Come On In

A Cal­i­for­nia woman’s ranch dou­bles as a don­key res­cue.

Country Woman - - CONTENTS - STORY AND PHO­TOS BY RUTH LEP­PER RA­MONA, CAL­I­FOR­NIA

Wil­ber stole Staci Greene’s heart years ago. The don­key was a 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, Staci be­gan tak­ing in don­keys and mules on her ranch in Ra­mona, Cal­i­for­nia. She named her ven­ture Hee Haw Place Don­key Res­cue. The an­i­mals came to her through word of mouth, auc­tions and the Hu­mane So­ci­ety.

Hee Haw Place has housed as many as 13 an­i­mals at one time, but thanks to Staci’s suc­cess in find­ing qual­i­fied peo­ple to adopt them, she now only owns six—two don­keys, two mules and two horses.

She en­sures the new homes are suit­able for the an­i­mals and that prospec­tive own­ers are sin­cere in their de­sire to add a don­key to their fam­i­lies. If an adop­tion doesn’t work out, Staci al­ways wel­comes the an­i­mal back to her ranch.

Don­keys re­quire min­i­mal care, she says. They need a large pas­ture for roam­ing and graz­ing, and their hooves need trim­ming sev­eral times a year.

“These are work­ing an­i­mals, and they need jobs,” Staci says. “When I see a don­key just stand­ing, it breaks my heart.”

Staci trains her don­keys for rid­ing and for pulling a cart or wagon. Then she helps them find for­ever homes where they can work and en­joy life.

ED­I­TOR’S NOTE: Good neigh­bors like Staci make their com­mu­ni­ties nice places to live. Visit rd.com/nices­ten­try/ to nom­i­nate your home­town in Reader’s Di­gest mag­a­zine’s 2018 Nicest Place in Amer­ica con­test. Your friends and neigh­bors could be fea­tured in an up­com­ing is­sue of the mag­a­zine.

Staci Greene treats Poppy (left), a mule, and Buddy, a don­key, to a tasty snack.

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