Thunder: From Death Valley to Sanctuary #AnimalRescue

What’s that noise… a plane? A storm? No, it’s Thunder, one of Farm Sanctuary’s resident donkeys! Thunder was rescued in 1997 by the Wild Burro Rescue and Rehabilitation Project. Along with four other jacks, he then made the trek from California’s Death Valley to our Northern California Shelter.

Thunder, at right, grazing with his buddy Sierra.



Thunder quickly adapted to Farm Sanctuary life. He took to exploring the hills with ease, and even seemed to enjoy his new “roommates” in the main cattle herd. Thunder still likes to hang out with his bovine pals, and will even sleep where they do on some nights.


Thunder (left middleground) enjoying a day in the pasture with his longtime friends Quartz (at right and closest to the camera) and Sierra (in the background).

He spent his early days at sanctuary happily roaming many acres of land with donkey buddies Sierra and Quartz, the trio often running up to greet staff members, expecting a piece of carrot or apple to be awaiting them when they arrived.

Thunder coming up to visit with a human pal.

This has not changed; Thunder still comes running anytime he thinks there could be a treat in store for him. He often outpaces pal Sierra to be the first one to reach the treats in hopes of getting one or two extras!


Thunder is a very unique guy inside and out, but one especially impressive thing about him is his beautiful winter coat. He gets the fluffiest and thickest coat of any of the donkeys at the shelter; he will often look like a giant teddy bear with his thick winter locks.


Thunder the teddy bear!

Luckily for Thunder, though, he sheds his coat every spring in preparation for the hot Orland summers, and the difference in appearance is astounding. He goes from a ball of fluff to a sleek-looking stallion — or at least we like to imagine he thinks of himself as such.


Thunder, front, and Sierra, rear.

Thunder has spent nearly 20 years as a free and happy donkey at Farm Sanctuary. Not much has changed for him in this time — he continues to graze in the pastures, hang out with his donkey and cattle friends, and relishes attention from his humanimal buddies (and lots of treats).


Thunder, right, with Sierra.

We love that Thunder is safe and sound with us, and look forward to caring for him for the rest of his life while he enjoys all that Farm Sanctuary has to offer!


Please share Thunder’s story. Together, we can encourage understanding about donkeys like him. With your support, we can continue to promote compassionate vegan living through rescue, education, and advocacy efforts. A compassionate world begins with you!


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