A mamma donkey and her baby were days away from a tragic fate at a kill pen.
Luckily, the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence at Butterfly Field Farm.
Keep reading to uncover the heartwarming journey of two donkeys rescued from a short life of suffering and the man who dropped everything to save their lives.
The Shocking Truth
Ted Kamprath of Butterfly Field Farm, a farm animal sanctuary located in Bedford, Virginia, was in search of guardian animals for his three newly rescued sheep.
He knew that donkeys are very protective of their pasture and would be perfect for protecting more vulnerable farm animals.
But Ted wasn’t looking for just any donkeys. He was looking for rescue donkeys.
During his search, he was told about a pair of donkeys at a kill pen in Asheboro, North Carolina.
He had no idea what a kill pen was yet, but it didn’t sound like a good place.
Soon, Ted discovered the horrifying truth behind a “kill pen” and what that meant for the donkeys.
Kill pens are a holding place for equine animals such as horses, donkeys, and mules that are sold by the pound for meat and transported to Mexico and Canada.
Rushing to the Rescue
While the animals wait they die, they live in horrible conditions with barely enough food to survive.
“There is a small window that you can pay their bond, and in essence, rescue them,” explained Ted.
Ted immediately paid for the two donkeys, later mamma Suzie and her foal, Gerry.
The worst was over. They would be making the three-hour journey from the kill pen to Butterfly Field Farm’s green pastures.
At last, six-year-old Suzie and six-month-old Gerry arrived safely at Butterfly Field Farm.
Safe at Last
“I thought about what they had been through,” said Ted. “Here’s Suzie, she just had a baby, then she gets swept from her farm, stuck in a truck, brought to a kill pen.”
Now standing face-to-face with the donkeys he saved from a life of horror, Ted was overcome with emotion.
“Having gone through all that, they were immediately affectionate the minute they walked off the transport truck,” Ted recalled. “Suzie just amazed me that she didn’t have any anger or frustration. She was as gentle as could be right from the start.”
The mother and baby had finally arrived at a place they could safely call home.
But life at the farm was about to get a lot more interesting! Suzie and Gerry had a few surprises in store.
Gerry and Suzie settled right in, protecting their pasture and sheep companions from predators. They’re both gentle with the other animals and enjoy playing and “horsing” around.
“Gerry is in his adolescence phase. He’s kind of all legs and a little bit gangly, and he’s got a little bit of a mischievous side,” said Ted. “He’s basically like a puppy.”
Between Gerry’s teen angst and Suzie’s affection, there was never a dull moment.
“Gerry will get a little bit spunky and start biting at his mother or roughhousing. And she tolerates it, to a point,” said Ted. “Their mother-son relationship looks a lot like it would in any other species.”
Not only did Ted enjoy Suzie and Gerry’s company, but the other animals at the sanctuary were just as smitten.
It didn’t take Ted long to realize he wanted to welcome more Donkeys on the farm.
Falling in Love
“Because of Suzie and Gerry, we fell in love with donkeys,” said Ted.
So, he rescued more donkeys– 11 more donkeys!
Butterfly Field Farm is the perfect place to foster senior donkeys.
Ted now fosters senior donkeys through an organization called Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue out of Texas, the largest donkey rescue in the world.
But Ted didn’t stop at just rescuing more donkeys.
He had rescued two young blind cows, Fredrick and Richard, that had been bullied into starvation at a beef farm.
Ted knew that after all the cows had been through, they needed some extra special guardians.
Ted knew Suzie and Gerry were the obvious choice.
Though protective of her baby, Suzie realized the cows were special and treated them just how Ted had expected; with gentle kindness and affection.
The mother and son teamed up to gently guide the blind cows and made sure they were safe and protected.
Happily Ever After
Gerry, Suzie, and all of the other rescues at Butterfly Field Farm, will never have to wonder again if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
They’ve landed example where they belong: a safe place with a loving family who brings peace, comfort, and a fresh start.
If you’d like to help support Ted and the Butterfly Field Farm team in their mission to rescue more farm animals from horrific conditions, head to their website to learn how you can help.