Donkey Jamboree brings together children of all ages
By CHERYL JENSEN
Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue held a Donkey Jamboree as a special fundraising event on Saturday, March 12 in the Eureka Resort parking lot. The event brought together a huge crowd of participants, young and old. Two donkeys, Bo and Pepper, entertained young and old. Plush toys, donkey t-shirts and sweatshirts were available for sale.
Food vendors were there with tables and seats for those in attendance and the crowd was entertained by the band “Bottoms Up”.
The donkeys were social and wanted to interact with the participants. Bo and Pepper have been trained to be around people and are willing to let kids pet them. They were also trained to accept a halter, walk on a leash and stay tied.
The donkeys are handled by volunteers so they get used to being around people and can even become a pet.
Wild donkeys are losing their habitat. In Scenic, Arizona, the Rescue owns 20 acres of land at Dunkle Ranch, where donkeys are brought in from Death Valley National Park and other locations and cared for until they can be adopted or placed. in a sanctuary.
“I love taking care of the donkeys,” said Peaceful Valley volunteer Tom Hermansader. “It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”
Donkeys are considered non-native and can be destructive to desert plants and Indian sites. The Donkey Rescue works with government agencies to capture and transport donkeys.
Many people like to adopt donkeys to guard their property. “They make great pets, keep coyotes away and clean up unwanted vegetation like fresh pine needles or palm bottoms,” said Pam, another volunteer.
Pam explained that the donkeys are fed hay and other foods, but their favorite treats are baby carrots and sliced apples. Visitors often bring these treats when they come to Scenic for tours.
Mark and Amy Myers from San Angelo, Texas came to talk about their 132-acre Peaceful Valley Ranch. The Myers started the rescue nearly 20 years ago when they bought their first donkey, Izzy, as a pet.
They have a nationwide network of ranching facilities where donkeys can be placed on leased land or adopted by individuals. The two training centers are in Scenic and Lynchburg, Virginia.
When individuals wish to adopt, they are first selected and then sign a contract to care for and feed the animals.
Donkeys were first brought to the Americas in 1492 by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage. They have been used for transportation, agriculture and mining in the Caribbean. Some were brought to the United States and they were used in Spanish mission building, railroad construction, and mining operations in western regions.
Visitors are welcome to visit the Donkey Rescue at Scenic by appointment. To schedule a free visit to Scenic, call Joan Dunkle at 928-347-4506.
“Saturday is a popular day to visit,” Joan said.