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Owners of pet donkey lost 5 years ago discover where he's been

Posted at 6:59 PM, Jun 16, 2024

AUBURN, California (KOVR) -- An Auburn family was heartbroken when their pet donkey disappeared five years ago.

We first told you about Diesel when he went missing in 2019 and volunteers searched for weeks but never found him. Now, a new video has surfaced with a clue as to where he's been all this time.

Terrie Drewry and her husband, Dave, are Diesel's owners. They live on a ranch near Auburn with other animals. Dave had taken Diesel on a hiking trip along the Cache Creek wilderness near Clear Lake and they were on a trail when something scared Diesel.

"We think a mountain lion might have spooked him," Terrie said. "He just got away."

They kept going back for weeks searching by foot, on horseback, and even by drone, but they could never find Diesel.

A trail camera spotted a glimpse of him at night about a month later and they found some footprints. But over the years, the family feared the worst, not knowing if Diesel could survive on his own.

"We finally kind of gave up," Terrie said. "Just no signs of him."

Now, five years later, a social media post is offering some answers. A man hiking in the wilderness captured video of a single donkey living alongside a herd of elk, and Terrie is certain it's Diesel.

"It was amazing. It was like, oh my gosh. Finally, we saw him. Finally, we know he's good. He's living his best life. He's happy. He's healthy, and it was just a relief," Terrie said.

The elk herd is a few miles away from where Diesel first went missing and in an area where there are no wild donkeys.

"Two completely different creatures, but they learn to get along and be each other's family," Terrie said.

Terrie said that there are even signs that Diesel is defending his new family from predators.

"He's killed coyotes protecting the herd and possibly a mountain lion," Terrie said.

The Drewrys have adopted new donkeys, and they don't have any plans to try and capture Diesel.

"To catch him would be next to impossible," Terrie said. "He is truly a wild burro now."

They're just happy knowing Diesel is healthy and has found a new family.

"He's out there doing what he's raised to do," Terrie said.

Terrie said Diesel is about eight years old now and donkeys can live for 30 to 40 years.