Billy has become quite the lucky burro. However, his story started out as one marked by abandonment, struggle, and hunger.
In December 2013, Billy was discovered wandering alone in the Nevada desert. According to the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), he was “abandoned in the middle of nowhere, on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land between Battle Mountain & Elko.”
Local mining employees were the first to spot Billy on the desert roadside and grew concerned after Billy remained “in the same area for more than a month,” Deniz Bolbol, AWHPC communications director tells OGP. They realized that he was an abandoned burro, not a wild one, and saw how he grew thinner and thinner as the days passed.
These kind-hearted miners started to bring Billy food and water for the next four weeks and kept a watchful eye over him during their workdays. Not long into their acquaintance, the miners learned how friendly and gentle Billy really was.
“He would climb into your truck, they said, if you let him,” the AWHPC writes.
Soon, the miners called the BLM who then reached out to the AWHPC to find a forever home for Billy. While the AWHPC figured out where to place Billy, the miners became “so concerned … that they convinced a local ranch manager to bring him home,” the AWHPC reports.
Here, Billy stayed safe and well fed for a few weeks until the AWHPC came to his rescue.
“Since Billy is not a wild burro, he is not protected under federal law. So he was classified as ‘estray livestock,’ and his fate was in the hands of the Nevada Department of Agriculture, which agreed to allow us to purchase him directly in order to spare Billy the trauma of being run through the livestock auction,” the AWHPC reports.
The AWHPC picked Billy up from the Nevada Department of Agriculture on Feb. 26, 2014 and transported him to a foster home in Reno, Nev., where Billy remained until the Center for Animal Protection and Education (CAPE) sanctuary in Grass Valley, Calif., arrived to take him to his forever home on March 11, 2014.
Up until the CAPE came for Billy, The Platero Project, a burro protection program launched by the Humane Society of the United States through a generous five-year $760,000 grant from an anonymous donor, paid for all his medical expenses, including hoof trimming, which Billy desperately needed, along with de-worming and dental care.
Once Billy arrived at the CAPE, he was immediately greeted with lots of affection with plenty of volunteers “on hand to welcome him to his new home,” as CAPE executive director JP Novic tells OGP.
“You could tell that Billy the Burro LOVES people and he immediately captured the hearts of everyone he met,” said Novic.
Initially, Billy was kept separated from other animals for a few days to ensure he was in good health. After this quarantine period, Billy was let out into a large pasture with some of CAPE’s resident animals, including a few goats and Rootie the pig. However, as Novic notes, Billy let them know “right away” that he wanted to be on the other side of the fence, where three other rescued burros were enjoying another large pasture.
Since arriving at CAPE, Billy put on some weight and is gradually gaining back the 200 pounds he lost over the course of his abandonment. What’s more, Novic tells us that Billy has “developed a rather large fan club.”
“Everyone who meets Billy wants to hug and kiss him on his fuzzy face – and he loves nothing more than that, to be the recipient of all this attention,” Novic says.
Even with Billy’s naturally kind nature, he has been known to be a bit mischievous. Novic says that he has stolen some things out of people’s cars and so they “have to be very careful not to leave treats where he can find them.”
Yet, we doubt anyone could really be mad at Billy – just look at that cute face!
Billy will now get to live out the rest of his life surrounded by love and is safe from the harsh desert environment thanks to all the individuals and groups that joined together to make his rescue possible.
As Novic tells OGP, “What is so incredible about [Billy’s] story, is that so many people and organizations worked together to save his life. Not only did individuals show concern and compassion for his situation, but all these organizations including AWHPC, The Platero Project, and CAPE collaborated to make sure he was brought to safety.”
Check out Billy’s journey to CAPE in the video below:
Lead image source: American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign