PERU, NY (WPTZ)– Donkeys are Ken Parker’s favorite animal.
Thanks to him, many in the North Country are seeing the sweet nature of the animals thanks to his non-profit, Thera-Pets, Inc., based out of Butternut Ridge Farm in Peru, New York.
“They’re not stubborn. They’re very smart,” Parker says.
Like therapy dogs, therapy donkeys love to cuddle and be pet. Parker said anyone can come see for themselves by making an appointment at the farm.
The miniature donkeys visit senior centers and nursing homes several times each month.
He’s also set up a program for children with autism and other behavioral disorders. The children come to the farm every Sunday and are responsible for taking care of a donkey.
“The children really identify with the donkeys, and so that’s why we use them, because they’re gentle and they’re so good with the kids,” he says.
They’re so beloved by those who meet them, Parker said they sometimes make special trips.
“We’ve had that three different times where we’ve had a donkey go to somebody’s funeral,” he said.