2017-02-01 / Front Page

Donkey makes friends with horse, finds new home

Eric Merklein’s American Mammoth Jack, Griffin, is in the front with Ace behind him.  — PHOTO BY RUTHIE DOUGLASEric Merklein’s American Mammoth Jack, Griffin, is in the front with Ace behind him. — PHOTO BY RUTHIE DOUGLASCHESTER — There is a special boarder at Shaylee Stables, owned by the Benson family in Chester, this winter. His name is Griffin. He’s a Mammoth donkey, with 14-inch ears and lives in Walpole, New Hampshire during the rest of the year.

Griffin came from a rescue barn in South Acworth, New Hampshire called Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue. They are a nonprofit rescue that has been in operation since 2007, rescuing more than 70 donkeys and mules in that time.

At first Griffin was to be a companion to Eric Merklein’s horse, Ace, during the non-winter months. The reason being the rescue barn was so crowded with donkeys and mules who were either abandoned or mistreated, but Griffin worked his way into Merklein’s heart and “became part of the family.”

Griffin is actually an American Mammoth Jack. This blood line goes back to former president George Washington, who started a breeding program with donkeys given to him by Lafayette.

It is thought that Griffin is 20-25 years old. He has a life expectancy of around 40 years. His favorite foods are carrots, apples and hay but he also loves to eat certain varieties of scrub bush and loves to chew bark off downed trees.

Griffin’s jaw line is far bigger than you would expect and has teeth that seem more fitting for the giant Clydesdale horse.

Ace and Griffin have developed an incredible bond. Ace is protective of Griffin, most especially when he is sleeping. The two are often playing. Griffin likes to catch Ace by surprise and pull his tail.

Merklein is very grateful to be at the Shaylee Stables as his barn is not set up for winter operations and he knows that the two are spoiled by Kim and her family. 

“You should visit and see the great work Ann Firestone is doing to save and protect these wonderful creatures,” said Merklein.

For more information about the donkey and mule rescue, please visit online at http://www.saveyourassrescue.org.

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