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PHOTO FEATURE: For the love of donkeys

Nothing beats the bond between a man and his donkey.
September 26, 2013 - 11:30 AM

KAMLOOPS – It's true. Donkeys can be stubborn. Yet there are stereotypes out there that are false and that's one of the battles Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge continues to face on a regular basis.

Donkeys are also social, need maintenance at 'the donkey spa' in the form of regular hoof and teeth trimming and will do any hard work you throw at them.

The refuge started when Rob Miller and Shirley Mainprize bought Maximo as a way for Miller to connect with an animal while healing from a bad accident. Max came with his mom Maria, who needed extra care and it didn't take long for the couple to realize there were a lot of donkeys needing a safe home and proper care.

Miller says the trust and love donkeys brought to his life as he healed first from a broken neck and now a second bout of leukemia is unparallelled. The connection between him and the donkeys is obvious, as is the fact they give him peace in a life that has been full of struggles. The refuge wants to take this model and expand a program to pair up other people suffering from cancer with the donkeys at the refuge.

The couple will do anything to return the love to the donkeys at the refuge, 63 of them now, and have put every penny they own into taking care of them. They have opened up the refuge to visitors to help educate people about donkeys and they also offer classes on proper donkey care to ensure those not in the refuge get taken care of properly as well.

Did you know:
-Donkeys can live to the ripe old age of 50.
-Hooves and teeth need trimming every eight weeks or so.
-Donkeys originate from the desert where sand acts as an emery board to naturally wear down hooves and teeth.
-All equines are not created equal, donkeys cannot eat the same grasses as horses without getting sick.
-Donkeys enjoy a herd lifestyle and work to protect each other, this includes having some on lookout while others sleep.
-They are made for work and will take nearly anything you give them, that's why you see pictures of them carrying very big loads in third world countries.
-Donkeys can be trained, especially for routine work, they thrive on routine.
-The large ears show what a donkey is feeling, if they're straight up the donkey is relaxed but if they're straight back they are upset.
-A donkey cannot be moved if they don't want to be, which will often happen when they are scared.
-They can kick in any direction, and it hurts when they hit you. If they miss it's because they didn't actually mean to hit you, they were only trying to scare you.
-The stripes found along the back and dorsals of some donkeys form a cross pattern and is said to be the mark of Jesus.

To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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