Andrea and Jeff Durham live on a 54 acre farm in northern Greenville County, South Carolina. They actually live in the very house Jeff grew up in. During Jeff’s childhood, the farm was a working cattle farm. As time went on, and lives changed, the cattle were sold, the barn caved in, and the property went back to Mother Nature.

Once Andrea and Jeff were married, Jeff moved Andrea out to the farm. Andrea, being the animal lover she is, saw infinite possibilities for animals everywhere on the farm. Jeff, however, wasn’t convinced. Jeff finally conceded and allowed Andrea to adopt a couple of goats, Tim and Tickle. Now there were two goats on the farm who needed protection from the once prolific coyote packs roaming the property. Andrea, in true fashion, pressured Jeff to get a donkey because she heard donkeys were great livestock protectors. Little did Andrea and Jeff know, you need to adopt two donkeys, because donkeys, like most mammals, are companion animals and need a friend. Now, Tim and Tickle were part of a foursome with Jessie and Ringer, the two donkeys.

With Jessie and Ringer on the farm, a hunt for a farrier and a vet ensued. Andrea was astonished to hear farriers hate working on donkeys, and some veterinarians do as well. Why is that case? Andrea began asking professionals within the equine world, she began researching donkeys left and right, and began taking notice of the farms around her. Donkeys have a terrible reputation for being stubborn, sullen creatures and a lot of professionals don’t want to work with them. A large portion of the donkeys within the upstate of South Carolina are used as livestock protection for cattle.

Shortly after adopting Jessie and Ringer, Jeff and Andrea realized the two donkeys were the gentlest animals they had ever met. These animals are not designed to be livestock protectors. Donkeys and mules crave human interaction and affection. The farmers who purchase donkeys for livestock protectors often just place a donkey or two in a field with cattle and let them be. The donkeys will usually never see a vet or farrier, or if they do, the donkeys are terrified and act out because they haven’t received much human interaction. Once the donkey has proven to be too much of a handful, or fails as a livestock protector, the donkey is simply tossed aside and lands who knows where. Andrea saw this happen time and time again.

Knowing they had the space, the love, and the determination, Jeff and Andrea set out to help and serve as many donkeys, mules, and people as they can. The goal of Long Ear Rescue is to educate people on how amazing these animals are, how to properly care for an equine, and to assist donkeys and mules so they can live the life they deserve to live where they are treated with kindness and respect.