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“I’ve had animals all my life; we understand each other,” Darrell Schultz of Charlotte said Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, while feeding his donkey Darlin’ in the field near his farm near the corner of Packard Highway and Stewart Road.(Photo: Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal)CHARLOTTE At four feet tall, with a pink muzzle that stands out against her thick coat of white hair, Darlin’ has kept to herself for the last 15 years.

OwnerDarrell Schultz, 73, stops short of calling her a “people” donkey. Instead, she serves as a “guard,” protecting the farm from muskrats and coyotes, and keeping the cows who sometimes share her pasturecompany.

She often stands by herself, reluctant to come towardhim when heneeds to trim her hoofs. He usually fills his pocket with treats to coax her close whenever he visits her pasture at the corner of North Steward Road and Packard Highway.

Darlin’ just doesn’t like the limelight,Schultz said.

Her seemingly sudden local celebrity status is a surprise to the Charlotte farmer.

Thanks to a Facebook post written by local resident and mother, Jenny Bowerman, on Jan. 3, Charlotte area residents have come forward en masse to share their affection for Darlin’.

Many have confessed a shared curiosity about the introverted Jennywho’s lived in the same community her whole life.

Young children ask their parents to drive by Darlin’s corner pasture every day, and they often slow down and wave when they go by. Long time residents say her presence is a constant they’ve come to count on.

A short trek out to her partially enclosed shelter, and a few treats, gets you face to face with Darlin’, but short of a few sniffsand the occasional ear twitch, she’s unconcerned with any adoring public. Or media.

Rest assured, Schultz said, the notoriety hasn’t yetgoneto her head.

Her children, Ava, 7,
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and Fisher, 8, started makinga point to look for her every time they drove by but they mistakenly thought she was a he, and named her Gregory.

Darrell Schultz of Charlotte estimates Darlin the donkey is 18 years old. (Photo: Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal)

“We had no idea who owned her and we knew nothing about her,” Bowerman said.

Last week she decided to investigate.

“I’m not sure who the owner of the donkey is on the corner of Packard and Stewart but my kids are obsessed with it,” read her Jan. 3 Facebook post in a local Charlotte group.”They named it Gregory, they talk about it all the time and they look forward to seeing him whenever we get a chance to drive by. Just wanted to let you know how much joy he brings to our family.”

Bowerman said she expected a few comments, and possibly a bit of an explanation about the animal.

But she never expected Darlin’s fellow admirers would come out of the woodwork, with their own well wishes and stories about the little white donkey.

Eighty comments, and more than 260 “likes” later, Bowerman had revealed Darlin’s fan club.

Among its members is Saige Shook and her daughter, Lilli, 7. They’ve lived on Packard Highway, less than half a mile from Darlin’s pasture, for the last year.

Shook said they heard the donkey before they ever saw her. The sound of her loud, forcefulbray travels all the way to their house, she said, but they’ve come to adore it.

“We talk about her every day,” Shook said. “I guess maybe it’s because there aren’t that many donkeys around. Every time we leave our house, Lilli says, ‘Where’s the donkey? Where’s Hee haw.”

Andrea Dunning’s two boys, Chase, 4, and Carter, 2, once asked if Darlin’ might be a unicorn. Her bright white fur made them wonder, she said. They’ve been passing by her pasture on the way to their daycarenearly every day for a year.
the north face mens After 15 years of anonymity