Rural Missouri - January 2020 - 38

long-earred
love

T&D Donkey Rescue
is
home to those who bray
XX
RURAL MISSOURI | JANUARY 2020

by Heather Berry |
hberry@ruralmissouri.coop

T

he old four-wheeler sputters
to a stop near the edge of a
creek where several donkeys
graze. While the group nibbles, two donkeys stick closer together than most.
"Ember is blind and Basil is her
constant companion," says Deanna
Kafka, co-owner of T&D Donkey
Rescue in Liberal. "You won't see one
without the other."
Ember was rescued from an auction slaughter pen in 2015. With a
4-month-old foal now at her side, the
docile donkey was fur over bone when
Deanna saw her.
Deanna and partner, Tom Kohley,
own T&D. While there are several
horse rescues in Missouri, this is the
only one specifically geared toward
donkeys, the couple says. The organization is dedicated to rehabbing
at-risk, neglected, abandoned and
abused donkeys.
Raised in Wisconsin, Deanna spent
most of her teen years helping break
horses. But an accident changed the
equine lover's life forever.
Climbing onto the back of a green
horse, the animal got frightened and
threw Deanna off, fracturing vertebrae in her back. While time healed
her body, Deanna found she was
emotionally unable to get back on a
horse and ride.
Years later, Deanna moved from
Wisconsin to an 800-acre farm in
Liberal, where she and Tom grow
crops - and offer donkeys the love
and care they deserve.
In 2013, when they were in Texas
on vacation, she received a text
message about two jennies (female
donkeys) which had been left in a
kill pen in Oklahoma. "The horses
had been saved, but nobody wanted
the two donkeys because they were
in such horrible condition," says the
Barton Electric Cooperative member.
"So I said we'd take them."
The donkeys were skin draped over
bone. The couple named one Donkey,
after the "Shrek" character, and the
other, Floppsalot, because of her big,
floppy ears. "That was the beginning of T&D Donkey Rescue," recalls
Deanna, noting the organization
became a nonprofit in 2016.
After more than $1,200 in veterinary care, the aptly named Donkey
had to be euthanized. With a great



Rural Missouri - January 2020

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