What started as a passion and love of long ears quickly grew from two donkeys to four donkeys and 1 mule. Before we knew it we had eleven unwanted and displaced animals. The projects began trying to find forever homes for the donkeys appropriate for adoption. We began the process of becoming a California Non-Profit Organization 501 (C) (3). Finally, with the light at the end of the tunnel we are on our way!
My first Donkey was Wilber, a gift from extended family when I moved to Florida. I only had him a couple of years before returning to California. He was given to a rancher to guard livestock and provide them with future mules. He was so much like a big dog, I was in love and would never forget him.
Hee Haw Place Donkey Rescue was Established in 2005
Bugs and his boy all grown up
Puzzle AKA Goliath
Years later my son was riding and showing in local summer JR rodeos. After a couple of wrecks and one good scare, he was done. Still horse crazy, he saw a driving demonstration and it was on again. He began taking driving lessons, from a local trainer. The person who has helped me and my rescue more than anyone, thank you Karina Benish of Tearsongs equine athletes. He began driving with Karina and her massive Shire, too big for my little 50 pound boy. The next visit we showed up and she introduced him to Bugs, his new partner. It was love at first sight a boy and his donkey. We eventually purchased Bugs and a cart, we also bought an 1890's children’s buckboard wagon. Bugs changed our lives forever and he has been the best donkey I have ever known.
Our first rescue was Buddy, a donkey with a bad reputation, and none of it was true. Buddy was a frightened, untrusting little donkey. Once Buddy figured out who Mama was, he was in my pocket. We had buddy for about 5 year before we found his perfect forever home. Buddy is living happily ever after with his adoptive parents and pasture pal.
Next came Ernie and Puzzle, two donkey who were rescued by a mule man. I was called to pick them up, when the man was facing major surgery. Thank goodness there are wonderful people in the world who consider their animal’s welfare too.
Ernie is a big grey with stripes, a bit of a juvenile delinquent. He has made great improvements with manors and basic training. He will be going for professional training as soon as funds are available.
Puzzle is actually Goliath, it was 6 months before his identity was discovered. We had searched for Goliath for a couple of years. Karina who had trained our Bugs, also trained Goliath, they were stable mates. Goliath is one of our rescue representatives, He is also a sanctuary animal, due to sever chronic choking.
Nacho was a Jack, who came to us through the help of Blue Apple Rescue. He was gelded and had a rough go, after a few months he fully recovered and went to his forever home. He was guarding sheep, and now is a best friend to a retired show horse.
Bandit is a mini mule who is very skittish and untrusting. He has suffered terrible abuse. He has a permanent indentation where his halter grew into his nose. He is very head and ear shy and difficult to catch. He was adopted to be a companion animal, after four years his companion had left the ranch. Bandit is back home and making progress. He will eat a cookie out of my hand and let me pet his face every evening. He is also the first one in his corral when called in from the pasture. Bandit loves routine, as long as he knows what to do, he'll do it quickly to prevent anyone from getting to close. Someday Bandit may find a new home.
Joey came to us from L.A. area, he has lots of scaring on his legs due to severe allergies. He is extremely fly sensitive. His former owner was beside herself trying to care for him. Joey improved slowly with prescription medications and ointments. He also has an arthritic knee. He is a sensitive donkeys that prefers to be the only pet and will do anything for you if you talk to him like a baby.
Smokey is a Shetland pony who was living with Bandit the mini mule. He came to us about six months after Bandit. Smokey has found his forever home on a horse training facility in Ramona. Smokey rounds up the horses... sounds like Smokey runs the ranch.
Curly Bill was rescued by a friend and came to us about a year later. Curly Bill is a big curly horse, the curls come from a recessive gene. Curly has been in clinics and participated in Cowboy Mounted Shooting. He has been on cattle drives and put in miles on the trail. Recently Curly was ridden from Mexico to Garner Valley, the pre run for the fundraising ride "Bishop or Bust". Curly will be going on the ride from Garner Valley to Bishop for Mule Days, beginning in April 2015.
Arlo came to us from campo, he was about two and had been recently gelded. He was a big, sweet, gentle donkey. He was losing his baby teeth and with the heard in a ten acre pasture. After only a few months with us, Arlo died without any apparent cause of death. It is so hard to understand how and why this happened, he seemed to be in perfect health. We were devastated. It is very difficult to get over losing an animal you’re trying to save.
Grady is the sweetest and the oldest donkey I have known. She came to us from Valley Center. Her owner moved away and she could not make the trip. The wonderful people that loved her and took care of her, helped load her and sent us home with her favorite cookies.
Our newest donkey was given to us as a rescue representative. His name is Duffy, he is a mini donkey with a giant personality. Currently we are working on his certification as a therapy animal. Duffy will be used to educate the public, visit nursing homes and make appearances. Duffy entered his first parade on the fourth of July, and won first place. A star is born.