By Katie Terou
SYV Star Intern
Photos by Daniel Dreifuss
Solvang farmer Linda Marchi rescues donkeys from kill pens, brings them back to health and gets them ready for adoption, and in the process hopes to “educate everyone possible on how wonderful” the animals can be.
Her Seein’ Spots Farm and donkey rescue houses more than 150 animals, including donkeys, horses, pigs and many more. There are even some rare animals, including a zonkey (half donkey and half zebra) and a mammoth donkey.
All of the animals on the farm are rescues from various backgrounds, including kill pens and 4-H.
“It’s hard to tell you where they came from because each one has its own little story,” Marchi said.
Marchi started Seein’ Spots Farm in 2007. Her family was involved with rescuing animals while she was growing up, so she knew she wanted to pursue a similar path.
“This was kind of my dream, to get a big farm,” she said.
Marchi chose to focus her rescue efforts on donkeys because they’ve “had a bad rep for many years.” One of her missions with Seein’ Spots Farm is to “educate everyone possible on how wonderful … and affectionate these mini donkeys are.”
“I think they are probably one of the most misunderstood creatures,” said Marchi’s husband, Brett. “Most people think they kick and they’re stubborn but … they’re super friendly.”
Animals are in very poor condition when they arrive at Seein’ Spots, usually starving and ill. Marchi and her staff help get the animals healthy again and train them to be friendly so they can be adopted.
“It’s amazing to see the transformation from a sickly donkey to a happy, healthy one,” said Marchi.
Marchi has help from one full-time employee and several volunteers. Some rescue donkeys come to the farm pregnant, and Marchi and her volunteers help the mothers deliver their foals safely. They then care for and train the baby donkeys so they can be adopted as well. Three donkeys have been born on the farm this year.
Seein’ Spots Farm is open every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and by appointment. To learn more, visit seeinspotsfarm.com or call 805-688-2275.