We always look forward to receiving mail this time of year, when the thoughtful cards and happy news seem to outweigh the bills. Today was the most spectacular mail day and the timing could not be more perfect as we go from the dark, toward the light.
In today’s mail, we got the OFFICIAL letter from the IRS saying “We’re pleased to tell you we determine you’re exempt from the federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501 (c)(3). Donors can deduct contributions they make to you under IRC section 170. You’re also qualified to receive tax-deductible bequests, devices, transfers, or gifts under Section 2055,2106, or 2522.”
Huge thanks to all of you who believed in us, in our sense of integrity and transparency throughout what was a huge, emotional ordeal for us.
Our beloved treasurer, Jean Marie Cross Nichols along with the help of her bookkeeper friend is mostly responsible for making this happen, they put so many long hours into sorting all the paperwork. Thank you both for all of your hard work!
Many of you have asked about the progress on regaining our non profit status. We’ve been working diligently to get it back. It’s been quite an uphill battle and is proving much more difficult than we anticipated. Here’s where we are; written by our secretary and new treasurer, Jean Cross.
This summer SYALER received a notice no nonprofit wants to hear. Our nonprofit status had been revoked due to the required 990s not being filed for three consecutive years. This came as a surprise to all of us. Our bookkeeper was sure she had filed at least the 2019 one, and we had copies of that file, which seemed to prove that. However, the IRS did not have any record of it and did not have any way of accepting it on its own at this late date. So, we were left to do the work and reconstruct the books for years. Our bookkeeper had gone silent. It may have just been too much for her to handle, we may never know. Our board being as small and tight as it is, jumped in to fill the gap. Bank accounts got new signers, QuickBooks got reconciled, and cash flow reports were run. This took a lot of time, as we had to recreate back to the beginning of 2019. The 990s were finished and mailed as of 11/21/2022. The required 1023 was filed on 11/20/2022. Now we wait. It could take as long as 18 months. Hopefully it won’t, but we have asked what do we do in the meantime?
This is what we do. We rally around the long ears. That is what we are all about. We have done what we can to make the IRS happy. When they reinstate our account, it will be reinstated back to the date they revoked it. All donations will still be tax deductible. This means, all of us will continue to work at what we do best. Hannah, Lauren and Laura will be seeing to the care of the farm and animals. Ann being our grounding support, Jean will be seeing to the books and reports, Elise will be supporting us by being our voice of reason.
We have taken in some animals this fall that have needed a lot of medical care, we are getting calls from people who need to surrender their animals to us before the worst of winter gets here. All that cost’s money. That is where you can help them, and us. Don’t be afraid of the punch to gut we received; we are more than that. You all have supported us through so much over the years. We are asking for that support again. The organizations that have graciously supported us in the past may not be able to until our paperwork comes back which means we will need the support of all you a little more this year then we have in the past. Please consider us when you plan your giving Tuesday/ year-end gift giving. The long ears thank you, and we as the board thank you.
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Photos of animals currently in our care
Gandalf takes a drink of warm water dressed in his giant purple winter coat.
“Comfort in numbers.” From left to right, Athena, Apollo and Stephen all take an after breakfast nap together in the field.
Newest addition, Benjamin checks out his surroundings after coming off of the trailer and is welcomed to the rescue.
Athena walks up from the field for her breakfast mash.
Left to right, Betsy and Gandalf become friends though the fence before Betsy was let into the main herd.
Fern watching me throw hay in the field for her and her friends to eat.
Thank you all from the bottoms of our hearts, it’s for the equines that we keep on keeping on.
Many of us New Englanders are already feeling the effects of the cooler temperatures, the shortening of days and the frost on the pastures in the morning before the sun comes up.
There’s been quite a bit of debate online about whether or not donkey and mule owners should blanket or not blanket their long eared family members. So we wanted to share our two cents on the topic to hopefully shed some insight to donkey owners.
The short answer to a complicated question is, it depends. It depends on where you live, how cold it is, how wet it is, the age of your donkey, if they have cushings disease or any other types of illnesses, etc.
What we normally hear is, “But my donkey gets so fluffy why would he need a blanket?” But the truth is your donkeys fluffy fur does not have the density or insulating properties that a horses natural coat provides. Not only that but donkeys lack the oil horses have in their coats that act as a natural water repellent, which in turn keeps their skin dry. This is also why horses have that sweet horse smell that we all know and love, and donkeys do not. (Sorry donkeys.)
Donkeys descend from desert species, they use dust and sand as a way to “bathe” themselves. Since it doesn’t rain often in the desert, donkeys have not evolved to have oil in their coats to protect them from our freezing rain, sleet and snow that our northern winters bring. Mixing a lack of a waterproofed coat, plus a lot of extra winter hair without insulating properties and wet weather- is a combination for a very unhappy donkey, and can sometimes even be a death sentence for an immune compromised or older donkey.
Some may say “but my donkey never acts cold!” Donkeys have evolved to freeze (no pun intended) instead of having a flight or fight response like most mammals. Donkeys stop and think through problems or how to respond to a stressful situation. Which is why they’ve unfortunately gotten the notorious title of being “stubborn.” Most donkeys will not show when they are sick or not feeling well until they are in the later stages of their illness. Which is why it is so hard to tell when they are having a bout of colic or are injured. It’s their instincts way of protecting them from being eaten by predators. Pretty fascinating, but not great for the people who love them and want to know when they’re not well.
The bottom line is, just because they survive the winters or always have without being blanketed, doesn’t mean they are thriving and comfortable. This goes especially for the ones who are getting long in the tooth, are sick, injured, have cushings disease or thyroid issues. These donkeys are more vulnerable than a younger, healthier donkey and need an extra layer or two to give them a hoof up this winter to keep them cozy, safe and comfortable.
The bare minimum they should have is a 3 sided shelter that is deeply bedded with pine shavings, and cleaned daily. I would go a step further to say that warm mash soup made up of a handful of timothy pellets with their loose mineral supplement would also go a long way.
Please don’t take what we’ve said here today and use it as a blanket statement! 😁 Use your discernment and go based on the weather and your donkey. Each donkey should have a few different coats, a rain sheet, and a few coats from 200g- 800g insulation.
Other Blanketing Tips
-Blankets should be checked daily to make sure there are no rips, tears or dampness under them.
-Clips should always be clip side facing in toward the donkeys body.
-Donkeys should be groomed at minimum once a week with a ‘slicker brush’ to ensure their skin is still getting some air, so dead skin is being removed and to check their body condition.
-Blankets need to be washed and re-waterproofed every year. You can find waterproofing spray online or at any tack shop that sells horse blankets. (We like scotch guard)
-When putting on a blanket start fastening buckles and clips from the front to the back.
Have trouble fitting your donkeys for blankets? Bray Hollow Farm in NY makes blankets specifically for ponies and donkeys. If you’d like to check them out you can click the link below to check out their website!
This year we have taken on more senior animals than we ever have before in a single year. We are always happy to take on the equines who are at the last stages of their life and require a little extra TLC. Ann and I are both suckers for a grey faced sad eyed long ear. However so deserving these animals are they almost always require extensive care, vet work, and farrier work to make sure that they are able to be kept comfortable. We’ve had to let go of two friends at the end of October. As hard as the decisions were, we are honored to be able to give them that last gift of letting them go with peace and dignity.
As many of you are aware Whichahpi our Medicine hat paint horse had X-rays done of his spine. We found out that he had some more serious complications going on than met the eye. We decided the kindest thing to do was to let him go. We said goodbye to our friend on October 24th.
Harley came to us just a few short months ago underweight, confused￼￼￼￼￼￼￼ and sore. Harley gained a significant amount of weight while he was with us and made three other friends who were his herd companions.
￼￼￼Harley was loved by every single person who met him, and he loved all of them back. He started to have trouble getting up from his naps the last few days until one morning when he could not get up no matter how much he tried.￼￼￼￼ We called our vet and gave him some pain meds while we waited. He did finally get up but we still had our vet out because something was still very off with him and I just did not have a good gut feeling.
After an examination and a few tests it was determined that he was in heart failure. We decided to let Harley go.. our vet estimated Harley was at least in his late 30’s.
We are absolutely gutted over these losses.. The rescue feels so empty without him and Whichahpi. I don’t think a day will go bye where I won’t think about the animals we’ve had to let go.
Thank you to all of you who donated towards his arthritis medication, grain bill and care. It truly made a difference in his time with us and he was able to be comfortable and pain free in the end.
Rest easy buddy you are sorely, sorely missed.
Due to fundraising being so low, and having spent a very large amount of money on so many seniors this year. We are going to be more careful of the ages of animals we take in. It is not sustainable for us to take on so many seniors who are not adoptable. If we continue to do so, we will cease to exist as a rescue.
Sometimes folks are in denial about how old their animals are, sometimes they are not truthful with us when surrendering, and sometimes it is passing the buck. We LOVE the seniors but are not set up as a sanctuary. It’s not fair to us or our supporters to keep enduring one heartbreak after another. Some day in the future I would like to have a set up for the older donkeys with special needs. But that is quite a ways down the road.
Thank you all for reading this far and for your feedback every newsletter, it and you are so appreciated and valued by all of us at SYA.
I have never been happier to see a year come to an end. 2019 has been the most difficult year for Save Your Ass Long Ear rescue since our inception as a non-profit in 2007. At this time last year, I was recovering from a broken leg and messed up ankle.
This is when my friend, and most amazing employee Hannah Exel, stepped up to the plate. She has not backed down since. Hannah has been an animal lover since her childhood; nurtured at the knee of her grandfather Elbridge Bellows. His love of his draft horses got and kept Hannah especially interested in equines.
The “manure hit the fan” in April when we took in six sick donkeys which changed our workload dramatically. Hannah went into overdrive. She worked, and continues to work closely with our wonderful veterinarian, Dr. Kristen Clapp and super tech Remington Morancy, in keeping on top of what animals need and setting up appointments to make sure those needs are taken care of. Hannah is no stranger to hard work and totes hay bales and snow plows driveways and paddocks, and feeds the rescues and cares for them 5 days out of the week. She has become a fencing wizard, ensuring all animals are safely confined within beautiful, straight fence lines. It has been an amazing experience for me to see this young woman who came to work at SYA in 2015 blossom and become a real force to be reckoned with. I am proud that Hannah is not only a valued board member, but Shelter Manager, and has gotten the positive reinforcement bug big time and has become a phenomenal trainer. She is taking Ben Hart’s training course and will be starting Dr. Susan Friedman’s LLA class this month. I would not have made it through this last year without the knowledge that she had my back. The trust and friendship that has developed between us really came into the forefront in 2019. We are in this together.
I also want to thank the wonderful volunteers who help us out in so many ways. We would not be where we are today without the help of Joan Gemme, Andria Elliot, Pamela Kissell, Mike Dunham, Pamela Simmons, Logan, Jennifer Molnar, Regina Molnar, Johnny Carroll, and my amazingly supportive, fun loving B.O.D.; Hannah, Elise Paffrath, JoEllen Barton, and Jean Cross. Hannah’s fiance’ Trevor Allen, and my most amazingly supportive husband Jeff who had no idea what he started when he got me a donkey for my birthday close to thirty years ago. Lastly, but certainly in no way least; YOU!! Our SYA “family” who have been over the top with your support; both emotional and financial this year. Asking for help is very hard for me and I have hated to have had to have done it so often. You folks stepped up big time!!
Hannah and I are very grateful to you all. Best wishes to you all for a healthy, happy, peace and loved filled 2020.
Hi everyone this is Hannah chiming in as a PS!
I am going to share a little bit about Ann now..
Heres a little info on the Founder of Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue; Ann Firestone. Ann has always loved animals ever since she was a very young age, she used to rescue squirrels, chipmunks, and other small injured animals that crossed her path. Being an animal lover one of her favorite books was Brighty of the Grand Canyon. Since that book, she always wanted a donkey of her own. Ann got her first donkey in 1990. Be Bop a Lula was her name. A small brown miniature donkey with tiny little legs and sweet soft eyes. Ann and Jeff, her husband brought her to their home in South Acworth and their long journey of donkey rescue began!
She took in many other animals people couldn’t take care of anymore, mostly donkeys as you could probably guess. Being a Vet tech for many years she knew how to nurture them to health and either re-home them or keep them as part of her family.
The Rescue has been ongoing since 2006 but officially got the 501c3 status in 2007! Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue was born! Ann and the rescue have adopted out on average 30-40 animals per year, that means SYA has adopted out roughly 400 donkeys and mules, (and one miniature horse) in 13 years! She has been many things over the years, a certified dog trainer who is dedicated to positive reinforcement training, a Vet Tech, a licensed wildlife rehabber, and currently the Co-Founder and President of SYALER. This year has honestly has been a crapshoot. If not for our supporters being so generous the rescue would not still be here.
We have been working double time this whole year just to catch up and to keep the rescue going. I am fortunate to be able to go home from all the chaos at the end of the day and on weekends, but Ann is in it 24/7. I have never met some on who gave so much of themselves and their life to saving animals. Often times Ann is up late replying to emails, sending thank you notes, and filling orders, she works very hard to keep this whole thing going! She is an amazing person who deserves to be recognized but would never mention any of this herself, so here I am!
These two donkeys are simply adorable and at first glance they look very happy and well cared for. They came from a hoarding situation. SYA has been able to help their owner by taking in donkeys from her as she was emotionally able to part with them over the last five years or so. There is no doubt that she loved them all dearly. The woman is in her eighties and in poor health. I am not sure of how long it’s been since she has been able to go outside as she is wheelchair bound, let alone to do anything with or for the donkeys. These two beautiful cousins had been living in a filthy barn/stall/paddock area. Their manure had not been cleaned in years. The only water they had available to them was about six inches of green, thick scummy soup, and full of rotting leaves. Their hooves look ok in this picture, but several have major flares, and one has part of a hoof wall missing. In fairness to their owner, she did have someone in to “care” for the donkeys but was obviously unable to check and see how the donkeys were faring.
As is often the case with donkeys it seems, rather than being too thin, they are very overweight. They both have fat pones on their necks and flanks. Obesity in donkeys is something we see more often than underweight animals, and is in my opinion, a form of neglect. Donkeys are NOT little horses with big ears. They are a species that has evolved very successfully over a very long period of history getting by on very little forage, of often fairly poor nutritional value, that they had to walk over miles of stony, rocky, hard ground to reach. We plop them down in rich, grassy pastures and are then surprised when they develop hoof and other health issues.
I would rather take in animals that are too thin as it is so much easier to put fat on to a donkey than to take it off. A fat donkey is not a healthy donkey. I recommend a dry lot for all donkeys for at least part of a 24 hour period. They do need to graze for their behavioral needs to be properly met, but their grazing time needs to be supervised. Please be aware that allowing a donkey to become obese is shortening their overall life span and can, and often does lead to a myriad of other health related issues.
I am very happy that we are able to take in animals like these and get them on a regulated feeding program and an exercise plan that will help them slowly lose some excess pounds. A great way to help us do this is to join our Take a Long Ear to Lunch program. This enables you to make an on-going monthly donation to SYALER. All of our money to run the rescue comes via adoption fees, merchandise sales, and donations. The grants available for donkey rescue are very specific and we do not qualify for many. Any grant writers out there who want to donate their time and expertise would be more than welcome! Your monthly gift of any amount goes right into our operating cost fund and helps with everything from buying hay, supplements, equipment, to veterinary and farrier costs. Knowing we can count on a certain amount each month is a very comforting. To become a member of the program use the following link for complete details. Take a Long Ear to Lunch!
Summer will be winding down soon and I am looking forward to crisp, fall days already. We have a lot of fun things coming up. Our annual Benefit show will be held at Millot Green, Alstead, NH on Saturday, October 13th. A week after that I will be heading out to U.C. Davis Vet School for yet another Donkey Welfare Symposium. I am looking forward to that as it is always a wonderful chance to meet up with donkey friends I only see once a year at this event, and to learn more about how to give the best care possible to the animals we take in to the rescue. November brings Equine Affaire which is always a fun, if not exhausting gig. We are working on a couple of ideas for seminars/workshops at the rescue. We’ll keep you posted on those.
I hope to see you out and about at our upcoming events.
Wow! How did it get to be July already? It was a very long winter and spring here, with a lot of animals waiting to be adopted. I’m very happy to say that we now have a much more reasonably sized group of individuals and bonded groups looking for new homes. Big thanks to all of our recent adopters! I’m sure this roll will continue.
We had a lovely turnout and nice day for our first of what I hope will be many Clicker Training workshops with Lyndsey Lewis. Lyndsey is great at teaching people as well as animals. It was a lot of fun.
Dedicated volunteer Mike Dunham has been making extraordinary progress with our two very shy donkeys Blossom and Daisy. The two standard donkeys came in from separate owners, but bonded immediately. They both came in too shy/fearful to be handled at all. Rather than create more fear, we work slowly with only positive reinforcement. Mike is now able to touch Daisy over most of her body, take her halter off and put it back on and lead her on a loose line. This may not seem like much, but for a donkey who was too afraid to come within ten feet of a human, this is HUGE! Blossom is coming along nicely as well, although not quite as quickly as her friend Daisy. One of our mottoes here is: “It takes as long as it takes”. We will get there!
It’s time once again to submit your photos of your favorite long ears for the 2018 Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue Calendar!
We invite you to join us in putting the “fun” back in fundraising, with our 2018 photo contest! The calendar will feature your photos of your donkeys, mules, and hinnies. The calendar will be offered for sale on our website and at event booths. Our volunteer judges will select their 13 favorite photos from all submitted to be featured on the cover and for the 12 months. All other photos will appear in the calendar in smaller format.
To submit your entry: Email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, please include your name, the name of the animal(s) in the photo(s), and a couple of lines describing your long ear(s). Rename your files in the following format: Smith_Ann_Eeyore.jpg. The contest closes on August 15, and winners will be announced on September 1st.
You all know how I feel about fund raising <G>, but it is critical if we are to pay for veterinary bills, farrier fees, food and shelter for our rescued long ears. SYALER had found new homes for more than 450 animals since 2007. Funds raised through this contest and the sale of the calendars will enable the Rescue to continue to provide these much needed services for long ears in need. For additional information and tips on photographing for our calendar, go to: http://www.saveyourassrescue.org/calendar.html
I look forward to seeing everyone’s pictures! I love when I’m in the post office, where the 2017 SYA Calendar is on the wall, and hear people in line talking about the animals.