By Ron King, CEO of Oscar’s Place
The story of Oscar’s Place doesn’t have a glamorous beginning. It starts with me losing my job.
I was a media and fashion executive living a fast-paced bi-coastal life and thought I had it all — front row seats at Milan fashion shows, a great apartment, a full social life. Then the pandemic hit and I got laid off from my career. My world as I knew it fell apart. Everything changed in a heartbeat. With nowhere to go and no plans for the future, I relied on the compassion of my friends in my hardest moments.
Desperate for a change of pace and purpose, I found myself in Hopland, California to help a friend sell a piece of land that was intended to be a farm animal sanctuary but never got off the ground. When I learned about the terrible fate of mistreated donkeys, I knew we had to do something. Before long, I was shoveling donkey poop and spending hours sitting in musty stalls trying to comfort stressed out animals.
Fast forward to today and Oscar’s Place has now saved more than 75 donkeys. I have never been happier. We “saved” these donkeys, but they saved me, too. Every day, they amaze me with their resilience, showing me what’s possible with the right amount of love and kindness.
Running this donkey sanctuary has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I couldn’t do it without passionate individuals like you. In fact, I’m wondering if you could help me out with some advice: on a personal level, it can be hard to take mental health breaks when you live and work in the same place. Do you have any ideas or advice on how to find balance and manage stress? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share your advice with me in the comments below.