Sunday, September 28, 2003

Owners reunited with Jack the donkey (a.k.a. Clarence)

By Nicole Hamilton and Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Suzanne Ditto of the Boone County Animal Shelter pets Clarence the donkey.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
BURLINGTON - After a month as a guest of the Boone County Animal Shelter, Clarence the lost donkey is back on his farm.

On Aug. 25, the white gelding was found wandering along U.S. 42. Shelter workers have cared for him since.

Until Saturday, when he was reunited with his owner, Eddie Johnson of Union, Ky.

His temporary caregivers dubbed him Clarence, but the animal's real name is Jack, and he has a bit of wanderlust, according to his owner.

The older the donkey gets, the more inquisitive he becomes, Johnson said, adding that it was probably curiosity - and a healthy dose of stubbornness - that made Jack break out of a gate a month ago.

Earlier this week Johnson noticed Jack was missing. The animal's extended absence isn't unusual.

"I thought he was next door visiting the horses," Johnson said. "He goes over to visit them all the time. Sometimes he stays over there for weeks."

Johnson's wife and next-door neighbors saw reports about the wayward donkey on television.

After a conversation with Susan Fessler, an animal-control officer with the Boone County agency, Johnson had found his missing beast of burden.

This isn't Jack's first brush with fame, though. He had a recurring role years ago as the donkey in the Krohn Conservatory's Christmas Nativity scene.

Even so, it would seem this donkey's days of free range might be over. Johnson said he's taking precautions.

"I've already put a chain on the gate."


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