When a Donkey Loves an Emu: Animal Refuge Struggles to Find Home for Inseparable Couple

A North Carolina animal shelter is looking for a forever home for a most unlikely couple.

This is a little ditty 'bout Jack and Diane, a donkey and an emu, down in North Carolina land.

The cross-species couple was rescued from a dilapidated farm by Jennifer Gordon and her Carolina Waterfowl Rescue staff, who had no idea the animals were joined at the hip, so to speak.

She later named them Jack and Diane, from the John Mellencamp song of the same name. 

They were among several critters rescued from a house outside Charlotte where renters had left behind the donkey, the emu, cats locked inside a bedroom, some chickens and assorted others.

It was a mess, Gordon said. And when they tried to load the donkey into a trailer, all holy heck broke lose. "They can't be separated," Gordon told InsideEdition.com. "The donkey started going crazy." The emu was beside herself.  

So the two were put in the trailer together. They promptly laid down and went to sleep. "They were all cuddled up together. Just kind of snuggled up," she said. "Which seemed odd."

Odder still, Gordon would later think, was the reaction from total strangers when she posted photos of the two on her group's Facebook page. "Thousands of people are sending messages and calling," she said. She has done interviews with journalists in France and Canada. Someone in London wanted her to send Jack and Diane overseas.

"I don't even know to do that," she said, incredulous at the request. "I mean, I'm sure I could find someone closer," she said, laughing.

It will take her at least a week to go through all the adoption requests, she said. The group runs background checks on potential adopters before handing over its animals.

The donkey and the emu arrived last Monday. There already was a male emu at the shelter, and other donkeys, but Jack and Diane wanted nothing to do with them.

Gordon said she initially thought she could pair the female emu with the male, and put the donkey in with the rescue's other donkeys. 

That didn't go over so well, she said. Jack attacked the other donkeys because he thought they were going to harm Diane.

Just getting them out of the trailer was high drama for this four-legged version of Romeo and Juliet.

"As soon as we got the donkey out, he just started crying," Gordon recounted. "It was a horrible sound. It was like a bleating, and I've never heard any of our donkeys do that." The poor emu had to be carried out. "She just wouldn't move," Gordon added.

And after the donkey attacked his equine brethren, Gordon said it just made more sense to keep Jack and Diane together.

"Whenever we moved them away from each other, they just got frantic," she said.

What does she think their bond is about?

"They were in a pretty small, confined area in the other place and they just had to seek companionship from each other," she answered. "I think they just found comfort in each other and that's all they know."