Spanish Language Blog

Borriquillo Posted by on Aug 26, 2010 in Spanish Culture

There are many indigenous species in Spain, but donkeys are among the ones I love the most. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have just a dog or a cat when I was a child, but I also considered our donkey as my personal pet. Although this animal’s name is a synonym for stubbornness, donkeys are intelligent, friendly, playful, and eager to learn. Their misplaced reputation for obstinacy is due to their intense feeling of self-preservation: you can’t force a donkey into doing something he is not confident about.

There are many emblematic figures in Spanish culture that are connected to this noble animal: we can’t think about Don Quijote and his inseparable squire Sancho Panza without the figure of one’s horse, and the other’s donkey. Or “Platero”, the friendly donkey of our childhood readings by the Nobel Prize winner Juan Ramón Jiménez!

Unfortunately, donkeys are an endangered species, and not many people seem to care about it: at the beginning of the 20th century there were about 1,250,000 donkeys in the country, but now their number has dwindled to just 65.000. Traditionally they have been used as working animals in agriculture, but the mechanization of rural work left these animals without “employment”, so the need to keep them decreased.

We have to honour the work of charity associations such as the Donkey Sanctuary, and their Spanish brand “El Refugio del Burrito” in Málaga. They care for donkeys and mules, protect them from abuse, monitor their work conditions, as in the case of the touristic “burro taxis” in Mijas, and use them in therapy with physically or mentally disabled children. The benefits these noble animals offer to them are amazing!

Now let Julito introduce himself: he is one of the guests in this sanctuary. I hope that, after reading his story, you will want to become more involved with them, or maybe adopt one! You can do that here:


“Julito has a very interesting story: He was rescued by a man in Madrid, who saved him from being used as lion bait in a Safari Park! Once rescued, Julito decided it was time to develop his full potential… and started a singing career that earned him his name (After Spanish crooner Julio Iglesias)! Indeed, braying is what Julito seems to enjoy the most. Julito was relinquished to us when his rescuer, who loves him dearly, could no longer take care of him. He wanted to make sure that Julito had the best possible life. We are proud to present this Donkey Divo in our adoption scheme!

In spite of being a true donkey crooner, our charming Julito is not a divo at all, and is always kind and sharing with his donkey friends and neighbours. Ask Lungile! Ever since Julito moved in to his beautiful paddock-villa, he became good friends with neighbouring Lungile. Every morning, when Julito has decided his diet does not allow him any more of his delicious extra feed, he picks up his bucket, knocks on Lungile’s fence, and passes him the treat. He will then croon a beautiful bray, as his friend enjoys the delicatessen… you just can’t get more generous than that!”

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About the Author: Magda

Hi all! I’m Magda, a Spanish native speaker writing the culture posts in the Transparent Language Spanish blog. I have a Bachelor’s in English Philology and a Master’s in Linguistics and Literature from the University of Granada, in Spain. I have also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and then worked as an English teacher in several schools and academies for several years. Last year was my first at university level. In addition, I work as a private tutor, teaching English and Spanish as a foreign language to students and adults. In my free time, I’m an avid reader and writer, editing and collaborating in several literary blogs. I have published my first poetry book recently. And last but not least, I love photography!