All MiniTherapy donkeys (and mini horses) have been rescued from slaughter by the Equine Rescue Network. Most came from the 'kill pens' in Texas. They typically arrive unhandled and scared, but after several weeks of love and good care they become sweet and docile. The donkeys that are the most suited for the revered job as 'Therapy Donkey" are moved to Donkey Hill which is located a the Service Dog Project in Ipswich, Mass.
Equine Rescue to Mini Therapy:
We offer donkeys and mini horses to other approved Equine Assistance programs in New England at no cost.
The process begins when ERN rescues arrive to quarantine in Boxford, Massachusetts for a month of R&R. Next, they are moved to Hamilton for training. Finally, the therapy donkeys and mini-horses are moved to the Service Dog Project in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The Service Dog Project is an organization that provides balance dogs (Great Danes) to mobility impaired individuals. SDP's 14 acre farm is frequented by veterans and the disabled who mingle with the Great Danes.
Donkey Hill, a new addition for SDP, is the result of a strategic partnership with the Equine Rescue Network (ERN). Well, not the strategic - SDP's founder is Carlene White, whose daughter is Janine Jacques, founder of ERN.
Many of the volunteers and recipients at SDP have described the farm as their "happy place" and that having the donkeys on 'Donkey Hill' make 37 Boxford Road that much of a happier place to visit.
Our programs #Run4Rescue, #TeamOlivia, #DonkeyWalk
On Sundays at 10:30am, veterans and visitors are welcome to join the donkey walk, which is either a 1/2 mile walk or a 2 mile walk at a donkey's pace (very, very, slow). The 1/2 mile walk is wheelchair accessible and the 2 mile walk is a scenic route through the woods.
Signup is suggested, as the walks are weather dependent and offered at varied locations (Ipswich, Hamilton and Topsfield).
Finally, we do maintain two specially trained minis that are available to visit those who need a little mini-love. They have been known to visit nursing homes, hospice care centers, children's hospitals, and returning veteran ceremonies. For more information, please contact Marianne at 781-799-8235.
Buddy was rescued by Equine Rescue Network in 2015. He was an orphan foal traveling with a small herd of unwanted donkeys. We collected and saved the small group and brought him home. Buddy is a Certified Rescue Donkey and has been trained to behave himself accordingly in public spaces. He is a very sweet little guy, but a bit of a ham.
Daisy was one of the wildest donkeys we rescued. When we unloaded her from the trailer she ran around so scared and she actually jumped the fence. It was one week before she let anyone touch her. Two weeks into her rescue, and she had progressed to following people around for love and kisses. She loves to be scratched and nose kisses are her favorite.
Maude was rescued from the dooms of the kill pens in Texas. When she arrived, she was frightened, underweight and pregnant. Six months later, her baby, Pockets, arrived. Soon after, Clover was rescued too. They all cohabitate permanently at the farm. There are other donkeys too that are rescued; these are considered work-in-progress donkeys that are looking for loving homes. Donkey Hill is a very busy place!
Learn more about rescue horses and donkeys
Each year over 130,000 horses and donkeys are shipped to Canada, Mexico, and Japan for slaughter. Each one of the donkeys in our MiniTherapy program was rescued from the perils of slaughter by the Equine Rescue Network.
Learn more about the Service Dog Project
The Service Dog Project (SDP) provides a better quality of life for the mobility impaired. SDP has donated over 100 Great Danes as service dogs to individuals who have severe balance issues. Service dogs have been placed with children, war veterans, and individuals with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Friedreich's ataxia and more. Each dog provides a valuable service and has significantly enhanced the quality of life for their owners.