinky says she has no way of knowing what Monte went through before being rescued by TMR ten years ago. He can still be “a little aloof”, but once he gets comfortable, he loves scratches, is very smart, very mischievous, loves life, and loves food even more.

“Her love language is food,” Pinky said.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Pinky Ruggles)

When Monte is with Pinky, his most trusted caregiver, he will hunt, play and act awkwardly. The bond they share is extraordinary. “It’s a trust,” Pinky explained. “I know he’s not going to do anything to hurt me, and he also knows that I’m not going to hurt him.”

Monte and Ace stay close. Older now, Ace has stepped down from his old role as troublemaker, but Pinky still describes the noisy bond of horse and donkey as “a mess.” It also forms two parts of a love triangle: while the alpha horse, Jack, is possessive of Ace, Monte competes for Ace’s attention, leaving the bullied horse in the middle.

“It cracks me up,” said Pinky, who posts articles about living with her animals, helpful resources and fan art-inspired Monte products on her website, montethesingdonkey.com.

“I have my horses and the donkey in the garden, the dogs in the house and now the chickens. Why not share it, because I love it so much!

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Louise Rooms


Louise Chambers is a writer born and raised in London, England. She covers inspirational news and human interest stories.

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