Just south of Emo on Colonization Road, seven donkeys peer over a fence at a passing cyclist.
The donkeys are all that remain of Bill and Marg Govier’s petting zoo. Now in their 70s, the couple has had to get rid of most of their animals but the donkeys are still on the farm as a token of their former pastime.
“We had a hobby here. We had donkeys, chickens, geese, and goats galore,” Govier recalled. “We used to put on a little show.”
Their petting zoo once travelled across the district, introducing children in a number of communities to animals found on the farm along with some less-than-common ones.
Now, battling the illnesses that come with age, the Goviers have slowly had to get rid of their livestock because it became too much work.
“I miss my cows and my goats but I really miss my cows. I had some good cows,” said a slightly teary-eyed Govier.
Govier often can be spotted out with his donkeys, feeding them or just watching them go through their everyday routine.
“Yeah, they can take care of themselves. I just shovel a bunch of hay up against the fence and give them some grain,” he said.
Inside the barn, the couple’s first donkey, 22-year-old “Jenny,” is showing signs of age as she nurses a sore foot.
This summer has been an exciting one for the couple as the donkeys gave birth to three foals, including one over the Emo Fair weekend.
Although they are known for their cantankerous demeanor, Govier said he’s seldom run into a bad-tempered donkey. He’s currently looking for a home for two of the foals, which have a dark-coloured cross over their backs.
“That means that Jesus Christ rode those donkeys,” noted Govier.