It is with unbounded joy that I announce the official establishment of ZDF's non profit sister organization, Zen Donkey Experience (ZDx)! We've been working toward this goal for years and are so excited and humbled to embark upon this new chapter of the Zen Donkey story! Facilitating a therapeutic journey through experiences with equines is a lifelong dream that I have been working toward as a volunteer for over 20 years, and being introduced to the unique wisdom and spirit of donkeys in the last few years has driven this passion into a reality!

ZDx sparks the beginning of a healing and joyful journey for people in our community, and eventually across America, with the important benefit of rescuing donkeys for our programs as an integral part of the mission.  

In the coming months, we'll be building and testing our curriculum with some amazing kids and their families, who have so graciously joined us in the soft launch of this program.

Kate Barker

Our mission:

To promote healing and general well-being for people and donkeys through interactive experiences in a therapeutic setting inspired by nature and a plant-based lifestyle.

Our purpose:

The Zen Donkey Experience (ZDx) serves vulnerable children and adults by improving their quality of life through equine-assisted skill development, self-empowerment, stress relief, and relationship-building, specifically through a special connection with rescued donkeys.

Donkeys are highly intelligent and have a healing, Zen-like presence. Their innate therapeutic qualities and unique ability to deeply connect with people can enable vulnerable individuals to develop important interpersonal skills as they learn to manage the challenges of everyday relationships. Furthermore, donkeys face a global emergency with the growing demand for donkey skins that are used in some traditional Chinese medicine practices and skincare products. In rescuing donkeys, and providing them with proper care, training, and the special job of helping people, the Zen Donkey Experience simultaneously benefits donkeys and humans in need as they heal and flourish together.

When interactive experiences with donkeys are enjoyed in a setting inspired by nature and a healthy lifestyle, the therapeutic benefits are deepened further, as vulnerable people and donkeys are introduced to a new world that is full of joy, vibrant health, growth, connection, and freedom. We are committed to changing lives through the next-level connection and healing experience that donkeys can facilitate.

Next-level connection

Each week, individuals from the Kansas City area come to ZDx to build relationships and develop skills they once only dreamed about.

At ZDx, we provide vulnerable people with opportunities to nurture and develop important life skills like emotional connection, social interaction, communication skill-building, and confidence building, all in a safe, fun, and non-clinical setting.

Donkeys in our program have been rescued, many from terrible conditions or unfortunate circumstances. Now safe in our care, they have become wonderful teachers and facilitators, and helpers for humans facing emotional, psychological, and cognitive challenges. Our donkeys are also going through their own healing process, and greatly benefit from interacting with other humans on a 1:1 basis, fostering a special partnership of healing between the individual person and donkey.

We believe that donkeys can play an important role in helping individuals find joy, alleviate stress, and nurture important relationship skills. Caring for and interacting with donkeys that have been rescued from negative situations is FUN and creates a unique space for introspection, emotional growth and overall well-being. We foster an environment in which participants are motivated to reach new levels of confidence, courage, and independence.

How you can help

How you can support the donkeys and humans of ZDx:

  • Make a direct donation here
  • Purchase organic cold-pressed juices and other healthy plant-based products from Zen Donkey Farms (all juice profits support ZDx)!
  • Follow our ZDx journey on Instagram @zendonkeyexperience and tell all your friends!
  • Be kind to donkeys, open your mind to learning more about them, and help us spread the word about their amazing power to heal!

ZDF supports ZDx by donating profits from their healthy plant-based food company! They deliver fresh, organic cold-pressed juices all across the Kansas City area, with more exciting health-inspired products coming soon!

The experience

We make our therapeutic experiences FUN, focused on self-empowerment and independence, and without lengthy checklists or measuring sticks. We provide a safe, fun, and impactful experience for people to heal, nourish, connect, move, grow, and play in a therapeutic setting facilitated by rescued donkeys, inspired by nature, and fueled by a plant-based lifestyle!