Rescuing our first mule


Yama's first week at her new home.

I didn’t intend to fall in love with Mules. It happened by accident.


What I really wanted where sheep. I spent months researching sheep and finding a breeder. I settled on Painted Desert Sheep and I found a breeder 2 hours away. But the problem with owning sheep, is that they attract some really big predators. Mountain Lions, Wolves, Coyotes, and Bears all think sheep are easy prey. So I also needed a flock guardian.


I’ve met a number of Livestock Guardian dogs, and I didn’t want one. I love dogs, but LSGs tend to bark non stop at visitors. If I am to build a yoga, meditation, wildlife retreat, I can’t have dogs barking at my guests. A quiet option are guardian llamas. Llamas are territorial and blend in with the flock, problem is I just don’t like llamas enough to have a few. So I settled on donkeys. Donkeys are not exactly quiet but they don’t bark. I searched the local ads and I considered applying to the BLM burro rescue, but nothing seemed to fit within my sheep buying timeline. Then I found a craigslist ad for Yama the mini mule.


A mini trailer for our mini mule

Yama was abandoned in a pasture when her owners got evicted and moved away. The woman I bought her from, rescued her but couldn’t afford to keep her. When I met Yama, she was standing in a small pen surrounded by a muddy field decimated by recent clear cutting. It was depressing. Yama was irritable, argumentative and pushy. I had heard mules are hard to train and hard to get along with, but I loved her at first sight and I wanted to save her from her depressing circumstances. I was unsure and untried and I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

That weekend we found the cutest mini horse trailer that we could tow with our Subaru Forester, and we picked up the newest addition to the family. The sheep ended up being a total disaster. They escaped as soon as I got them back to the ranch and likely one of those big predators got them. It was tragic and sad, but it was worth it to fall in love with mules.


Zoe and Yama's first ride.

Turns out I am a mule person.

I love earning Yama's trust, learning to communicate, setting boundaries and breaking through our hard headedness to feel connected.


That’s why I rescued two more.