Oh, bless!

Ladies of a certain vintage often prefer to keep
their age to themselves. But Rosie the donkey
has no chance of doing that.

At the grand old age of 54 she is thought to be the
oldest of her species in the world. According to
Guinness World Records, the current oldest
donkey, named Suzy, was from New Mexico
and died in 2002 at 54.

Her owner, Lesley Manger (above with Rosie),
believes she is definitely in her fifties although
is unsure of her exact age. The usual
donkey lifespan is 25-35 years.

"We don't have an exact date of birth for her, but
talking to people who have owned her over the years,
she should be about 54," she said. "Her teeth have
ground right down and a dentist who looked
at her said she'd be about that old."

Other contenders for the crown include a Blackpool
donkey called Lively Laddie, who was said to
have reached 62, although his age was never
formally verified. He died in 2005.

Mrs Manger took Rosie in at Kenstud Pony Rescue,
in Belper, Derbyshire, in 2006, along with another
donkey Toby.
The two had been companions
for 40 years but their elderly owner
could no longer care for them.

They lived happily at the rescue center until last
year when Toby died.
"Donkeys are like swans
- they pal up with a friend for life and when
one dies, the kindest thing in some
cases is to put the surviving one
to sleep," Mrs Manger said.

But Rosie has since bonded with a new
companion, an Arabian pony named Gemma,
and is enjoying a daily trot in her field.

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