I found a web page called « Avoir un âne chez soi » — a phrase that could mean "having a jackass in the house." At first, I was afraid it might be.... well, never mind. It turns out to be a serious site about the logistical and financial issues you need to consider before you decide to keep an ass as a pet. Or a donkey — the dictionary says the donkey is the domesticated ass (Equus asinus).
Our neighbors to the northwest keep two donkeys, and adjacent to the vineyard they have a fenced-in meadow where the donkeys can graze once in a while. The donkeys are friendly — they like it when you pet them on the head and snout, patting them affectionately between the eyes. Callie's afraid of them. Maybe instinctively she knows that donkeys don't gladly tolerate dogs.
According to the keeping-a-donkey web site, a donkey's life span is about 40 years, so acquiring one is not a trivial matter. They are weaned at seven months, and you can expect to pay 350 to 450 euros to buy one. An adult donkey will cost nearly twice that at five years of age, and a donkey with a good pedigree can cost a lot more.
A donkey needs a hectare of pasture — that's about 2½ acres — for grazing. Since the donkey can turn a pasture into a sea of mud during the rainy season, the animal also needs a paddock where it can live, and some outdoor space so it can go outside, rain or shine. The donkey decides when it wants to go outside, and you have to keep donkeys penned in because they like to wander, explore, and graze on the neighbors' property when they can.
A donkey likes to graze on green plants, but it also will need 10 or 12 pounds (five kilos) of hay to eat daily, and five to ten liters of fresh, clean water to drink. Along with veterinary fees... well, it gets to be an expensive proposition. You have to be serious about it. Don't forget, too, that donkeys can make a lot of noise, and their hee-hawing is not particularly melodic.
The best I can figure, people keep donkeys just for the fun of it. I don't see anything about any practical reason for keeping one. I guess you could say the same thing about a dog or a cat. They are pets — animaux de compagnie. Keeping a donkey is just a hobby. Correct me if I'm wrong.