A zoo employee feeds Monika the donkey at St. Petersburg's zoo on Monday. (Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters)
After 19 years with the Maryinsky Ballet Company of St. Petersburg, Russia, Monika the donkey, above, has retired, Reuters reported. At a farewell party given by the Maryinsky, Monika, 21, waltzed with one of the company’s ballerinas and was given a carrot cake, a pinafore and a kerchief. Monika’s principal role was in “Don Quixote,” carrying Quixote’s overweight servant, Sancho Panza. “She loves to perform, and she loves applause,” said Tatyana Solomatina, a spokeswoman for the St. Petersburg zoo, which is home to Monika between performances. “She knew the exact time to appear in the ballet, even without someone accompanying her.” Monika will be succeeded by Alina.
-- New York Times