Turning Pointe Donkey Rescue opens farm to public

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Volunteers from Turning Pointe Donkey Rescue prepare to cut the ribbon that will signify opening tours of their farm to the public

Volunteers from Turning Pointe Donkey Rescue prepare to cut the ribbon that will signify opening tours of their farm to the public

By Danielle Woodward
Mason Times staff writer

Donkeys brayed and onlookers cheered as the Mason Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting April 20 for Turning Pointe Donkey Rescue, celebrating the start of the facility’s seasonal public tours.

The nonprofit Michigan based organization gave its first public tour that Saturday as part of its mission to inform the public of the need for donkey rescue.

“Businesses and organizations in the Mason area (Mason and Dansville) are invited to be members of the chamber. The farm joined recently to boost its community awareness and networking opportunities,” said Mason Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Doug Klein.

Turning Pointe, which operates out of Dansville, is dedicated to, “the health and welfare of miniature, standard and mammoth donkeys,” according the its website.

“Our goal is to re-home donkeys and to educate potential donkey owners so they have a good idea of what they are getting into,” said Turning Pointe tour director JoAnne Sprayberry.

Nancy Cummings, participant in Saturday’s donkey tours, said she came because her sister was thinking of adopting one and she wanted to see what the donkeys were all about.

“My favorite part was being able to touch and get close to the donkeys,” said Cummings

According to Turning Pointe farm manager David Showers, the donkeys come from all over. The farm has taken in donkeys from Indiana, Ohio and Missouri and adopted out to 15 states, as well as Canada.

“Some are rescued from abuse, some are rescued from neglect, and some are pregnant. We take in all kinds of donkeys, big and small.”

Turning Pointe has been rescuing donkeys since 2004. Sharon Windsor founded it in 2002 after a visit to a kill pen prompted her to save Shaggy, the donkey that started it all.

Windsor owned a farm where she had a variety of animals before she got into donkeys. As she was browsing the Shipshewana Auction and Flea Market, she came across a “charming” Donkey in the kill pen that went by the name of Shaggy.

“Sharon started scratching her and getting to know her and decided, she’s not going to the kill pen, she’s coming home and they developed a relationship, which was the first of many to come,” said Sprayberry.

Windsor passed away Nov 1, 2012 after a long battle with cancer, and Turning Pointe is now overseen by the rescue’s board of directors, with her two sisters (JoAnn and Jane Sprayberry) carrying on her legacy.

Jane Sprayberry said that within a week of finding out Windsor was dying, she moved up to Dansville to help her, which was when she discovered Windsor’s work with Turning Pointe.

“What we found is that she had made a lot of really good friends and people that were really dedicated to the plight of donkeys,” said Jane Sprayberry.

“She must have been doing something good, because she had too many good people doing this with her, so I got hooked very quickly.”

Turning Pointe is run solely by volunteers and is always in search of extra help.

“It is for everyone who loves donkeys and wants to put in some effort to try to get them adopted out,” said Turning Pointe volunteer coordinator Lori Little.

Anyone interested in volunteering can fill out a form on the rescue’s website or call to have one mailed.

“Whether it be manual labor, cleaning stalls, socializing donkeys, event coordinating, marketing, or whatever, we will find something for you here,” said Little.

Click here for a grand tour of the Turning Pointe Donkey Farm

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