Two donkeys, seven dogs, two cats saved by Cajun Navy and family

Published 9:23 am Thursday, September 21, 2017

By Anne Payne

The Orange Leader

Through their many moves across the USA from Oregon to Washington state, California, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and now Texas, Bill and Barbara Meyer always find love in their hearts for animals. When they moved to the Mauriceville area 10 years ago for Bill’s job in Human Resources, they sought a property with lots of acreage to accommodate animals.

They soon got a big surprise when within a short time, they were owners of two donkeys, Jack and Jake.

The two donkeys found the Meyer family, not the other way around. Jack was roaming around Highway 12 and just happened upon the road to their home one day. After asking neighbors if they were missing a donkey, no one would claim Jack.

Bill was elated, exclaiming, “I always wanted a donkey!”

He went to a local feed store to buy donkey food, and ran into a guy buying the same food, but looking for someone to take a small donkey since he already owned one.

Bill said, “Why not? Jack needs a companion, even though Jake is much smaller than Jack.”

He phoned a shocked Barbara to tell her that he was bringing home another donkey to keep Jack company. She quickly hung-up the phone in disbelief. The man at the feed store soon delivered Jake in a horse trailer.

Then, there was the matter of dogs.

Bill and Barbara already had a dog named Daisy and several cats when moving from Alabama to Texas.

One day, Bill, a former middle linebacker for the University of Oregon Ducks, passed a litter of puppies in a ditch as he was going to work, thinking that he would grab the little pups if still there on the way home. Not to worry, since they were still there as he later returned. Bill immediately stopped, scooping the puppies up and placing them in his vehicle. Once again, he called his wife to inform her that five puppies were coming home.

It turned out they were all females.

They later had a lost male dog come to their home, resulting in seven dogs, counting Daisy and several cats.

When the couple was hit by the rising waters of Harvey only a few weeks ago, the water first came up at least eight feet on their 15 acres where the donkeys stay.

Bill and Barbara took a boat out to where the boys graze, finding Jack holding the much smaller Jake up by Jake’s head resting on his back since the water was so deep. Jake and Jack remained that way for two to three days until the water receded in the wooded area where the donkeys like to reside.

Rescued by the Cajun Navy in a bass boat at 3 a.m., Bill and Barbara got out just as the water on the bottom floor of their two-story house climbed to nearly four feet, while fish swam through their downstairs and red ant hills floated by in the dark with no power.

Bill and Barbara took their Maltese, Daisy, in the Cajun Navy boat after placing their cats in kennels in the attic.

They also had the other six dogs kenneled.

Coincidentally, just as the Cajun Navy arrived, a Coast Guard helicopter also emerged, but the couple waved them away since they were already in the bass boat.

The Cajun Navy delivered the Meyer family and Daisy to an unflooded area on Highway 12 where they were picked up by good friends from Bridge City.

“The Cajun Navy promised they would come back the next day to help us rescue dogs and donkeys and they did,” Barbara said.

The next day, those same friends brought the couple back to rescue the remaining dogs and cats, and later brought a horse trailer to rescue the donkeys, Jack and Jake.

Bill and Barbara were truly afraid the 7 to 8-year-old donkeys were going to drown, but the boys remained steadfast and strong. Barbara was dreading to have to tell her 8-year-old granddaughter in South Carolina that the donkeys were gone, since she developed a fondness for them over the summers while visiting. Granddaughter Avery loves feeding the donkeys lots of carrots.

The donkeys are still at the home of the Bridge City friends, who have a pasture with some horses. The donkeys have now bonded with the horses, although it was a little shaky at first.

Bill and Barbara are missing the donkeys, so their “vacation time” will be over soon.

Barbara concluded, “This is a good lesson for the world about getting along. If the donkeys could accept the horses and vice versa, then this should be an example to all of us regarding accepting each other.”

Meanwhile, the dogs are all back home and in their kennels. The Meyers would like people to know that the five females rescued by Bill as puppies still need a permanent home so they can receive the love and attention they deserve.

However, Daisy, a blond dog, the cats, and, of course, the donkeys have their homes for life with Bill and Barbara. You may email the writer of this article if interested in adopting one of the female dogs at:

There was nothing like the Harvey waters in Barbara’s native state of California, nor growing up in Grants Pass, Oregon, and graduating from the University of Oregon with a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.S. in Early Childhood Education.

Meanwhile, Bill was born in West Columbia, Texas, but was reared in Burney, California. Moving so often after marriage was a result of his job in HR at numerous paper mills. He and Barbara met at University of Oregon where he obtained a B.S. in Business Administration.

They are both now retired, although Barbara is a community volunteer. Barbara’s favorite job, however, is that of being Nana to her South Carolina daughter’s three children. Her son is a bachelor with no children.

Barbara added, “This flood of Harvey was the worst experience of my life, outside the health of my loved ones.”

The couple also experienced the March 2016 flood, known in Orange County as the Deweyville Flood, which did not flood their home, but flood waters gushed their fields, even leaving an alligator, which graciously meandered off their property.