Meet our beautiful 6 year old gelding, Barnie! As our first animal, he has unofficially become the “farm mascot”. His picture is used as the background for both our farm checks and return address labels.
When we were searching for donkeys as livestock guardians, we knew we wanted to rescue. After spending a lot of time trying to find places nearby, we were so excited to find the amazing Barnyard Sanctuary. We fell in love with his adorable picture, and we knew that we wanted to meet him. We called the sanctuary, worried that someone else would adopt him (and not sure if he was even still available). To our happy surprise, Tamala, founder of the sanctuary, invited us to come to meet him! As we prepared for our visit, we learned about his backstory.
Before being rescued by the sanctuary, Barnie was in his fourth or fifth home. This was on a farm in Alabama, where he lived with two other donkeys. (Their names are Slammer and Ambrosia, and they are available for adoption as a pair). The farmer who owned Barnie, Slammer, and Ambrosia, decided that he couldn’t care for them anymore, and, sadly, his plan was to shoot them and bury them in the backyard. Luckily, though, an AMAZING local dog rescuer, Bobbie Taylor, made makeshift pens her yard and arranged for them to be picked up and brought there. A rescue group run by Lorna Aho in Alabama offered to drive them up from Bobbie’s house to the absolutely wonderful Barnyard Sanctuary (26 hours each way) .Candy Udell, of London Jewlers in NYC, arranged for them to be picked up and raised money for the fuel expenses.
We ended up taking a tour of the Sanctuary on a freezing cold day in February. When we saw Barnie for the first time in person, he stood shyly at the back of the field, and would run away if anything startled him at all (including stepping on the snow too loudly). Unfortunately, it is assumed that Barnie was abused in a past home before he was rescued by the sanctuary, so it is not surprising that he was so easily frightened. We loved him SO much at that point, though, that we adopted him, regardless of the fact that his nervous nature made him a risky choice for a guardian animal.
We are more than happy to share that Barnie loves his new home. He spends his days with his best friend, a mule named Rapunzel. He and Rapunzel have even spent the past month working on becoming the perfect guardians to our goats and lambs. The most amazing accomplishment that Barnie has made so far in terms of the livestock, is that he recently allowed our youngest goatx, Luna and Atlas, to jump on his back. He used to be so startled by anyone or anything touching his back that he would run away, and now, he just appreciates the massage!
This was part of his overall success here, which is proudly his new love and trust of people. Although Barnie does get spooked easily, he has warmed up to humans tremendously. He lets all of his visitors (and there have been a lot) pet him. He will stand as still as possible while he is being pet, especially for ear rubs. A few months ago, we were so happy to hear that Barnie started to “talk”. We had never heard him bray before, and assumed it was because of how shy he is. Now, though, Barnie calls loudly to get food, attention, or to simply say hi in the morning. He has become more confident and happy since he was introduced to the Barnyard Sanctuary, and to us. We hope to provide Barnie with his forever home.
His favorite things to do are roll in the dirt, bask in the sun, eat apples, and loyally follow Rapunzel wherever she wants to go. There are more pictures of Barnie in a slideshow below!