Today, I met Betty White. Betty White The Donkey, that is.  Yes, this Betty White and the beloved late actress both share a special bond that leads right here to San Angelo.

Photo by Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
Photo by Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
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Yes, this Betty White and the beloved late actress both share a special bond that leads right here to San Angelo.

Photo: Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
Photo: Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
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The Peaceful Valley Donkey rescue on Duckworth Road has rescued thousands of distressed donkeys here and around the world. Betty White, and the estate of  her husband Alan Ludden were big contributors to the rescue beginning in 2006. Although she never visited the rescue, she was a substantial backer.  You can even see the gate that was dedicated to the nursery in Betty's honor.

Photo: Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue via Youtube
Photo: Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue via Youtube
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Mark Meyers is the founder of this non-profit.  He says his love of donkeys began 20 years ago when his wife bought a donkey on the internet as a companion for one of their horses.  Izzy, their first donkey, still lives at the ranch. From humble beginnings their  love for these incredible animals grew into a 172 acre ranch here in San Angelo.  Plus, there are other Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue rehabilitation facilities in Arizona and Concord, Virginia.

At last count, The Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue has saved over 16-thousand donkeys.

Photo by Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
Photo by Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
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Perhaps no other animal in the entire animal kingdom has been maligned as much as the humble donkey. Old West movies disparaged them as stubborn and cantankerous.  This reputation might be the reason so many of these animals are mistreated and slaughtered in locations around the world.

Photo by Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
Photo by Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
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It only takes five minutes among the animals at Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue and you realize this animal's popular reputation is very wrong.  As Mark Meyers describes them, they are affectionate, loyal animals. When well cared for, they act more like puppy dogs.  In fact, it is almost impossible to take a photo of Betty White, the donkey, because she wants to be right on top of you.  She wants to be embraced and loved.

Photo by Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
Photo by Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
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As you can imagine, taking care of this many donkeys creates quite an urgent need for backers.  Here in San Angelo, they feed over 12,000 pounds of hay every day. There are high medical costs. Add to that rescue efforts over wide areas, including Hawaii, The Caribbean, and Federally managed lands in California and you can see costs add up. The rescue also needs volunteers.  Find out how you can help now at donkeyrescue.org.

Photo by Joseph Browning Townsquare Media
Photo by Joseph Browning Townsquare Media
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Regardless of how you view donkeys, these incredibly affectionate, loyal and smart animals will win you over.

Photo by Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
Photo by Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
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We all owe them a lot.  One could argue that America was built on the back of these creatures.  The West would never have been won.  Railroads would have never been built.  Gold Prospectors  would never have struck it rich without these hard working animals.

Photo Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
Photo Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
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It is  appropriate that even during this Holy Time of year for Christians, the donkey is a part of Jesus' story. The story in Chapter 21 of the Gospel of Matthew says Jesus told the disciples where to find a donkey and her colt and asked them to bring the colt to him. It was on the back of the humble donkey , that Christ rode into Jerusalem.  If the humble donkey could carry Jesus, then surely we are worthy to carry him in our hearts. Surely, we can show these humble creatures love and mercy and in so doing find the humanity deep within us all.  After all, it's what Betty White would have wanted.  Both of them.

Photo by Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
Photo by Joseph Browning for Townsquare Media
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LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

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