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Lions Roar : March 2018
informed by his work as a donkey res- cuer, and vice versa. In the early days of donkey rescue, Meyers would come home from his contracting work and sit with the mistreated donkeys, some- times chatting, other times in silence. Just being with the donkeys, he says, is a meditation of sorts. “You’ve got a lot of time, when you’re sitting in the pens staring at a donkey, to practice, to push those unimportant thoughts out of your head,” Meyers says. In donkey rescue, it’s important to maintain a practice of mindfulness, he says—a practice he tries to impress upon his staff. Capturing burros requires him to be patient and grounded in the present moment. There’s little room for multi- tasking when dealing with wild animals, Meyers says. “If I walk into the pen in an aggressive mood, and I’ve got to get a hundred don- keys vaccinated and I’m being aggressive, they respond differently than if I were to walk in being calm,” he says. Donkeys respond to patience and kindness, and won’t be bullied into trust- ing you. Meyers notes that compassion comes from the donkeys as well, because they’re always looking to keep the people around them safe. He’s observed a notable difference in the behavior of therapy donkeys working with disabled visitors, and donkey behavior around small children. PVDR has nearly covered the entire United States, though there is always more rescue work to do. The organiza- tion adopts out around 400 rehabili- tated donkeys a year, and hopes to start doing rescue work in the Caribbean. Meyers continues to travel the country, changing the public’s perspective of donkeys with his collection of heart- warming personal tales. “It’s not like people have an agenda against the don- keys; they’re just ignorant of them,” says Meyers. “I’ve got enough stories that I can melt anybody’s heart.” ♦ LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2018 18 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE