Palo Alto Humane Society Partners with the Donkey Project!

By Carole Hyde, Director of Programs, PAHS

Download PDF of article here

Carole Hyde and Buddy the Donkey
Carole Hyde shows Buddy a copy of Snapshot, written by Palo Alto resident Vandana Ravi. Photo courtesy of PAHS.

I had the pleasure recently of saying “Hey” to Perry, Buddy, and Bella the horse, happy friends in their happy home in the pasture adjoining Bol Park. Palo Alto Humane Society (PAHS) is pleased to begin its partnership with the Barron Park Donkey Project. PAHS will provide administrative support. The Donkey Project, with donations from advocates and supporters like you, will supply the hay and the veterinary care. This is a natural fit between two local historic animal welfare institutions. PAHS, founded in 1908 from a precursor SPCA, has a long history of protecting animals and promoting their welfare through public education and veterinary assistance.

Equines are no strangers to the organization. The early SPCA established the first watering troughs in Palo Alto for carriage and other work horses and mules. Its humane officer guarded horses, cows, dogs, and other animals against mistreatment and abuse. The organization’s history is dotted with such colorful characters as Mrs. B. C. Merriman who rode the streets in her buggy, brandishing a whip against any driver she saw mistreating a mule or a horse.

Reorganized in 1908 under its present name, Palo Alto Humane Society continued its concern for horses and other equines. PAHS partnered with the Hawthorne Happy Home for Abused and Retired Horses in Woodside. PAHS also created the Worn-Out Horse Fund to help with the rescue of horses and other equines who had been cruelly treated or abandoned. The Fund, in partnership with Hawthorne Happy Home, rescued working horses from around the Peninsula and as far away as San Francisco, whose police horses were brought down to enjoy retirement at Hawthorne.

More recently, PAHS has made special donations to the Barron Park Donkey Project to support the resident donkeys. The donkeys provided inspiration for the winning story in the PAHS first “Ambassadors of Compassion” writing contest for middle school students. Snapshot, by Palo Alto resident Vandana Ravi, is a tale about a lonely donkey who gains a friend. The book, with additional essays about the welfare of donkeys around the world, is available for sale through the PAHS website, here.

Peter Noyes and his Donkeys
Peter Noyes and his donkeys, circa 1930s or ‘40s. Photo Courtesy of PAHS Archives.

PAHS archives feature a photograph from the 1930s or ‘40s, showing “Peter Noyes and his donkeys.” If any of you are history buffs and know more about this photograph or have anecdotes about the long history of donkeys, horses, and mules in Palo Alto, please let me
know! In the meantime, PAHS is glad to be a partner of the Barron Park donkeys. To volunteer with the Donkey Project or to donate or purchase donkey-themed merchandise, go to: or contact Jenny Kiratli at: