Monday, October 20, 2014



Last year we were pleased to welcome our first mule - Dan Patch - and his sidekick Whitey, a standard donkey.  Dan and Whitey came to us after their human dad, Art, passed away.  Art rode Dan Patch for many years when he was a hunting guide and Dan has been blessed to experience love and care through his life. We have some great pictures of them together.

After the mandatory period of quarantine where we make sure our new residents are healthy, we put them in our mammoth herd and were pleased to see that they seemed to fit in quite well. A short time later we noticed that the mammoth donkeys seemed nervous and jumpy.  We determined that although Dan Patch was not aggressive, his presence was intimidating and made the mammoths uncomfortable so Dan Patch and Whitey were moved to their own area.  The mammoths returned to their calmer dispositions and Dan was free to just be Dan. When Dan Patch and Whitey move to the new Refuge, we are hoping that George, another wonderful donkey that just hasn't "fit in" and Dan and Whitey can share a special barn and paddock.

For those who may not know, a mule is a cross between a female horse and male donkey.  There are mini, standard and mammoth mules depending on the size of the parents. Oddly enough, mules cannot reproduce.  Mules were the super equines during the gold rush and early logging activities here in British Columbia.  Their horse attributes enabled them to endure harsh winter conditions and their donkey assets made them strong, sure-footed and loyal.

Dan Patch is a big, handsome boy.  His name suits him well as he is almost black with a white patch on his tail and on his leg.  He looks very much like a horse except for his lovely long ears. He loves being brushed and getting hugs and scritches.  In the summer his lovely coat glistens in the sun and in winter he coats up like the other donkeys. His personality is more horse-like than donkey-like.  He tends to be a bit jumpy and spooks easily, unlike a donkey.  Due to his sheer size he commands your respect and attention. We believe that Dan is in his late 20s or early 30s. We aren't sure if mules live for 50 years like donkeys can, but we will find out as Dan will live out his life in his forever home at the Refuge.

I love Dan.  For such a big boy, I find him so very gentle and loving.  He sometimes forgets how big he is though and pinches me between himself and the fence or barn walls.  It is a case of being caught between a mule and a hard place. 

We are very lucky to have Dan Patch here with us and  I am very happy that he has been chosen as one of our "sponsor donkeys". 

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