Feel Good Sunday: A Man, His Donkey and the Open Road

story by Jobin Panicker, WFAA

“We just wander around like stray dogs. Sometimes he wants to go south because it’s too cold,”

GRANBURY, Texas — Charlie Hill wouldn’t say he’s homeless, but rather, a man who is free and on an adventure.

He gets to see Texas at his donkey’s pace.

“He’s in charge of this expedition… He sure is,” Hill said of his 9-year-old donkey named Smokey.

There is no hurry to where they are going. News 8 caught up with them as they finally decided to rest up in Granbury.

“We just wander around like stray dogs. Sometimes he wants to go south because it’s too cold,” Charlie laughed.

It is a life Charlie decided to have on a whim 12 years ago. He told News 8 that he was done with the hustle and bustle of life and work where he says he was once a captain in commercial shipping.

He says he also got tired of depending on others. So, he now has a 9-year-old stubborn donkey with an odd craving for Coca-Cola.

“He’s family,” Charlie said. “I don’t have any other family.”

Now, Smokey is practically a celebrity wherever they go. There are always vehicles pulling up on the side of the road, wanting pictures of the pair.

“It was just great to see a guy that’s going about his way,” said one on-looker.

“I just wanted to share a story that happened to me. I hoped it would speak to somebody,” Cook said.

And it did — the post has more than 4,000 Facebook shares.

Charlie and Smokey are living off what they get from stranger’s kindness. Charlie tells News 8 that after passing through our neck of the woods, they’re off to the Red River counties.