OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — When Jim and Rhonda Urquhart moved to Oregon City, there was a sound in the air that resonated with them for some reason.
“When we moved here I kept hearing a donkey braying across the way and I said to Jim, my husband, it would be kind of fun to have a couple of donkeys here,” Rhonda told KOIN 6 News.
Now 13 years later, “a couple of donkeys” has turned into 22 now living on the grounds of the 40-acre Oregon Donkey Sanctuary. The non-profit is all volunteer-based and those volunteers stay busy making sure all the donkeys are living their best lives.
“Peanut and Larry are very bonded. They came separately but throughout last year they’ve become bonded, huge bromance,” Jim said.
Many of the donkeys came from bad situations and were neglected, Jim said. He calls them big dogs — they’re social, kind and gentle. And the more visitors the sanctuary had, the more Jim and Rhonda realized the donkeys have a greater purpose.
“When we saw the interaction with them with children, with people with disabilities, we were like, we have to help,” Rhonda said.
“They kind of meet you where you are with your energy,” Jim added.
The Urquharts said they spend about $75,000 a year for all the vaccinations, health checks and surgeries the donkeys need. They’re fundraising to build a facility so therapists can bring clients out to see the donkeys.
“They bring a lot of comfort to people,” Rhonda said. “You know, everybody comes here with their own story. And our hope is that they leave here happier.”
Their 3rd annual “Pick Some Pumpkins, Pet Some Donkeys” fundraiser is set for Saturday and Sunday, October 14-15. It’s free to get in.
And you just might leave happier.