2012 - Volume #36, Issue #4, Page #24[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
"Donkey Lady" Runs Rescue Facility
Recently, Langoski formed the nonprofit Holyland Donkey Haven, in order to accept contributions to help pay for the donkeys’ care. The name, Holyland, is the area she lives in. It’s called that because nearby towns are St. Peter, Jericho, and St. Cloud.
So far, she has rehabilitated and adopted out 8 donkeys to new homes. She has 10 donkeys on her farm right now, but the numbers can change quickly.
“Most people just don’t know how to care for donkeys,” Langoski explains. “They don’t think donkeys need their hooves trimmed every 8 weeks like a horse. But they do, because hooves don’t wear down in soft pasture. That’s the biggest form of neglect. Otherwise, donkeys are easy to care for because of their hardiness.”
However, donkeys require a different training style than horses.
“Because of their high intelligence, donkeys get bored easily if you make them repeat something,” she explains. Instead of doing the same thing for an hour and a half, she works with a donkey for 15 min. or so, then lets him think about it and works with him again in another day or two.
“Donkeys are very kind, gentle animals,” she says, and they make great riding animals for children, as well as for driving carts and formal riding events such as dressage.
She has an indoor arena and works with children and adults with special needs. As an example of donkeys’ intelligence she tells the story of work done by a woman in England, where donkeys are taken to children’s homes for therapy. One task is to pick up an envelope, ride the donkey to the mailbox and mail the letter. One young boy’s disabilities prevented him from picking up the envelope – so the donkey did the whole task for him, on his own initiative.
Langoski isolates newcomer donkeys and works with them to rehabilitate them physically, emotionally and socially. It can take weeks before they are ready to be with other donkeys. Langoski encourages their playfulness and creativity by providing the donkeys with balls and mounds of dirt to play on.
Langoski charges a $650 adoption fee to ensure they are placed in good homes. Some donkeys are put with flocks of sheep to protect them from coyotes. Others are put on pasture to be a companion to a single horse.
“I always say, the donkey picks the person,” Langoski says. She relates how a woman came to the farm to adopt a miniature donkey. But when a standard donkey came up to her and nuzzled her, she was smitten and changed her mind.
When owners understand that donkeys need to be trained differently, they can be a better choice than a horse, Langoski says. It only costs about $500 a year for a healthy donkey to have a vet wellness check and shots, farrier hoof trimming and feed. Donkeys eat about 1/5th as much as a horse and thrive on the cheapest hay, along with a little oats, vitamin/mineral supplements and a free-choice mineral block.
Rehabilitating animals takes more money, however, so Langoski holds a few fund-raising events. One of them is Donkey Day (Oct. 6, 2012) with vendors and activities on her farm and a silent auction that includes paintings made by a couple of the donkeys.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Angela Langoski, Holyland Donkey Haven, Inc., W2082 Mueller Lane, Mount Calvary, Wis. 53057 (ph 920 915-2873; www.holylanddonkeys.webstarts.com).
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