Love of Miniature Donkeys.

Have you ever heard about the people who love donkeys more than horses? Who think donkeys are cute? Who thinks donkeys are worth more than to just haul things around?

By Dharampreet Dhillon

Have you ever heard about the people who love donkeys more than horses? Who think donkeys are cute? Who thinks donkeys are worth more than to just haul things around?

Kim Bowie and Shanna Jones are the few people that consider donkeys to be more than haulers. Both sisters come from Scottish heritage. They are always ready to talk about miniature donkeys and love to spend their time on their farm. The venture between local and a city girl is very interesting. While Shanna hosts the donkeys, sister Kim has become training & showing partner. 

How Kim Bowie, a city girl found her love of donkeys? What were the things which took her to a farm house from a big city?

“Donkeys are amazing little creatures,” said Kim Bowie owner L’Lass Miniature Donkeys in a face to face interview. “They’re wonderful animals to just hang out with.”

A farm located in Rocky View County, Alberta is the place where you can find little donkeys walking, running or playing in the big ground and simply living life.

Her sister, who lives on John’s Hereford Ranch, one of the ancient and old ranches in Alberta has always wanted to raise donkeys, and they decided that it would be a nice thing to do together as sisters.

“I’m a city girl, and I was excited to start learning more about them,” she said. “They’re great jumpers, and they also pull us in carts.”

There are so many breeds of donkeys. Miniature donkeys which Kim and Shanna own are a distinctive breed. They’re not miniaturized from a larger donkey, they possess different genetics than the standard donkeys. There are the three sizes of donkeys that are available in North America.

Donkeys are new to North America, they didn’t come here until the early 1900s. And they originally came into Alberta, to work in mines. They can pull about 300 pounds, about their weight behind them. And they’re also small enough to get into mines easily. The working donkey in North America didn’t last for very long. They became pleasure animals fairly quickly.

Kim loves to train her donkeys. It is a challenge to train any kind of animal, the challenge of teaching them, to do obstacles to get them jumping, to build trust between them.

“They’re just really gentle, loving animals,” she said. “There’s no better feeling than walking into a field of donkeys and having them surround you looking curious about who you are if you’re new to them.”

Her sister Shanna Jones, who’s a rancher, helped her to build a confidence in raising donkeys and the rural life.

“She grew up in the city most of her life and she found it an incredible challenge to be able to be a part of a rural endeavor,” said Jones in a face to face interview.

Lots of people that have donkeys also have horses. If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy getting on top of a horse and riding it, owning a donkey is a great substitute.

Donkeys tend to get along with horses very well. Racing horses often will have a donkey’s companionship to keep them calm since they differ nature. Donkeys are very calm animals, while horses on the other hand, especially high-performance horses, can get spooked easily and be high strung.

Kim owns a breeding herd of Jenny’s (female donkey) and she sells some of the babies every year and sells adult animals as well. Sometimes they sell female donkeys who are breeders and produce foals. They also have two intact males, the breeders. Sometimes other donkeys come in and pay to use their studs.

“It’s really more an endeavor of love, than it is of profits,” she said. “You’re never going to get rich by raising donkeys.”

 Stampede provides a chance to people of Calgary, to learn about the miniature donkeys.  Kim comes to stampede every year with her donkeys. She loves to tell other people about her donkeys.

There’s an obvious division between urban and rural people. Almost everyone buys their food comes from grocery store like Safeway but they don’t have a proper understanding of where their food comes from, where animals come from, what animals are used for. Events like Stampede helps to narrow that difference.

I’ve developed a real passion for them. And I love sharing that with other people. – Bowie.

Kim and Shanna started raising donkeys in 2010 in Shanna’s family farm under the name L’Lass Miniature Donkeys. “Lass” is the Scottish term for young girl, and L’Lass is an abbreviation for “Little Lass,” which is also a perfect description of the small female donkeys. 

SAITSA has made a history by donating ten million dollars to SAIT

By Dharampreet Dhillon

SAIT student association has raised ten million dollars and donated it to SAIT during a big announcement on January 23rd.

SAITSA worked for ten years to raise money. More than seventy thousand students contributed to this big gift to SAIT. According to SAITSA, the main purpose of this donation is to build a new building and start a new faculty in SAIT campus.

“The vision is truly inspiring,” “you work together better than nobody else for the benefits of all our students” said Dr. David Ross, President and CEO, SAIT in his speech to the students. “Congratulations everybody.”

Ryan Morstad, Chair, SAITSA board of directors presented this gift on behalf of current students and SAITSA as well as former students and SAITSA.

“We made it together” said Ryan Morstad in a face to face interview. “This was a long process and SAITSA of past years have made it successful, he said.” “This is not just a donation to SAIT, this is the donation to student space on campus.”

SAITSA tweeted, “history made – SAITSA’s $10 million donation is largest of its kind from a student association to an institute of technology in Western Canada.

A big event was organized to make this big and historical announcement. More than 400 people, including students, staff and donors got together in Irene Lewis Atrium. Presidents and Directors of past year SAITSA were also invited to the event. Students and other people who were standing there, had bells and artificial clap hand in their hands to celebrate this movement with full joy. After the great announcement the whole crowd started shouting, playing the bells, start clapping with the funny artificial hands. Free hot dogs and beverages were served to first 300 people.

I am so glad that SAITSA is using my money really well,” said Brigitte Matheson, former student of sait while attending the event.

According to Mr. Morstad, a referendum vote was held more than ten years ago to know that students are willing or not to pay certain amount of money for SAITSA and the results were surprising, majority of the students said “yes” to pay SAITSA fees. At this time SAITSA fees is 143 Canadian dollars. A few years ago, there was another referendum vote to release that fund. “We were supposed to start building new SAITSA HQ last year but it took longer time,” he said.

Answering to the question that is this money is not more than the spending on a building? Mr. Morstad said, the remaining money will be used for paying the loans.

“Despite of being supported by fellow students, we have to deal with a lot of problem,” said Parmvir Gill, Director, SAITSA in a face to face interview. “Everyone has to work hard in our association to make SAITSA works successful, at the same time we have to focus on our studies,” he said.

SAITSA works like all other student associations, it deals with the problems of students and try to provide them best environment for studies. As Mr. Gill said that they are dealing with government, big institutes, lawyers and so many parties.

This fund-raising work will continue and we will keep on spending this money for making student space better. This is the money of students and only for students. – Gill

According to SAITSA, every Wednesday, they offer free lunch to the students and always come up with recreational activities. So that student can break the monotony of their life and rejuvenate their minds outside of their classes.