When I first visited Little Longears Miniature Donkey Rescue in New Oxford, PA I fell in love with a mammoth donkey there who’s name is Big Clyde. I decided to sponsor him and took this video of him enjoying some fresh new hay. Since that time, unfortunately, Big Clyde had to be put down due to an incurable health challenge but he had those he trusted most around him and went very peacefully. Now it’s time for me to find a new donkey to sponsor. Maybe you can sponsor a donkey too!
On the wonderful Island of St. John’s there are small clans of wild donkeys who are cared for by the whole community. They roam on their own and are simply precious. Of course we’re asked not to feed them but people roll down their windows and offer treats. It was very sweet to see them strolling together along the side of the road and they seemed very content and happy. This is a culture where the donkeys are respected and loved.
My husband and I visited Marrakech, Morocco this spring on our return from a wedding. It was utterly heartbreaking to see how the donkeys were treated there, and hard to believe that humans still don’t understand how precious all animals are. Donkeys are the sweetest, most patient and enduring animals and have carried our burdens for thousands of years. Seeing the disrespect shown to them, as well as to the thousands of stray cats and dogs and horses was simply unconscionable. We must do all we can to teach our children to respect and be kind to animals all over the world.
I’d like to introduce you to:
Foster Hill Farm
21 Stafford Street
Stafford Springs, CT 06076
The miniature donkey breeding program at Foster Hill Farm has been in place since 2009. Foster Hill Farm has one of the largest breeding programs for miniature donkeys in the Northeast. Roughly 40 donkeys are kept at the farm and each year about 10 foals are born. Visitors are able to walk through the barns and see the donkeys. In addition to miniature donkeys, Foster Hill Farm has multiple spectacular greenhouses and are known for their tomatoes, chili peppers and potted plants. It is an absolutely beautiful farm and well worth the visit!
On my first visit to Foster Hill Farm, I spent several hours meeting the mama donkeys and their foals. Here’s a foal fast asleep while two mama donkeys watch over her to make sure she’s alright.
And here’s another baby donkey nursing.
And here I am with my PlayMove&Sing Inc. friend Ann on visitors ‘day for a tour. We’re standing with the donkey who I groomed, harnessed, and took for a walk.
I also learned how to clean the donkey’s hooves! It wasn’t easy to lift up her leg but I managed.! And I later learned that she was pregnant!
And this is a most magnificent donkey called a mammoth donkey. Her name is Shawnee Moon.
“Moon has the tough job of watching over all the foals and mini donkeys and takes this very seriously:-) She loves the foals and keeps an eye out for any possible threats to them. She is truly a gentle giant…the sweetest most loving donkey. She is so big yet so careful to be gentle with all who interact with her. We couldn’t love her more.”
And finally, I took this picture right before saying goodbye to Foster Hill Farm. This is a very pregnant donkey! One could only hope that she would go into labor very soon and feel very relieved when the foal had been born. Being a breeding donkey is a lot of work! These animals are remarkable. Patient, sensitive, gentle, and make wonderful companions.
I’d like to introduce you to:
New York Wildlife Rescue Center, Middleburg, NY
Director/President: Wes Laraway, 518-256-5911
Vice President: Kelly Martin, 518-827-4616 (land), 518-817-7186 (mobile)
My husband and I have visited NY Wildlife Rescue in Middleburgh, NY twice and have been in awe at the scale of work they are doing there. In addition to the handful of miniature donkeys I initially went there to see, I discovered that Wes Laraway has an entire barn dedicated to injured raptors who require constant care, as well as parrots, cockatoos, geese, goats, bobcats, horses, Great Danes, and an entire menagerie of orphaned baby animals of all varieties. It is an endless labor of love, and skill, to maintain this multi-acre jewel on top of a mountain sitting above the valley of Middleburg.
Here is Wes Laraway, the President, with an injured baby eagle, and Oscar, one of the resident Bobcats at the center.
“Our wildlife rehabilitation program has expanded immensely since we initiated it in 2007. We now rescue almost all species of wildlife in NY State, with the exception of mountain lions and bears.
We continue to visit many different events in the area, as well, presenting our educational program, “Wildlife Alive!”, and are “partially”* available for tours of the facility, by appointment only. (Animals to be released cannot be visited by the public but some of our permanent residents will be viewable by guided tour.)
We received our IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit status in November of 2008. All donations to NYWRC are tax exempt within the limits of the laws governing charitable contributions.** Please visit often, because things happen fast around here!”
Here’s a baby porcupine rescued this summer. If you have a chance to visit, to donate or to volunteer, do reach out to Wes and Kelly to arrange a tour!
I’d like to introduce you to:
Little Brays of Sunshine
35 Ulster Ave
Ulster Park, NY
The Little Brays of Sunshine serve as therapy donkeys and donkey ambassadors visiting nursing homes, schools, fairs, etc. and is located at 35 Ulster Ave, Ulster Park, NY.
This is Susie and her mother Cinnamon. At the end of my visit, I had left the barnyard heading to my car. And there Susie was, coming to say goodbye and get a little rub. I was very touched and have not forgotten her sensitivity and affection.
It’s feeding time at the Donkey Park. I helped Steve carry out the pats of hay which are laid out in a long line on the ground. The donkeys shared very naturally and were happy to eat alongside one another peacefully.
Here’s a glimpse of Steve who cares for his 13 donkeys. They are a very special group, each with his/her own story. They’re incredibly friendly and gentle and patient and allowed me to help groom them and feed them and help with cleaning up the barnyard which is an ongoing work throughout each day.
Steve shares the donkeys as Therapy Animals at nursing homes, schools, fairs and other locations and programs. You can learn more by vising the links above!
Here’s a hilarious picture I took at Little Longears Donkey Rescue in New Oxford, PA. It’s a donkey wearing a protective shield so flies won’t get in her eyes. The donkey can see perfectly well through the fabric, we just can’t see her. She has no idea that the mask is painted! She was so sweet and made all the children giggle. And look at the size of those ears!
Daniel sticks his tongue out whenever there are treats around. It’s really very funny! He’s wearing a protective shield over his eyes to keep the bugs away, but he can see perfectly well and is looking for those treats! Here is Daniel’s rescue story:
Daniel arrived at Little Longears rescue from a terrible neglect situation. He was timid, beat up and scarred from fighting with intact (not gelded) mules. Daniel wasn’t gelded, either, which increased his frustration with and aggression towards the other equines. His hooves, which had never been trimmed, were in awful condition. Several years later, and after getting gelded, he is one of the sweetest, easiest-going boys at Little Longears! He has a wonderful personality, and a cute trick of sticking out his tongue when he wants a treat. Daniel, always a favorite among visitors, will enjoy his golden years at Longears rescue.
Erika drives every month from Maryland to New Oxford, PA to lend a hand. She also sponsors a donkey named Brighty. When Erika sat down out in the field, all the donkeys strolled over to get petted! Erika began volunteering at Little Longears back when their rescue farm was in Maryland. When they moved to New Oxford, PA, Erika decided to make the trip every few weeks to continue to volunteer!