The Herd - Zeb's wish
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Story of Our Herd


Benyamin (Benny) may look like a fragile muppet but he is one of the strongest souls we know. Born in 1993 and coming from living years in a muddy shelterless pen on the coast, poor Benny never did receive the care he needed.  Upon arrival at the sanctuary and despite his neglect, Benny has blossomed in spirit even as his body gets more fragile.  Benny suffers from founder, Cushing’s disease and arthritis- all of which are kept in check with special care, medications, and feed. We love the head-butting boy that he is and revel in good days and suffer with him through his not so good days.

He loves his Daisy girl with all of his fuzzy heart and we love our Benny with all of our fuzzy hearts!


Zeb the Mule came into our lives in 1997 at the age of 38 years old. Starved and abandoned and afraid, this mule found the heart to trust and heal again and in doing so, changed the trajectory of his new mommas life forever.

The promise she made to him that day began a path that would lead to the rescue and transformation of many special needs equines since.


Zeb the mule passed away in 2009 at the age of 50. He never lived to see the nonprofit dedicated to equines like him but we know that his memory drives all that we do here. 

From all of us to you our dearest Zeb- Thank you.  


Born in 2001, our beautiful Star was a once loved family member. She broke her knee and ankle as a youngster and her leg has remodeled itself to be strong if not, well, a bit bowed. Her family chose to keep her despite her deformity. Star came to us after a death in the family. She has a beautiful spirit and is filled with a love of life and the bossyness that a bossmare should have!

Zoomie, Star, Smokey, Goldie and Buttercup

These 5 fabulous smalls came from the same sad situation as Rusty and were so quick to wend their ways into so many hearts.  While some of the little ones loved a crowd, others preferred to have just one good friend in their lives. We are grateful to have found just the right families for all of their big personalities!

Congratulations to all of the smalls on you adoptions and new lives in 2017! You are ALL cherished! 


This big beautiful boy is living proof of the importance of matching the right horse with the right owner. Rusty was a sensitive horse who was purchased for a beginner with little horse experience. His became more and more troubled and developed traits that were seen as dangerous by the owners. He behaved in a way that got his needs met when things at home got difficult.

Fast forward and he and his herd of 5 minis were removed from their home and brought to Zebs Wish in the fall of 2016. With time to heal, put on weight, develope needed muscle and receive some solid behavioral training, Russ blossomed into a magnificent and kind horse. We are so proud of our boy Russ! You have come so far!

The handsome Rusty met the love of his life in the fall of 2017 and was adopted. He and his momma now enjoy hitting the trails together. Go Team Rusty! 

Dilly, Dally and Dulcinea

All three girls were removed from a severe neglect situation and were brought immediately to our fosters to recover. With foot care and refeeding their sparkling personalities began to emerge. We fell in love with these lovely longears!

Nothing can keep a good Donk down and all three were adopted into loving homes and are adored members of their new families! 

Donkey Hotay

Hotay arrived at Zebs Wish in 2013 after 12 years of living, tied by a noose to a truck axle in the forest in the coastal mountains of Oregon. Forced to drag the axle around as he searched for food and water, Hotay was thin, sick and had terrible feet.  A kind neighbor finally convinced the owner to let Hotay go.  The winter night that we finally cut Hotay from his noose opened his life up for the first time.  Hotay learned that humans were not all to be feared, touch was wonderful, and life could be a bright place!

We are thankful to our fearless transport volunteers for braving the cold and dark and TERRIFIED donkey to get him out of there on that cold night. What a joy to have him arrive and settle for the first time in a soft warm stall!

Donkey Hotay was adopted in 2016 by his loving momma and now spends his days with his herd of Donkey and Mule pals. 


Billy and Barco

Some stories are happy, if only because a deserving animal is finally released from their pain. Such is the case with lifelong brothers in arms Billy and Barco.

These two kind boys were only 17 and 18 years old but had suffered from years of modest care and both suffered from advanced Cushings disease and severe asthma.  When their owner passed away we took over the care of the boys only to discover quickly that they were both gravely ill.

We opted to help them both find relief from their struggles in July of 2013. They were buried as they lived- together. 


This 30-inch dynamo came to Zebs Wish in the fall of 2015 and filled this place up with his larger than life personality! Bubbles was born in 2012 and his first three years alone in a pasture on a local farm.

This little guy was SUCH a favorite with everyone who came to Zebs Wish and was known for being fearless and inquisitive and, let’s face it, as the clown of the sanctuary. We knew that Bubbles was meant to have a future and a ‘horse of the people’ and we waited patiently for just the right home to come along.

Our wish was granted in November 2017 when his new mom, dad and mini brother Milo came along. Today you can find Bubbles in training for his mayoral debut on the streets of North Portland and at many public events alongside his brother Milo. 

Lil Keith and Marionberry

These two sweet kids we part of a herd of 42 horses intercepted before slaughter from a thoroughbred breeding farm.  Marion and Keith were only 3 and 4 years old but due to the thoroughbred racing industries practices, were forced to run before their knees were ready and growth plates closed. Both Marion and Lil Keith had broken knee caps and were destined for the slaughter auction as ‘losses’ to the industry. They were 3 and 4 years old.

Gratefully, these two ended up at Zebs Wish for the time it might take for their knees to heal.

These were only two of thousands of racehorses bred, ridden and raced, and ruined each year. The many of whom, end their lives before the hit double digits, at low-grade slaughter auctions or on the dirt of the track.

We are glad to say that they were both adopted into loving homes. 


Charlotte was born in 1977 and was a pack horse her entire life. After she lost her lifetime buddy to colic, she became very depressed and distraught. Her owner decided that her best option would be to euthanize her but after much convincing agreed to release her to live with Zeb the mule as a companion.

Charlotte was an original member of the Zebs Wish herd and a cherished member of our community. She was graceful in her aging and infirmities and was always the kind welcomer of visitors and rescues.

Charlotte suffered from a pelvis injury that, after many years became too much for her. Charlotte passed away in June 2013 at the age of 36.


Agnes came to the sanctuary as a seizure through the Oregon Humane Society. At the tender age of 8, Agnes has rarely been handled and suffered from horribly overgrown hooves and a fear of humans that precluded any touch. With constant effort and gentling though natural horsemanship, we are confident that this little mule will be able to find her braveness and have a full life with all the care she deserves.


Shiloh and Buzz came to Zeb’s together from a serious neglect situation in November of 2013. Shiloh, 25 at the time, arrived with a body condition score of just 2 but with good care and senior feed he has rebounded quickly and is becoming the lovely and regal old man he is meant to be.  We were told that he had been a parade horse in his past and the way that Shiloh carried himself with grace and ease, it is easy to see.


 Shiloh has been adopted and now has an equally sassy girlfriend and adoring humans!



Our lovely Moses came to us as part of a rescue out of eastern Oregon in 2012.

He arrived at the sanctuary a terrified and thin old man with failing eyesight and terrible PTSD from his previous life. With good soft food and lots of love and patience, this amazing mule man has gained weight and trust with his humans and fellow herd mates. One year later he has gone from an equine so frightened that he would shake so badly he would collapse, to being a true lover of deep hugs. We would remind Moses every day that he dids not have to be tomorrow, what he was yesterday.

Dear Moses crossed the rainbow bridge surrounded by those who loved him in July 2015 at the age of 40


Ebony is our city girl who was born in 1982 and lived her first 31 years with her human on a city lot in SE Portland.  She was the last livestock animal grandfathered into the City of Portland when it grew up around her. When her human passed away suddenly, neighbors rallied to get this regal old lady to Zeb’s Wish where she has lived since December of 2012. Suffering from Cushing’s Disease and never having had a pasture pal (or a pasture), she headed directly to foster mom Debbie’s paradise to heal her heart and her body. She was joined shortly after by her first roommate Donkey-Hotay, then Dove the pony mule who was her permanent sidekick and best friend. Our lovely lady Ebony has lost her yak like coat thanks to her medications and glows like, well, ebony with all of the great food and care. Her favorite sport is rambling around her kingdom and enjoying her golden years with lots of scratches and kisses.

Our beautiful Ebony passed away in 2018, just two weeks shy of her 38th birthday. She lived to the end like the grand old lady she was.


Our dear Daisy was surrendered to us in September of 2011 after a lifetime of being a living lawnmower on a 20’ dog chain. Despite this beginning, and the chronic founder that she suffers from years of neglect, she has shown the heart of a lion since day one. Miss D is our sunshine and melts the hearts of all who enter the sanctuary with her heartrending bray and her doe eyes—and did we mention those EARS?! Daisy is on a managed feeding plan now and gets specialized hoof trims to help her stay more comfortable on her feet. She can be spotted along with her best buddy Benyamin at late night final feeding, looking up at the stars and dreaming together of adventure.



Dove was surrendered to Zeb’s Wish (along with her pony and Mini mule companions) in March of 2013 after several visits by animal welfare authorities.  Dove, the worst off, both mentally and physically, came to Zebs for sanctuary while her companions went to another rescue for adoption.

This poor little mule had feet that were so long that she was forced to walk on the outsides on her turned up hooves. She suffers from lung damage due to prolonged bouts of pneumonia, uveitis and had a grave fear and mistrust in humans upon her arrival. Due to her need for intense interactive care, she went to live with foster mom Debbie and Ebony the horse where she could be only one of two.  It is there that she has blossomed from a little mule with a crushed spirit to a happy little long ear who takes her infirmities in stride.

Through intensive work with her feet, she is able to move comfortably for the first time in years. With intensive therapy to her broken heart, she is learning that it is safe to love her humans.  She is still a medically fragile lady but learns every day what it is like to take a brick of fear out of her wall of defenses and live life anew.

Our beautiful Dove’s little heart supported her as long as it could and simply could no longer keep up. We helped Dove pass in December 2017. 


Buzz came to Zeb’s with Shiloh from a meth house. He was the protector of Shiloh and his champion. As Buzz recovered we could see a really sensitive, adventurous and fun loving boy emerge. This guy is a real sweetheart and charmer and we look forward to him finding him his perfect forever home!
We are excited to say that Buzz was sent to Sound Equine Options for training and was adopted by his very own girl in 2014!


Brother Bud came to Zeb’s Wish in November of 2011 after his owner passed away. He had been a performance horse in his previous life that left him with chronic injuries in his feet and legs. When he was no longer able to perform, he was given away and ended up in a dire situation. A kind woman took him in and nursed him back to health and when she passed away, Bud came to Zebs. He receives regular joint care that includes chiropractic, massage, supplements and acupuncture that keeps his ‘wheels’ more comfortable. Bud is a big personality who reminds us how big a heart can be.  On his good days you might find him in the lower pasture-running his barrel racing patterns and dreaming of his past life as a great athlete.



Bodhi (Bodhisattva) was born in captivity out of a wild mustang mare and had known mishandling in his young life which left him blind in one eye and suffering with lung and tracheal damage. He was then abandoned in a pasture for the next 7 years of his life and was never handled until Zeb’s took him in at the age of 8. Despite his chronic COPD and eyesight issues, he has proven to be the most insightful, kind and benevolent herd leader of our sanctuary family.

Bodhi still must take daily COPD medication but has excelled in his groundwork to become our ‘at will horse partnership’ ambassador showing what true partnership between horse and human can be. This lovely black horse is the teacher of new volunteers, comforter of the heartbroken and a beautiful greeter to the sanctuary.