What We Do
Over a decade of stewardship and care.
In 2006, Rhonda and Jim Urquhart moved to Oregon City from arid Arizona. The braying and antics of a donkey next door inspired a research mission that led to them offering their 40 acre farm as a satellite facility for Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, fostering and adopting out neglected and abused donkeys to new homes. Over the years, Rhonda and Jim worked with more and more special needs donkeys who needed lifelong care, and so in 2021 Oregon Donkey Sanctuary Northwest was officially born. This has been a second full-time job for both of them, so a dedicated volunteer network was born that has helped to shoulder the remarkable responsibility of daily care and furthering our mission.
While to an untrained eye many residents may look similar, each has their own larger-than-life personality, and the twists and turns of their relationships would make a soap opera writer envious. But the heart of the sanctuary is the willingness of residents to accept human affection and companionship, even for those who have experienced neglect or abuse. Longtime resident Dave was regularly beaten about the head by his owner to the point of experiencing nerve damage in his upper lip, which donkeys use to grab food. Since he came to the rescue in 2017, daily handfeeding has kept him in good health, and treatments of his cranial nerves have helped him need less assistance over time.
Everyone knows a “stubborn ass,” but you can bet the one in your life isn’t donkey-shaped! We are dedicated to advancing the status of donkeys and highlighting their wonderful personalities and gentle nature, and helping humans learn how they can care for their donkeys. We have always aimed to meet the physical and emotional needs of both our four- and two-footed friends, and our ultimate goal is to build an equine therapy program to further help heal one another. Our matriarch, Pearl, passed away in early 2023, and we want to honor her by naming our future therapy arena Pearl's Place in her memory.