If you can't tell by the donkey image on the gate, you can definitely
tell by the sound. But these aren't just any donkeys. They're miniature
ones. These cute and cuddly guys average just under three feet high. "You
know they're little carousels. They're like a fantasy that's true. But
most people have never seen one," said Caroline Elfving, the owner
of Carousel Gardens Miniature Donkeys. It was Elfving's miniature carousel
collection that inspired her to name her ranch "Carousel Gardens"
and to equate her equine friends with the little figures on the merry-go-round.
Devoting her time to donkeys wasn't Elfving's desire until her life took
a dramatic turn. "I worked at the University of California at Davis
as a pest control operator and I had a major injury. I became medically
retired in 1997 and I always thought, now what am I going to do?"
She had a little donkey as a pet so she thought why not expand to a herd,
breeding and selling these cuddly creatures for others to enjoy. Now she
has more than two-dozen blissfully grazing on her 11-acre property outside
of Corning, California.
"It's a very relaxing atmosphere. It's a different life, but an
enriching one. I feel very blessed that I found this type of animal. It
just fulfills my every dream of what a pet should be," Elfving said.
Miniature donkeys are trustworthy around children, the elderly and the
disabled. They're hardy, healthy animals that only require a small amount
of grain and hay, as well as shelter from extreme weather.
Elfving enjoys sharing her donkeys with others, by taking them into schools.
She even created a coloring book that teaches youngsters about the care
and feeding of these adorable animals. For more information on Carousel
Gardens and miniature donkeys log onto the website at www.carouselgardens.net