In 1998, a Cochise County couple wanted a friend for their donkey, Blackjack. 26 years later, Blackjack has about 30 friends who live with him at what has become a bona fide donkey sanctuary in Benson.

Forever Home Donkey Rescue and Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization with the goal of helping donkeys in need of rescuing or rehabilitation. The sanctuary is located at 360 E. Rocksprings Road in Benson.

Director Suzanne Velasquez explained they dont typically take in donkeys with the intention of one day putting them up for adoption. Instead they do the opposite. She said, We take in donkeys, mainly the ones that are not adoptable someplace else.

Some of the donkeys have medical issues. Others werent treated properly by previous owners, but now they have a second chance. Velasquez explained the donkeys receive all the care and attention they need. They also spend the majority of their time roaming the sanctuarys 30-acre property.

The sanctuary offers free private tours where guests are able to meet each of the donkeys and learn their stories. Tours are available by appointment only and can be made by calling 1-520-212-0100.

You can bring your kids out here, have a great time, come for a tour, leave with some education and tell someone else, Velasquez said.

The organization will also be hosting a free open house event on March 16 from 10 a.m. to 4p.m.



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