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Lions Roar : March 2018
GIVE HIM FIVE MINUTES and Mark Meyers, the founder of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue (PVDR), can make anyone fall in love with the oft-ignored animal. With nearly 9,000 donkeys rescued in his seventeen-year career, Meyers has dedicated his life to generating com- passion for donkeys around the globe. Donkeys, says Meyers, are widely misunderstood as “stupid and stubborn.” When Meyers encountered his first donkey, he was living just outside of Los Angeles, working as an elec- trical contractor. His wife, Amy, bought Izzy the don- key as a backyard pet. When Izzy came out of the trailer at her new home, “she was just like a big dog,” says Meyers, “friendly, smart, and curious.” Meyers began to notice multiple donkeys in his own community suffering from ailments such as mal- nutrition and overgrown hooves—two common signs of abuse and neglect. By 2005, he and Amy were caring for 25 donkeys in their backyard, and decided to open an offi- cial rescue. Based in San Angelo, Texas, PVDR currently cares for over 3,200 don- keys spread across 30 locations, with a focus on rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption. Meyers was origi- nally focused on rescuing abused and neglected donkeys, but after an amendment in 2004 to the Wild Free- Roaming Horses & Burros Act stated that animals over ten years of age, or BODHISATTVAS Donkey Dharma MARK MEYERS brings his Buddhist practice to rescuing mistreated donkeys, who sometimes teach him the real meaning of compassion. COURTESYOFMARKMEYERS Tell us about a bodhisattva you know at firstname.lastname@example.org those who had failed adoption three times, could be sold—typically to slaughterhouses that feed the skin market in China—PVDR began to res- cue wild donkeys, known as burros, by the hundreds. Meyers’ Buddhist practice is Meyers says being with donkeys is like meditation—not much happens. Meyers with (l–r) Houdini, Pepe, and Stormy. LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2018 17 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE