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    Name: Mariah 

    Type: Mammoth Donkey

    Color: Brown & White Spotted

    Sex: Mare

    Birthday: 1/1/1997


Ark Watch logo 2022

Mariah’s story really begins with Maddie. Maddie was near 30 years old and was discovered with her sister, Millie, in extremely poor condition; without shelter and completely exposed to the elements at a kill pen. They both were emaciated and had severe pneumonia. Soon after their arrival at the vet clinic, Millie went down. It did not look good for Millie and perhaps because Maddie knew her sister was dying…Maddie went down as well. It became apparent that it was up to Maddie to decide whether or not she was going to join Millie or if she wanted to live.

Although realizing that another animal could not replace the bond she had with her sister, in order to provide some company and hopefully provide some distraction and curiosity while she grieved the los of her sister, a search brought a mammoth donkey named Mariah to the attention of the Ark Watch Foundation. Though in deplorable state (insects were clinging to her so thick that she literally looked black) and barely a “2” on the Henneke Body Condition Scale it was obvious that Mariah needed care too. Skittish and unfriendly she was difficult to handle for veterinary care.

Mariah and Maddie were placed in side-by-side pens under cover at Reata Equine Clinic in Weatherford, TX. Three weeks passed with no apparent interest between them when all of a sudden and to the relief of everyone, things seemed to shift. Ups and downs with their care could not dissolve the need each had of the other and three months later Maddie and Mariah boarded the trailer for the Sanctuary at Red Bell Run.

Later, Mariah was diagnosed and treated for the neurological condition, EPM. As Mariah became more comfortable in her surroundings and began to develop trust in the humans caring for her, she also began to heal emotionally. Gone was the frightened, untouchable Mariah and in her place appeared an affectionate “pocket pony”.

Several months after the two arrived, Mariah was introduced to another Mammoth donkey named Winston. The two were instantly smitten and along with Maddie this threesome enjoyed their time together while being doted on by Sanctuary staff. When Maddie passed away, Mariah had Winston at her side as she grieved the loss of her friend. Winston has since passed on as well and Mariah now lives in harmony with Buddy Jackson. 

Always one of the first to greet Red Bell Run Sanctuary guests at Longears Lodge, Mariah has truly blossomed in her new home. Mariah probably had been loved and cared for properly in her early life and it is so gratifying to see her return to that state of being.  

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Winston & Mariah

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Mariah & Buddy Jackson

Buddy Jackson

Buddy Jackson

Buddy Jackson



    Name: Buddy Jackson

    Type: Standard Donkey

    Color: Brown

    Sex: Gelding

    Birthday: 1/1/2011


Buddy Jackson escaped from a horrible situation in our local North Carolina area. Buddy Jackson and his herd mates had been left to fend for themselves by an irresponsible owner. Soon, the grass was eaten in the pastures and Buddy Jackson and friends decided to escape in search of food. This wasn’t difficult because the fencing was in disrepair. However, having two jacks (Vinnie and Buddy Jackson) wandering the neighborhood and upsetting all of their equines didn’t set well with the neighbors who called Buddy Jackson’s owner and asked him to retrieve his herd. Unfortunately, the owner decided to rope Buddy Jackson and proceed to drag him down an asphalt road. You can imagine the damage that was done to por Buddy Jackson. The neighbors were, of course, outraged, and called the authorities. They also took in all of the donkeys (Vinnie, Buddy Jackson, Ruby, Moonshine, and Gracie) and called Red Bell Run for help. The entire herd came to Red Bell Run so that they could be properly cared for and Buddy Jackson could have his wounds addressed. Buddy Jackson is now safe forever at Red Bell Run, living with his new friend Mariah, a lovely mammoth jenny rescued by the Ark Watch Foundation. He adores Mariah and loves spending his days attending to her and greeting visitors in the Longear Villas. 

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BJ Daniel Martinez
Ella Grace & Gracie

Ella Grace & Gracie

Ella Grace & Gracie

EG and G 300ppi

   Name: Ella Grace

    Type: Standard Donkey

    Color: Red 

    Markings: Star

    Sex: Mare

    Birthday: 12/10/2019


   Name: Gracie

    Type: Standard Donkey

    Color: Red Roan

    Markings: None

    Sex: Mare

    Birthday: 1/1/2014


Ella Grace’s mom, Gracie, had been left to fend for herself with several other donkeys by an uncaring owner. Once the grass was eaten in their pasture the entire herd escaped the broken-down fencing in search of food. The two jacks in the herd (Vinnie, Ella Grace’s sire, and his partner Buddy Jackson) plus the three jennies wandering the roads and upsetting all of the neighboring equines didn’t go over well. The neighbors called Gracie’s owner and asked him to retrieve his donkeys. Sadly, the owner roped Buddy Jackson and proceeded to drag him down an asphalt road behind an ATV. You can imagine the damage that was done to poor Buddy Jackson. The neighbors were, of course, outraged, and called the authorities and ended up taking in all of the donkeys (Vinnie, Buddy Jackson, Ruby, Moonshine, and Gracie). Needing help, they reached out to us. The entire herd came to Red Bell Run to be properly cared for; they were all refed and dewormed and Buddy Jackson endured two months of ongoing treatments for his mangled legs. Then we realized that the herd of five was going to be a herd of seven!

It wasn’t long before Gracie began to have that “swallowed a giant pumpkin” look. The problem was that the herd had been on fescue pasture. Fescue has an endophyte on the grass blades which causes many issues with equine pregnancy including lack of lactation and thickened placentas. Knowing of Gracie’s neglect during most of her pregnancy, we sent her to Tryon Equine Hospital to ensure that help was on hand when the baby arrived.

In due course our Ella Grace made her appearance and it was immediately obvious that Vinnie was the lucky dad! They are the same beautiful red color and have striking white blazes on their faces. Ella Grace also had the longest ears of any baby donkey we’d ever seen! She did have some issues with her immune system because of fescue toxicity and received a plasma infusion before coming home, but is now thriving and healthy.

Ella Grace has become one of our “superstars” and was recently featured in a local art show. She is as sweet as she is beautiful and lives with her mom Gracie and her friend Scooter at our Longear Villas. 

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Ella Grace and Gracie Phillippa
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Ella5 Kristin



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    Name: Snowy

    Type: Pony

    Color: Fleabitten Grey

    Markings: None

    Sex: Gelding

    Birthday: 1/1/1998


Just after New Year’s in 2018, the video of an adorable, senior, white pony who had landed in the Bowie, TX kill pen came through Celine Myer’s Facebook feed. She could tell by looking at the pony that he had a number of health issues so her Ark Watch Foundation obtained him so that he could get the care he needed. The little, pure white, gelded pony was named Snowy. Snowy had lots of “fat pads” on his body but he was also emaciated. In other words, at one time in his life, Snowy had been extremely overweight but was currently starved. 


This is a dangerous sequence of events in both ponies and donkeys. It can cascade into a “crash” of the equine’s entire internal organ system resulting in hyperlipidemia which is often fatal. Snowy’s bloodwork indicated he was lipaemic and the first few weeks of Snowy’s rescue were touch and go. Snowy’s bloodwork also showed a significantly elevated CK level. The CK level registers muscle enzymes and it was clear that Snowy’s body had been so starved, it had begun to eat his muscles in order to sustain his life. His liver values were of much concern and the vet started Snowy on a course of Uniprim in the hopes that the antibiotic might help to improve Snowy’s liver function. He was also put on a daily dose of Denamarin for his liver. Snowy was carefully refed and eventually, his bloodwork began to improve. However, the vet suspected that Snowy might also have Cushings Disease which turned out to be the case. Snowy was started on a daily dose of Prascend to treat the disease. As soon as he had recovered, he came to Red Bell Run.

Snowy is still on Prascend as well as several other medications. Now, at 30 years+, Snowy is a poster boy for Cushings, Equine Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin Resistance. To combat this, he has certainly done his part to help research these diseases. He has participated in a study for Boehringer-Ingelheim, a manufacturer of equine medications, for a drug that would help insulin resistant equines. He was also the subject horse of a lecture on equine metabolic diseases for Tryon Equine Hospital. He has a carefully controlled diet and several supplements to help him. He’s doing his part!

These days Snowy lives in his private shelter and paddock across from our Medical Services Office at Longear Villas. He is watched over carefully by our equine staff and vet techs. So far, despite his age and many issues, he is happy and spends his days communing with his neighbors, Mariah and Buddy Jackson. He has always preferred to live alone (we think he was gelded late in life). Snowy absolutely loves people and will come up to his gate to greet anyone who happens by with a nicker. Our Snowy is quite the character and happily participates in being dressed up by our staff and acting as an ambassador on our Red Bell Run tours! We love having Snowy at Red Bell Run and hope he’s around for many more years to come. 

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