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Stiert has 11 donkeys, a mule and a donkey-zebra hybrid that live in a neat, 0.6-hectare miniranch at his home in Ulster Park, 130 kilometers north of New York City.The Donkey Sanctuary, based in Devon, England, offers donkey-assisted therapy programs for children recovering from cancer, victims of human trafficking and other vulnerable people."We're not providing therapy for the trauma but for developing life skills," said Caron Whaley, therapy director at the sanctuary.Unlike how donkeys are portrayed in popular culture as gloomy or ill-tempered, they're actually mild-mannered, intelligent and affectionate, donkey advocates say.Stiert bought his first six donkeys from breeders but then started taking in rescues.Patti Lundgren said she looked for Meetup groups when she moved to the area and was intrigued by the donkey hikes.
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