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Ron King went from a high-up media executive wearing Gucci to finding his true calling: opening a donkey sanctuary in Northern California.

Like many others, the pandemic made King reconsider his career path. He soon left his powerful role and started a nonprofit on a 75-acre ranch. He dedicates his time now to the rescue and rehabilitation of donkeys.

He told CBS News that now, his favorite part of the day is his “donkey hug.”

He traveled between New York and Los Angeles as senior vice president for Times Inc and managed sales and marketing for popular brands; it’s clear he had a lot on his plate. In 2018, when Time Inc. was sold, King’s position was terminated. He did some freelance work after, but the pandemic made him rethink where his passions lay.

An old friend and well-known art dealer, Phil Selway, hired King to move his vacant ranch and sell it. King took the job and discovered how calm he felt on the vast open property.

“My head is always like a snow globe that’s being shook. It never stops. That sense of sort of chaos in my head was just normal for me. When the snow globe stops after 20 years, you feel that,” King said.

It was meant to be because soon after, King learned about the hardships of donkeys. Donkeys are known as strong animals who are capable of hauling goods or transporting people. However, once they are too weak or old to continue, they are sold at auctions, slaughtered, and skinned for their hides which are used for Chinese medicine.

“They don’t have any advocates, they don’t win races, they don’t feed a food chain. And I thought I need to help donkeys,” King said. “So I said, ‘Phil I have an idea I wanna run by you. I want you to take it off the market, not sell it, and let me turn this into a donkey sanctuary.'”

There are now 97 donkeys on the ranch, each of one who would have been killed if it weren’t for King’s kind heart. He works to find homes for the donkeys as well and has already found forever homes for 30 donkeys.

Donkeys have been abused and used for their strength for many years. The animals often suffer from saddle sores, injuries, and exhaustion. Many places in Greece use the animals to transport tourists and exploit the animals to make a profit.

These animals should not be forced to carry people or goods, they are not slaves to humans, and they need someone to fight for them!

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