Brandy and her son, Anjou, are two donkeys whom I rescued in 1991. Anjou was a foal at the time and he has always been very attached to his mother. They were placed in a DSC Foster Farm in 2004 and they lived there in great contentment until the owners decided four years later to move to the Nicola Valley which is a part of the Thompson-Okanagan region in British Columbia. At the caregivers’ request, we decided that the donkeys (along with two others that were part of their herd) would move there as well, given the ideal environment that their new home would provide.
For the past six years, Brandy and Anjou have dwelt in what we call ‘donkey nirvana’. The semi-arid terrain of the Valley replicates the original environment of donkeys which was low mountain desert regions. It is dominated by native grasses such as blue bunch wheatgrass and rough fescue, with pockets of forest, wild flowers, dry shrubs and rocky outcrops filling in the rest. The donkeys habitat is 320 acres and they travel everywhere, over rocky areas, over logs and dead branches, making trails through the forest. Every day they return to their barn, though, for attention and treats, and for shelter and hay if the weather is inclement.
The caregivers report that they enjoy to watch the donkeys graze with herds of mule deer and they have even seen ravens on the donkeys’ backs, pulling out clumps of hair for their nests. They add that Brandy, Anjou and their pals often return to the barn smelling of fir needles.
Given this ideal environment, Brandy (35 years old) and Anjou (23 years old) are in very good condition. The dry land is perfect for their hooves: in six years there has been only one small abscess. Their coats gleam and they are both at ideal weights.
With so much space people often ask why there could not be more donkeys grazing in these fields and the reason for not doing so is that this is a fragile, grassland ecosphere which can support only a limited number of animals, domestic or wild. If you were to stand behind Anjou and look out towards the camera, the photo below captures the view from their field…… Nirvana, indeed.
Sandra Pady, Founder