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WEST RIDGE FARM – A Big Part of our Future

August 26, 2016

west ridgeIn March of this year the DSC purchased West Ridge Farm, the 100 acre property adjacent to the west side of the Sanctuary.  As a result of a bequest to the DSC received late in 2015, we were fortunate to be able to make the offer and then the down payment for the land. Due to  this generous bequest, the DSC facility has doubled in size.

The landscape of West Ridge is beautiful, with 70 acres of fields for crops and 30 acres of rolling pastures and forest.  During this crop season,  wheat was planted, harvested and sold, with some of the revenues used to fertilize the fields for future use and the rest applied to the mortgage.  As far as the rest of the property is concerned, for the time being  we are working to expand our walking trail network which snakes up and down hills, past stone walls and beside enormous boulders in the forest.  Recently, usage of this part became official in a way when volunteers and staff walked a group of donkeys around the site.

In October, the DSC Board and senior staff will gather for a day long workshop in order to formulate guidelines for the operating strategy over the next 5 years.  Of course, the uses of West Ridge Farm will figure prominently in the discussions.  Extensive new fencing, expanded animal housing, future grazing areas: these are just a few of the topics to consider.  Adequate planning is crucial to our long-term operations.  We want to help as many animals as we can in the best ways that we can.

In 2022, what will the DSC look like?  If you have answers or suggestions to contribute, please make them as Comments to this blog or send them to the DSC Board Chair:  As a part of the DSC community, your input is important.

Sandra Pady, Founder




PACE for the Donkeys – Sunday, September 25, 2016

August 19, 2016

PACE – A single step taken when walking or running

PACE – Collective noun for a group of donkeys

PACE  for the DONKEYS – a trail race (walkers welcome) through the fields and forests of the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada

Whether your preference is to walk or to run, we hope you  join us for our annual 5 km trail run on Sunday, September 25th, 2016.

It will take place at the DSC Farm and all the registration details can be found at

Proceeds from the race will be used to help care for the donkeys at the DSC.

A little exercise, alot of donkey company : an unbeatable combinatiion!

Sandra Pady, Founder

RUBY- and other summer thoughts

July 19, 2016

IMG_0226Recently, one of our staff members, Martina Brown, was out walking down the lane and she spotted Ruby grazing in the field.  Martina’s affection for the donkeys is evident always in the photographs that she takes and this special moment is no exception.

Cloud-filled skies like this one have been unusual at the Sanctuary this summer.  Many consecutive sunny days meant earlier that our hay was plentiful and harvested in record time.  On the other hand, the virtual absence of rain since then does not bode well for a second cut.  As many of you know, farming is like this: the good and the not so good happening in the same season.

But the winter’s supply of hay is in the barn and that is most important.  With eighty-nine donkeys and mules in care here, matters of hay, straw and pasture are always in mind. Ruby and her companions are our first concern.

Sandra Pady, Founder





July 12, 2016

pannenewBack in 1991, a year before the DSC was established, I took in a motley  group of donkeys who were in desperate need of a home.  In physical terms they were very different from one another and  as they walked down the ramp of the trailer I couldn’t help remarking upon a dark brown, Mammoth jennet with the most beautiful, enormous ears.  The hair on her body was as lustrous as velvet and so that became her name. Trailing behind Velvet was her equally dark-coloured foal, just a few months old.  We called  him Panne, after the same-named fabric that is a variety of velvet.

Pane  grew steadily over that year and the next and before we knew it, he was 60″ at the withers.  In appearance, he  developed into an elegant, imposing donkey, but his capacity for getting into predicaments  countered any first impressions of staidness.  There were many cuts and scrapes to his body over the years because Panne was curious and particularly drawn to the greener grass on the other side of a fence.

In those early years of the DSC’s operations our modest income meant that we had to ‘make do’ with things and one of those areas was with regard to fencing.  There were split rail fences everywhere, charming to look at but weak in spots and  easily breeched  by a donkey of Panne’s size.   We never forgot the telephone call from a neighbour over on Sideroad 20 who had been quietly watching television until he heard a thumping sound and turned to see Panne’s nose pressed against the window.  We had no sooner replaced the section of fence through which he had pushed when Panne was found nibbling on the tree seedlings in a next door field.  The strong oak fencing that runs through the property today was built in great part to ensure that this roaming donkey stayed at home.

Panne’s most memorable escapade, though, happened one summer afternoon, when he was about 10 years old,  right inside our old barn.  Most of the donkeys had ambled out to graze and we guessed that Panne had been dozing in a corner of their loafing area when they departed.  He never liked to be by himself and so it was an unusual situation.  Meanwhile, a plumber who had been called to repair a leaking pipe arrived and when he walked into another part of the barn, the man could hear a thrashing noise and deep moaning groans.  He followed the sounds and came upon the sight of Panne, upside down in a large hay feeder, on his back with all four legs in the air!  After the call for help, staff members came running.  The feeder had to be dismantled so that Panne could roll out.  It took him no time at all, once he was right side up, to trot out to the field where he went directly to his mother’s side.

Panne  lived a full, contented life at the DSC and it was not unusual to discover him in one predicament or another.  He was just that kind of being.   His health had always been generally good but then staff noticed a decline in his bearing about 6 months ago.  By that time Panne was 25, which is well into the senior stages for an equine of his size.  Arthritis had developed in his hips and back, and he was obviously sore when he moved around.  Muscle wasting became evident, too, and so with much regret we knew that it was time for him to be euthanized. The autopsy revealed that his stomach had stopped emptying.

We were fortunate to have shared so many years with Panne.  His lively, curious nature will long be remembered and I miss seeing him amongst his gelding companions, roaming in the pastures.

Sandra Pady, Founder




June 17, 2016

                                             Supreme Court ruling decriminalizes some forms of bestiality

In a devastating 6-1 ruling last week, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the notion that bestiality encompasses all sexual activity with animals and has said it is restricted to penetration. This legal loophole will remain open, making animals vulnerable to other forms of sexual abuse, unless Parliament chooses to act.

Following is a link to the CBC news site where the background story for this Supreme Court decision is described.  The article is disturbing:

It seems perverse in 2016 that a teenager and a dog should be victims of such heinous deeds.  Both were criminal acts and should be prosecuted as such.  The laws desperately need to be changed.  Please go to (see link below) and sign the petition.  Your name will make a difference.

Sandra Pady, Founder


June 9, 2016

Every year, since 1993, on the second Sunday in June we have presented Donkey Day.  As we are fond of adding whenever it is mentioned, “It is an afternoon in the country for animal lovers of all ages.”  That said, I think it is helpful to add that the event is really so much more.

The donkeys are the stars of the afternoon, of course, but there are other elements for the visitor to enjoy, too.  Equine behaviour demonstrations will inform as will conversations with our partners in care, our farrier and our veterinarian.  Agility dogs will impress you with their ……agility and singers will entertain in our great big tent.  The children meanwhile, can get tattoos and do crafts and run around as they should every day. Our trails are here too for walkers to follow and for the first time we will include the trail on West Ridge Farm, the new addition to the DSC property.  And before, during or after all of this, we hope you enjoy the delicious food available to purchase.  It will be all plant based – we are celebrating the animals, after all.

This annual fundraising/open house will run 10-4, rain or shine at 6985 Puslinch Concession 4, south of Guelph.  If you are coming on the 401, exit at hwy 6 NORTH (exit #295), proceed to the second road and turn left.  Adults $15, Seniors $10, Children $5.  See you then, we hope!

Sandra Pady, Founder


April 22, 2016

rowan coal gerryIt’s Friday afternoon, always a good time to move at a slower pace.

I have just returned from an errand at the DSC office and while there I was charmed by the Springtime feeling in the air. This playful snap shot, which Kathy Gerry took earlier in the week, illustrates so well the lightness in the animals’ world right now.  In the photo Coal and Rowan, our newest and youngest mule residents, are bothering  their father, Gerry, the donkey.  These two foals have the energy of ten adults!

During my brief visit I noticed that the donkeys were moving slowly over their hilly terrain, busily snatching up all available green shoots of grass, while a few of the older jennets who had remained closer to the Donkey House could  be seen scratching, scratching on the fence posts.  (Winter coats are such a bother in this fresh warmth.)   Meanwhile, over in the west fields, I could just glimpse our always-connected herd of adult mules.  They, too, were nibbling on the early growth and in the moment they looked almost relaxed. ( I say, ‘almost’, because our mules are an excitable lot.   They exist within a clearly delineated pecking order where newcomers must work to find their place.  We anticipate a great flurry of galloping, kicking out and snorting  when Rowan and Coal are old enough to enter  their company.)

The Farm, itself, is undergoing Springtime freshening as well.  Adam has put new garage doors on the drive shed and they will be painted on Volunteers’ Day, this coming Sunday.  Earlier this week Randy, Adam and David began the removal of two berms from the parking lot so that there will be more spaces for visitors, this work being done after Randy had rolled the driveway to get rid of the potholes of winter. The rest of the snow-fencing will be taken down on Sunday and a clean up of the gardens will then begin. ( Right now, the clumps of early daffodils are like yellow splashes on the brown earth.)

All together, these Spring weeks give us the opportunity to stretch out and shake off Winter’s blankets………in no time at all (Sunday, May 1st) we will put out the sign and begin Open Days for a new Season. Enjoy your weekend!

Sandra Pady, Founder



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