Currently our “guard-donkey,” Matty, has thirteen Navajo-Churro sheep to watch over and protect. Natural predators exist in our canyon, and traditionally ranchers have used dogs, llamas and donkeys to guard their sheep. Human shepherds still exist, of course, but they are rarer in this day and age.

Our sheep and donkey have abundant pastureland to enjoy and remain hale and hearty, as seen in today’s photo below. They also have a spacious covered shelter in which to take refuge in the colder months or when it rains or snows.

Matty the donkey belongs to the breed called the “American Spotted Donkey,” and was born on our property the day before Thanksgiving nearly five years ago. Fortunately, she has never had an ailment or injury her entire life and is a very “mellow” creature.

Donkeys (also called burros) are typically hearty animals and we know have been on our planet for many millennia, surviving in a variety of climates.

Often considered “beasts of burden,” that is not the case with our donkey Matty, who lives a tranquil life in the midst of desert beauty. We have the sheep to harvest wool for spinning, used for weaving and other fiber arts projects. As far as we can tell, Matty’s very presence amidst the sheep automatically wards off predators.

With this comes our greetings and assurance of prayers. Please keep us in your prayers. Thank you.

Abbot Christian and the monks