Need a gift for that person on your list who has everything? Give a water buffalo. Or a yak.
Friends In Need, an animal rescue organization in Eagle Mountain, is looking for donations to build a winter shelter for three yaks and a water buffalo rescued from local owners over the past year. One of the yaks is a youth, born in the shelter to a mother who arrived pregnant after the owners decided they could no longer care for the animal. The all-volunteer staff has named the baby Tonka.
To build a pole building with metal sheeting that will house the animals through winter storms will cost $2,000.
"It's got to be durable and meant to last because these guys have horns," said Kim O'Donnell, who runs Friends In Need with his wife, Karen. "We want to try and get them out of the snow. It's nice to give them shelter and straw and a place to get out of the wet."
Giving a yak or water buffalo sponsorship would make an unusual Christmas gift.
"They could sponsor these animals and we always keep them updated on what is going on with them," O'Donnell said.
Donors could also visit the rescue, meet the animals in person and even volunteer to help feed them.
But for the shelter, donations are needed.
"It would be nice to get them suited and get them all taken care of it," he said. "It would be one less worry for us. We are all of the sudden getting calls about dogs and cats."
With cold weather setting in, some families already in financial stress are giving up their dogs and cats to the rescue, he said.
To raise money for vet bills and food, the group is doing pet photos with Santa at the Draper and West Jordan Petco stores. For information or to see the yaks and water buffalo in person, consider coming Monday through Friday as a volunteer to help feed the 200 or so animals. For information about donating or volunteering, visit friends-in-need.org.