FELIX & HUGO
Felix and Whiz Kid were two of the 26 donkeys who arrived in our first big rescue on January 8th, 2021. From the moment he got off the trailer, Felix was incredibly sick. His body was slouched over, his head was down, and he could barely open his eyes. We kept a close eye on him and when he started wheezing, we called the vet. They said that he had a serious respiratory disease and needed to get to the UC Davis Veterinary Hospital (a 2.5-hour drive away) as soon as possible.
As the vet was talking to us, we heard some intense coughing from another pasture — Whiz Kid had the same problem and also needed to go to UC Davis. There was one big roadblock: we had just launched Oscar’s Place, and didn’t yet have a trailer to drive the donkeys to the hospital.
So I (Ron) got on the phone and started calling the names of people in our community who had trailers and could haul the donkeys to UC Davis. However, no one wanted to bring the donkeys in their trailer because of the risk of spreading their respiratory disease. Felix and Whiz Kid were getting sicker by the hour, and the race against the clock was on.
Finally, I found a trailer in Santa Rosa for sale, hopped in my car, drove down, and bought it on the spot. However, I didn’t have a hitch… and I didn’t know how to drive a trailer… so I bought a hitch, asked for help connecting the hitch to the car and the trailer to the hitch… and asked for some driving tips for my first-ever time pulling a trailer! I drove back to the ranch, loaded the donkeys into the trailer (another first!), and drove the 2.5 hours to UC Davis to get them the lifesaving care they needed. It was a marathon day, and I was stressed beyond belief.
Felix’s sickness had progressed to pneumonia, and the doctors said he probably wouldn’t make it. Both Felix and Whiz Kid were touch-and-go for several days. Eventually, they turned the corner and started to recover. When they were healthy enough to return to Oscar’s Place, they had to be quarantined for 3 weeks to protect the health of the rest of our herd.
Our team gave them their inhalers five times per day to clear their lungs, and Whiz Kid had to eat soaking wet hay because he wouldn’t stop coughing. Day by day, their health improved. Through it all, Felix and Whiz Kid had each other. They became absolute best friends. To this day, the two are inseparable — you’ll never see one without the other! They play together, eat together, and sleep together. They are the sweetest, friendliest donkeys on property — it feels like they know they’ve been given a second chance.
About the Photographer:
Johanna Siegmann is an internally award-winning portrait and architecture photographer, specializing in photographing people with their pets. A collection of her unique images, which capture the relationship between humans and animal, has been published as In Good Company (Notable People with their Pets), available online globally and via special order from your local bookstore. Johanna believes in giving back to the community, and a portion of the proceeds from the book are going to charity. She has donated her time and talent to Oscar’s Place for this calendar project.
About Oscar's Place:
Donkeys are some of the most loving and trusting creatures on Earth, and when they suffer because humans are unkind, Oscar’s Place steps in. While we’re just a team of everyday individuals, we deeply care for and are committed to providing a safe haven for donkeys in need. We focus on donkeys because the world's donkey population is being decimated. Not by disease, global warming, or predators. But because there is a high demand for their hides in the creation of a traditional Chinese medicine.
They deserve better than to be abused, crowded into horrifying transport containers, and shipped off to slaughter factories. Our mission is straight-forward: To every donkey that makes its way to Oscar’s Place, we will do everything in our power to keep that animal safe, healthy & happy for the rest of its life.
We love animals, and quite frankly, we need to team up with other people who also care about what happens to these beautiful creatures. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to make a big difference.When you make a donation, you help a donkey recover emotionally and physically from its past.
You are restoring their belief in humans as caregivers. Your impact even makes it possible to re-home donkeys to carefully-screened adopters, which enables us to bring more of these precious animals into our care system. Again, we’re not special, but our team consists of caring employees, volunteers, veterinarians, and farriers – all with a singular objective: to help donkeys recover physically, mentally, and emotionally. Every person on-site is committed to hands-on interaction with our donkeys, every day.Loving them. Calming them. Healing them. We want to show them that humans can be good. Can you save a donkey’s life today or can you share this message?
Thank you so much for caring.