Payton Dankworth is not your ordinary “teen mom”. While most are a parent to human babies, this girl from Ballinger, Texas is a mother to a furry, four-legged creature – a donkey!
It all began when the 17-year-old received a call from a friend who lives on a horse ranch. This friend was riding out horses when he came across a heartbreaking sight – a starving baby donkey who had been abandoned by his mother. The donkey looked malnourished and wasn’t doing very well.
That friend knew Payton was an animal lover, so he reached out to her for help.
Payton told The Dodo: “He asked if I would like to try keep him alive. He told me that he wasn’t in very good health and he probably wouldn’t make it through the night. I am such an animal lover, and there was no way I was gonna let that baby die.”
It was a request that she simply couldn’t refuse. So Payton immediately said yes, and set out to fetch the donkey who she decided to name Jack.
Jack’s first night in their home was critical. His chances of survival were looking slim given his emaciated state. But Payton was determined to help him regain his energy.
“The first night was the hardest night with him, trying to get him to eat and use the bathroom so we would know that his insides weren’t shutting down. After we got through the first night he started taking a bottle and going to the bathroom,” Payton told Bored Panda.
With Payton in charge of nursing the donkey back to health, an inevitable bond formed between the pair. The high schooler said that it was the first time that she had ever taken care of a donkey, but judging from Jack’s quick recovery, Payton didn’t seem like a novice in taking care of animals like him. In fact, she became the perfect adoptive mother to Jack.
“Jack has shown me that he depends on me, and he really does. He gets a bottle about every two hours, and when I feed him it just makes me happy,” Payton shared.
Thanks to intensive care coupled with plenty of love and affection, Jack finally blossomed into a healthy and happy donkey. From being on the verge of death a few weeks ago, Jack is now a young animal full of life. He became really playful, and Payton said that he especially liked playing with her dogs.
Without a doubt, Jack really belonged in the Dankworth household.
“He’s fitting in so well!” Payton said. “I take Jack on walks and he rides in my car with me, too. He’s kinda like a dog and follows me everywhere.”
Fortunately, even though the family hadn’t intended to add another four-legged member in their residence, they have plenty of space in their property for Jack, so keeping him wouldn’t be a problem.
Payton literally saved Jack’s life, and having the donkey helped her determine how she wanted to live hers.
Recently, Payton wasn’t sure what field of study she would like to pursue after graduating high school, but her experiences with Jack helped shed light on this matter. Now, she is certain that she wants to help other creatures for a living.
“Jack has really inspired me to go into that because I just love animals. Seeing how far he has come — from barely having enough strength to stand up to now being able to run around and chase my dogs — is one of the greatest things I could ever ask for. I’m so proud,” Payton said.
What a beautiful story of recovery! We’re glad that Payton and Jack found each other, for they really make the perfect duo.
To see more of Jack and his adventures, you may follow him on Instagram.
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