Smart AssBy: Amelia Kinkade, Margaret Winslow


How a Donkey Challenged Me to Accept His True Nature & Rediscover My Own

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“This unusual, engaging story of a woman and her donkey will undoubtedly win many hearts.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Winslow’s writing is at times laugh-out-loud funny, including her recollections of riding Caleb through what she thought was an abandoned psychiatric center and competing in a dressage competition. It is also poignant as she struggles with how best to train with Caleb while maintaining a challenging work-life balance. A moving and humorous account of what a woman learned about herself as she trained a donkey.”
— Booklist
“Adoption — be it of a cat, a child, or in Margaret Winslow’s case, a donkey — demands time, trust, and the flexibility to alter one’s expectations. This tender story of a frustrated academic and an indomitable beast delivers the drama of this struggle and, ultimately, the gift of love.”
— Tina Traster, author of Rescuing Julia Twice and director/producer of the documentary Catnip Nation
“Laugh and cry as Margaret Winslow parks her ego to accept the honest reflection a donkey provides — endearing comedy and blatant humiliation.”
— Karlene Stange, DVM, author of The Spiritual Nature of Animals
“A testament to the power of love and forgiveness, no matter how long humans take to really hear what animals tell them from deep within their hearts. A complex story with an ultimately simple message, Smart Ass has a happy and touching ending for both Caleb and his finally centered human.”
— Best Friends Magazine
“Donkeys are amazing animal beings. Twice my life was changed by an up-close-and-personal meeting with a donkey who seemed to know precisely what I was thinking and feeling. So I fully understand Margaret Winslow’s being rescued by Caleb’s charm, presence, and sense of humor, along with his ability to trust and to forgive. I hope Smart Ass enjoys a broad global audience because there are so many life lessons to be learned from the nonhuman animals who bless our lives if we allow them in.”
— Marc Bekoff, PhD, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals
“I love Margaret Winslow’s book and all it teaches us about the true nature of life, from the power of love to the reality of animal communication. More than anything, Smart Ass teaches us about reverence for life.”
— Dr. Bernie S. Siegel, author of Love, Animals & Miracles and 365 Prescriptions for the Soul
“No creatures are more misunderstood than donkeys. They challenge us to look inside ourselves for the answers to their problems, and in doing so they help us grow as humans. Every donkey will take you on a journey of self-discovery if you let them, and Caleb is no different. He has a message for you about the way we treat and respect animals, each other, and ourselves. Heartbreaking, funny, encouraging, and enlightening, Smart Ass is a beautifully written story that questions our own stubbornness as a species and asks us to learn how to trust ourselves.”
— Ben Hart, animal behaviorist and trainer at Hart’s Horsemanship and the Donkey Sanctuary
“Smart Ass inspires us with a delightful odd-couple relationship between a white donkey and a middle-aged college professor, a grand story of humorous, wise insights into the challenges and rewards of following one’s unlikely hopes and dreams. Margaret Winslow’s story of Caleb the donkey unfolds as a mythic tale — wild, tender, and at times dangerous — of a woman who faces midlife issues by purchasing a stubborn, willful, and affectionate long-eared member of the equine family. Readers travel the rocky trail of their mutual life journeys, hammering out hard-won accomplishments of cross-species communication and finally arriving at a new and better way of living through loyalty to one’s true self.”
— Trish Broersma, author of Riding into Your Mythic Life
“Smart Ass is a remarkable, finely written memoir with both an engaging story and a surprising lesson. As author Margaret Winslow pursues her dream and learns to listen to her seven-hundred-pound donkey, she learns to listen to her true self. The chapters flow forward with skillfully crafted scenes, leading the reader to root for both Margaret and Caleb — and finally to share in their lifelong lesson of trust and forgiveness.”
— Susan M. Tiberghien, author of One Year to a Writing Life
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