Portrait: Victoire and her donkey Gugus



Les Néréides Loves Animals presents Victoire and her adopted donkey Gugus, who lives in her family’s stables in Chantilly. 



Who is he?

GUGUS – 2 years old – He’s a Sant Andrew’s Cross donkey (the legend says it is this kind of donkey who carried Christ himself, and that’s why a cross is drawed on his back!). 
Can you tell us about when you first met him?
We had already adopted a first jenny through an association, but she unfortunately died a few months after she joined us… As we were very found of her, we really wanted to adopt a new donkey. We contacted a family we know that saves animals condamned to the slaughterhouse or gives shelter to abandonned ones. Gugus was a young donkey that was born there and had thus been lucky enough to have always lead a happy and safe life. When we went to meet him, he was with his mother and sister. Baby donkeys are always the cutest with their fluffy, funny looks! He was a bit chubby so he instantly made me think of Cinderella’s character Gugus, the little mouse. I named it from the movie! 
What’s his best quality?
Despite one could think, donkeys are extremely smart and clever. He’s also very greedy, and his intelligence is actually lead by his belly! He can open a candy box by making it fall, or open grain jars by lifting lids with his body. It makes our life very challenging as we have to make things less easily reachable for him. 
What’s his biggest flaw?
Gus is still a bit wary and not as affectionate as our previous jenny, it can thus be difficult to create a real relationship with him. But seeing him run in the fields makes us think he’s happy and that’s enough for us! He’s not a pet and he’s very independent. 
Does he have a nickname and if so why?
Gus .. just because it’s shorter! 
What does his presence bring you on a daily basis?
Gugus is a clown and really makes us laugh, whether he is with our horses, tries to reach for apples or goes on a stroll with our horses and their riders. These moments are always playful and rewarding: he’s completely free to go around but we can really trust him, he never tries to escape and always comes back near the horses. His attitude shows us that he feels at home here and trusts us!
What’s the naughtiest thing that he has done?
There’s so much to say about him, and it often deals with food! At the sable we feed the horses with a wheelbarrow. We fill it with a grain silo that can contain up to 4 tons. To open it you have to pull a hatch that delivers the grains. From seeing us to it, Gugus quickly understood how it worked… and just opened it! But well, he actually discharged the whole 4 tons of grains. We had to put everything back inside, and without any help from him, obviously. 
And what’s the most unusual anecdote you have lived with him?
Gus lives in stables among horses. He loves bothering them while they work in the quarry. One day that we were working on the obstacle race, Gus decided to stand right under an obstacle at the very moment an horserider was facing it. The horse didn’t waved and simply jumped both the obstacle AND Gus. 

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