On this day, the guests included Brittany Hill, who has been living with leukemia for 11 years, and an extremely shy man who by the end of the afternoon would speak of the confidence that walking a donkey had given him.The love we have for our pets speaks to something deep about our needs, and to the trials of life as a social mammal. Interactions with other humans can be great but are always fraught: am I being judged? lied to? laughed at? despised?
Ms. Hill, 26, said she kept returning because donkeys “don’t judge.”
“They understand, even though they don’t talk,” she said.
Indeed, anyone expecting a miniature-donkey meet-up to be some kind of braying contest was in for a surprise. “Their instinct is to ponder things,” Mr. Stiert said.
So we have bred animals whose sole job is to love us unconditionally, to meet some of our needs for society and affection without the risks inherent in loving and trusting another person.