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2016 YEAR IN REVIEW -- Saturday December 31st, 2016

One year ago today, Virginia Donkey Rescue incorporated, and started what we thought would be a long process to obtain our 501c3 status as a nonprofit from the IRS. We thought we would have a year to plan and prepare and make everything perfect.

We had our IRS determination letter 5 weeks later, and the donkeys (and other critters) started flowing in including:

  • 65 donkeys
  • 5 horses
  • 5 goats
  • 3 potbellied pigs
  • 3 llamas

We don't leave animals behind  that need homes, but only equines are supported by VDR donations - the rest become members of our personal farm until we can find a good home for them.

We also assisted 3 donkeys and their owners with our Rescue In Place Program and fostered 27 donkeys for Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue (also not supported by VDR donors).

Click here to see the faces of 2016 photo album.

In 2016 we also:

  • Adopted 40 VDR Equines into new homes
  • Adopted 21 PVDR donkeys into new homes
  • Provided permanent sanctuary to 4 unadoptable donkeys
  • Provided 10 equines with temporary sanctuary until they can be adopted or returned to their owners as part of our Temporary Surrender program.


This left us with 14 adoptable VDR equines at the end of 2016 (2 of which have adoptions pending) and 6 adoptable PVDR donkeys, all of which have adoptions pending.


From an organizational standpoint this year, we also:

  • Obtained a $2,500 grant from the Binky Foundation to cover half of our intake shelter costs.
  • Received an amazing donation of a 2000 Ford F350 Diesel Truck when our personal vehicle broke down due to heavy use hauling donkeys.  We've but 12,105 miles on the truck in the 5 months since we've had it.
  • Obtained a $4,500 grant from the ASPCA for our Rescue in Place Program.
  • Hosted Donktoberfest, an annual fund and awareness building event.

Watch our Year End Thank You Video - Without You!


Meet Levi! Intake #2 -- Monday February 8th, 2016

Well, that sure didn't take long.  Levi makes our 2nd donkey in less than 6 weeks from opening our doors.

Levi is a standard gelding, brownish/dun with the typical donkey cross. He's approximately 9-10 years of age. He is an owner surrender (due to the owners situation, not because of anything Levi did) that was picked up on Monday 2/8/16.

What we were told:
His former owner rescued him from an auction a year ago as a companion to a senior horse. They were both pasture pets. The farrier spent the last year getting Levi's feet back in shape as they were severely overgrown. His former owner had him on a worming schedule, and Levi is current on rabies and tetanus. Levi got along fine with the horse until it came to feeding time. Levi wanted what the horse was having, and the owner didn't have an effective way to separate them. This and other unrelated factors were causing the owner undue stress. Re-homing Levi was an effort to reduce some of the stress. He is in no way a problem donkey. There were two little girls running around him and he never flinched.

What we suspect:
I think he's older than 9-10, but the dentist will confirm that next month. My gut is also telling me that Levi may have been a former Amish riding donkey, based on a few little data points and a swayed back. I think he's been handled roughly in the past, and not like a pet, and likely always housed with horses.

What we've observed so far:
This is a NICE, CALM, gelding. He's in quarantine now with Georgie, our first intake, so they have each other for company. Georgie (a recent gelding) is trying to initiate "Jack" play with Levi, but Levi isn't having any of it - and seems entirely uninterested in Georgie . I'm guessing he's been a gelding a long time. He's cautious of us, but not fearful. It should be easy to gain his trust.

Training status:
- Feet: He picks up all 4 feet with NO fuss.
- Halter: He initially avoids contact, but quickly acquiesces.
- Lead: He's a little reluctant and balks at the first few steps.
- Loading: He jumped right on the trailer, like he does it every day.
- People: He doesn't trust humans entirely, but doesn't seem fearful.

What's next for Levi:
- Finish quarantine on 2/29
- Get vaccines, microchip and wellness exam from vet next time he's here
- See the equine dentist the first half of March
- Get a slightly overdue trim - scheduled for next Friday

My prediction for Levi:
I think once he knows love from a human he will be a pocket donkey and will follow you to the moon and back. Due to his back, he absolutely can not be used to ride, carry or pull anything. He'd probably be happiest with a low-key horse again (none that are rambunctious and might jump on him!) and in an environment where no one expects much of him except a little cuddle every once in a while.

We will update this post when he is ready for adoption and will post his adoption fee after the vet and dentist have seen him.

Our First Intake as Virginia Donkey Rescue -- Thursday January 21st, 2016

This actually took longer than I expected - 3 weeks since opening our doors, and we have our first VDR donkey!  When I met him, he was shaking from the cold.  Despite not being handled in 4 years, he let me walk right up and cuddle him. I thought to myself, "I want to hug him, and love him, and call him George," - a rather obscure reference to an old Bugs Bunny cartoon.  When I shared the news with our Board of Directors about him, one of them wrote back, "I want to hug him, and love him, and call him George".  So, meet George .. or Georgie, because that fits him better. 

It's hard to tell here, but Georgie is a very compact, small standard donkey.  He has shorty legs and a short body, and is just so cute and sweet.  He has a longish main and forelock, and is very fuzzy.

Of course we want to keep them all when they come in, but in Georgie's case, we just might.  He was obviously trained and loved until he was one year old.  He still loves people - although is understandably a little shy.  He still remembers how to lift his front legs (we haven't tried the back yet), and he's good about getting his halter on.  We still need to work on leading, but that will come in time. 

I think Georgie will make a great VDR Ambassador and as our first donkey intake, he deserves that honor.

~ Kimberly Clark, Executive Director