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Beloved Palo Alto donkey dies at 32

Original post made on Oct 4, 2016

One of the Barron Park neighborhood's beloved and iconic donkeys, Miner Forty Niner, has died, according to his handlers. He was 32.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 4:10 PM

Comments (20)

35 people like this
Posted by Friend
a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Oh, sad news. Niner will be missed. RIP.


Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley

on Oct 4, 2016 at 7:47 pm


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5 people like this
Posted by artbuilder
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 4, 2016 at 10:35 pm

contrary to this report the city does Not own the pasture
its privately owned


25 people like this
Posted by BP
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2016 at 12:15 am

Losing Niner is so sad. He helped to make Barron Park a unique place.


15 people like this
Posted by Katy
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2016 at 12:37 am

Katy is a registered user.

Niner will be missed. I hope a companion for Perry can be found soon.


11 people like this
Posted by Where is Perry?
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2016 at 1:02 am

Niner has been passed away for a week now and does anyone know where is Perry? Children want to see Perry and know that he is not dead too. This whole neighborhood and community is grieving.


12 people like this
Posted by Bruce
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2016 at 6:09 am

TO: Where is Perry?

"Perry has been removed from the paddock and relocated for what handlers said will be a short stay. Harding-Barlow said she hopes that another donkey companion can be found for him."


32 people like this
Posted by A grandchild
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2016 at 9:38 am

I'm often saddened that my grandmother,Oma - Josina Bol, is so seldom mentioned. She fed and cared for the donkeys for many decades. As kids we loved to gather up the carrots and others veggies and tromp over to feed the donkeys with her.


4 people like this
Posted by Richard Placone
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2016 at 11:10 am

One correction to this story. While I do not remember the exact date of Dr. Bol's death, it was in the early 1970's that the Bol Family offered the "donkey pasture" to the community at a below market price if it would be made into a park. What is now Bol Park was dedicated in 1974, one year prior to the annexation of Barron Park to Palo Alto. The residents of Barron Park taxed themselves to be able to establish the park. Keeping and caring for the donkeys became a permanent part of that project. Upon annexation to Palo Alto, the city assumed ownership of the park as well as the former Southern Pacific railroad right of way, which had been given to the Barron Park community as a gift. The city then developed the right of way into the current shared pathway. It is correct that I was the president of the Barron Park Association during this time.


9 people like this
Posted by Carol Gilbert
a resident of University South
on Oct 5, 2016 at 11:26 am

Sorry to hear of Niner's death. We have always enjoyed our time spent at Bol Park. Thank you, Bol family for what you have done for Palo Alto. I have lovely pictures to remember Niner by. Looking forward to the return of Perry and truly hope that a great companion will come to share his space with him.


8 people like this
Posted by Akey
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 5, 2016 at 11:44 am

So when can we put up a statue of Niner. I believe its quite appropriate, and as the article mentions donkeys are wiser than men. Why not rename one of our schools after him? it would be much better than honoring eugenicists like Terman or JLS that advocated for policies we would now associate with dystopian fascist nightmares.

Rename Terman or Gunn to Niner Middle/High School!


9 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 5, 2016 at 11:44 am

Thanks for the memories, Niner! I hope this area of Palo Alto can retain its unique equine and rural character.


19 people like this
Posted by Cheryl Lilienstein
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2016 at 12:00 pm

This is really sad. I always looked forward to seeing Niner on my walk and I eventually considered him "my boyfriend". Once he entered his mellow stage he would bray when I approached and let me touch his face. He relaxed and hung his head on the fence, and got a kind of contemplative expression. And he wouldn't let Perry near me. Then, one day I found out that he had another affectionate friend, too! There was a friendly Russian lady in the pasture giving him enthusiastic hugs and kisses, and he was clearly enjoying the attention. I will miss him a lot. It's nice to hear about his history.... so many things he never told me! I guess it's like that with obituaries: yet, it seems wrong that we only get to know more about a beloved after they die. Thank you Bol Family, Inga Harding-Barlow, and Dick Placone for enriching the lives of those of us who love animals.

Great story, Sue Dremann. Thanks for writing it.


8 people like this
Posted by Max
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 5, 2016 at 2:39 pm

That's really sad! His memory will be a blessing to us all. I am very grateful that many of us got to share some time with him, and its something very special about Palo Alto. He lives on in our hearts and wherever he is, I bet he's really happy.


6 people like this
Posted by We Will Miss Him
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2016 at 5:28 pm

We Will Miss Him is a registered user.

Thirty-two is a ripe old age for a donkey, especially one in captivity. They are prone to founder and colic.

Rest well, Niner.


Like this comment
Posted by Chrisc
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 5, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Which Burris were there in about 1982? We used to run through there at noon, and the Burris would be standing in mud up to their "knees?" And looked so miserable, they did not look well-cared for and I was very sad. Remember 1973? I think it still holds the record for total rainfall.


Like this comment
Posted by Chrisc
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 5, 2016 at 11:22 pm

In my previous comment, I meant "1983." Wish there were an edit function.


4 people like this
Posted by Gene Simpson
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 6, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Thank you to the thoughtful caring donkey handlers who “camped” at the Steinbeck Country Equine Clinic in Salinas CA for Niner’s last days, staying with him and Perry all day, petting them and talking to them.

Perry can be brought back to Palo Alto anytime, but he would be too depressed coming back to the paddock in Barron Park without his mate Niner. It is best to adopt one or two donkeys and then bring Perry to join them in Parry’s paddock.

Donkeys are “herd” animals. Donkeys feel best with equine companions. Also older animals feel more comfortable with another older relaxed animal, as younger animals are more active and can frighten an older animal who can't see or hear so well, so it would be best to try to adopt older donkeys. Older donkeys also feel vulnerable due to the loss of eyesight and hearing and they definitely prefer to have at least one friend for comfort although two companions would be better.


3 people like this
Posted by Truth Be Told
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2016 at 9:58 am

Truth Be Told is a registered user.

Did Niner die of old age, or an illness? I ask because I have known donkeys in captivity to live to be 45 or more. I know of one in my veterinarian's practice who lived to be 51.

These days, with regular worming, proper nutrition, monthly doses of psyllium to clear sand from the gut, and equine dentistry, all equines are living beyond their previous life expectancies.


Like this comment
Posted by Candi Campbell
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Back in the late 80s & early 90s, I used to lure-course my Whippets on (is it) the Gunn High School playing fields -- My 2 young sons and I always enjoyed visiting "Mickey the Donkey", who was in residence there at the time, and feeding him carrots I would bring with for that purpose ... He really loved all the attention from us & would always sniff nose-to-nose with the hounds as well.


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