Since 2009, the Association for Donkey and Equine Haven USA in Celina has helped rescue, rehome and rehabilitate abused and neglected equine animals, volunteer Rebecca Tudor said.

Tudor said she became involved with the haven after seeing the organization’s sign one day when she was leaving Brookshire's and reached out to see how she could help. Now, most days, she heads to the haven twice a day to feed and care for the animals.

The background

The organization was founded by Karla Vargas, Tudor said, adding it is 100% volunteer operated.

The organization will take custody of animals for a variety of reasons, including health reasons, law enforcement seizures and instances when the owners are unable to care for the animal.

“We’ll rescue them from anywhere,” Tudor said. “We take donkeys regardless of their age, health or adoptability.”

A lack of capacity is the only reason the organization will decline to accept an animal, Tudor said. They take in all equine animals, but they mostly work with donkeys.

Once the animal is in the care of the haven, Tudor said the rehabilitation process begins, which is one of the organization's biggest expenses.

“Hopefully we can rehab them,” Tudor said. “If not, then they will stay with us forever and have a humane, healthy and loving existence, and also a compassionate end."

How to help

The organization is working to increase the number of animals they can hold, and one the biggest ways someone can help is donating money, which can be done through the website. Donations are also accepted through social media.

Additionally, Tudor said the organization is always in need of hay and building materials, such as wood, which can also be donated through the website. Other equine care items, such as troughs, are also helpful.

“Used panels, used gates and T-posts—anything that can possibly help with a ranching operation, we would love,” Tudor said.

In addition, Tudor said community members can volunteer their time to help care for and socialize the animals.

“There is something [to do] for everyone,” Tudor said. “Even if it’s just cleaning buckets or picking up trash.”