Donkey Sanctuary of Canada   Leave a comment



When one of my aunts died in England, donations to a Donkey Sanctuary in lieu of flowers were requested. After reading about the work they did there, I decided to see if there was one in my area. I was pleasantly surprised to find The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, a mere 30 min drive from my home.

Since it was my first visit I was given the ‘safety talk’. 1) approach the donkeys from the side, not head on or from behind, 2) stroke them from the side of the head to the shoulders and/or groom them with supplied brushes along their sides, 3) if they start tapping their foot, or if their ears go down, they’ve maybe had enough so move on, 4) speak softly, 4) if you don’t want your fingers to be mistaken for juicy carrots, keep them away from their mouth.

The entrance is via the Long Ears boutique and, while there is no actual admission fee, there is a suggested donation of $10 (operating costs are expensive, ya know!).

I walk through the gate, making sure to secure it behind me, and wander into a field. The first two I see are busy chomping on the grass and they barely even lift their heads to greet me. I pet them then move on not wanting to interrupt their lunch.

Donkey Talks are held under a shade tree and the donkeys, seemingly loving the attention, weave in and out of the people standing and sitting listening to the volunteer. She talks about how the farm began, about the different types of animals they have and about the work involved (including the poop-scooping!).

The learning centre offers a wealth of information and shows some of the heart-wrenching conditions some animals were in when they arrived here. They come from all over Canada. Some are dearly loved but unable to be cared for any longer by their owners; some did not receive adequate care and nutrition and, very sadly, some were abused.

But when they arrive here, their whole world changes. This place is well named, it is a sanctuary and the staff are amazing. They know every name and story and are eager to share with visitors. Every Juliet, Sydney and Apache is well loved and able to live out the winter of their life here.

Many of them roam the fenced in fields and you can simply wander among them. There are some paddocks which you cannot enter, such as the quarantine area for the sick or those that are to be housed temporarily having just arrived at the farm.

Katy the Goat made me laugh as she dug deep and stuffed her face with hay but when I heard a donkey hee-hawing really loudly in answer to another one, it caught my attention. The sound came from Blue, a 19 year old male Donkey that had been here just 3 days. He was a well-loved pet at a farm somewhere in southwestern Ontario so I imagine the owners were no longer able to care for him.

I wandered over closer to where he was and watched him rolling in the dirt because he had just been stung by a bee. Then he got up, shook himself off and trotted over to the volunteer who knelt down realising he wanted a hug. He just laid his head on her shoulders as she scratched his back. That was the moment I fell in love and decided to sponsor Blue. Something just tugged at my heart knowing he’d had to leave his loving home but I think he landed in the very best place.

I encourage you to visit the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada and, if you are able, perhaps even make a donation, sponsor or foster an animal. I will definitely be going back. After all, I need to keep tabs on how my ‘Blue’ is doing. Hopefully next time, he’ll rest his head on my shoulder and I’ll be able to give him a hug and a scratch.

Click here to watch my video of Blue and the others.



Posted August 16, 2015 by Jaclyn in Random

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