Country Extra MagazineWilber stole Staci Greene’s heart years ago. The donkey was an unusual gift that left quite an impression.
“He was so much like a big dog,” Staci says. “I was in love with him and will never forget him.”
Years later, after moving back to her parents’ ranch in Ramona, Staci started making plans for a donkey rescue project. She began taking in unwanted donkeys and mules, naming her venture Hee Haw Place Donkey Rescue. She learned about the animals mainly through word of mouth, from auctions where donkeys were sold and from the Humane Society.
Hee Haw Place has had as many as 13 animals at one time, but thanks to Staci’s success in finding people who are qualified to adopt the donkeys, she now owns just six—two donkeys, two mules and two horses. (Meet Toefu, the rescue dog who became a dog whisperer.)
She makes sure the new homes are suitable for the animals and that prospective owners are sincere in wanting to add a donkey to their families. If an adoption doesn’t work out, Staci always welcomes the animal back to her ranch.
Country Extra MagazineDonkeys require minimal care, she says. Their hooves should be trimmed once or twice a year, and they need access to a large pasture where they can roam and graze.
But they need more than space. “When I see a donkey just standing, it breaks my heart,” Staci says. “These are working animals, and they need jobs.” (This is what pets in animal shelters wish you knew.)
Donkeys are relatively easy to train for riding and for pulling a cart or a wagon. Staci trains them and helps them find work and purpose in their new forever homes.
Staci’s animals always walk in the parade held during Mule Days every May in Bishop, California (this year’s event is May 23-28). They also show off their training. In 2016, Poppy the mule won a championship title, while the donkeys brought home ribbons for first, second and third place. Love and patience for the win!
For more information or to contact Staci about adoptions, visit heehawplacedonkeyrescue.org.