The Book Corner:

Flash: The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me About Life, Faith, and Second Chances

by Rachel Anne Ridge

As you can tell from our lead story, the summer focus for many people is on horses — racing or rescuing them.

Often overlooked by the public are the donkeys and ponies who are companions for equines at the track and frequently discarded when the racing season is over. Donkeys are extremely endearing and loyal creatures. Often adopted as pets, they face abandonment or the slaughter house when people tire of them or the care that they need.

We all know about stray cats and dogs, but how about stray donkeys? Well, Flash was a stray and disheveled donkey who was taken in by a family and changed their life. The author, Rachel Anne Ridge, began a journey with him and as he grew, so did she – on a spiritual, emotional, educational, professional and intellectual trip.

Each chapter is devoted to one of Flash’s adventures or lifestyle and the parallels with what is going on in Rachel’s life. It is an easy read and, for those who don’t know donkeys very well, a great way to learn about them.

For educators, there is a study guide if needed and the book can be used on all levels. In fact, it is a wonderful book club selection and, by using the selected topics, a perfect way to educate people about these amazing barnyard companions.

Making the connection with Flash opened up worlds to Rachel. He has his own Facebook page! She has become an advocate for donkeys and now has a website detailing his happy days with Henry, a rescued mini-donkey, to share his — and her — life. In the back of the book there’s a list of rescue organizations and facts about donkeys and their treatment worldwide.

So — a chance encounter on a dark country road not only saved Flash but encouraged and enabled another being to become a spokesperson for many other unfortunate animals. It’s an inspiring example of the power each of us has. Even though the book has strong spiritual overtones, its basic messages of kindness, love, and welcoming unexpected animals into our lives explain the power they have to change us. When many of us are told that our animals are lucky to be with us, so many of us feel just the opposite — that we are the lucky ones. For Rachel, Flash was truly an unexpected blessing.

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New York State Humane Association Humane Review, eNewsletter, Summer 2022.