Through a Child’s Eyes

We have been quite overwhelmed by the expressions of sympathy that have come into the office from supporters who had been charmed by Paco and Chiclet over the years.  These two little donkeys touched many, many hearts.

Yesterday, there arrived in the mail a drawing done by Emma Douglas, a seven year old fan of the donkeys.  Emma has visited the Sanctuary many times and she was particularly fond of Chiclet and his pal.  She drew a picture of them for us, facing one another and obviously in communication.  It is a charming drawing, one that manages to convey the innocence both of the viewer and of the subjects.

We intend to hang the drawing in our Welcome Center for everyone to enjoy.  When visitors see it, we know that they will smile, as we did, to see the happiness that is waiting for all of us whenever we take the time to look mindfully at the natural world.  Thank you, Emma.

Sandra Pady, Exec. Direc.


the end of winter?

Whereever you are as you read this, I hope that the sun is shining so brilliantly as it is here.  We had an end-of- winter storm yesterday.  It blew through very quickly and left behind 7 centimeters of snow.  The donkeys were not pleased, I expect.  What with the arrival of much more daylight, they are ready for spring green.

These days, snow or no snow, the donkeys are scratching on every post or wall that they can find.  Coats that were fluffy and warm are now just plain annoying and they want air to circulate on their skin.  During grooming sessions, a veritable carpet of hair covers the floor in no time.

In general, the donkeys are healthy.  However, with such a large herd in residence, there seem always to be a few issues that cause concern.  For example, Solo has a skin problem that is very resistant to treatment  and so he is taking steroids once again to stop the itching.  We have already conducted several tests and more will be done this week.  In the meantime, he does not like to be touched. 

The donkeys’ weight has increased noticeably after a winter of access to large round bales.  We are rethinking their use and have decided to purchase an unroller attachment for the tractor so that we can control the quantity of hay consumption.  At the same time, since the donkeys like roughage in their diet, they will have ongoing access to straw.  Feeding quantities are always challenging.  Under feral conditions, the donkeys are moving constantly, browsing from patch to patch.  They cover miles every day.  On a farm, however, no matter how large the fields, their general level of activity is much lower. 

Have a nice day, wherever you are…….and thank you for tuning in.  I will aim to do an update like this at least once a week.  In the meantime, take good care.

Sandra  Pady. Executive Director

Remembering the Animals

Whenever a bequest is made to the DSC, our only regret is that we cannot thank the donor in person.

People who make such gifts are far-sighted; they understand that the promise of lifelong care which we make to the donkeys is a very long term commitment.  Most of the animals that are in the Sanctuary today will probably be here in 2021, 2031.  In between, others will be admitted who will live even longer. 

Planning for the future is as important as living is today. Remember that you can help the animals in the years to come.  Get that tedious job out of the way.  Please make a Will.

Sandra Pady, Exec. Direc.

Japan – Helping the animals too

The catastrophic situation in Japan is beyond belief in many ways and there is little relief in sight.  And, as in any such tragedy, we think of the animals as well as the people.  So many with nowhere to go.

The link below is to the site of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).  Already their people are mobilizing and are working in the field to help the thousands of animals in distress.  You can help too by supporting these efforts with donations, no matter the size.  Together, we can make a difference.         Sandra Pady Exec Direc

Am I Being Understood?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” G.B. Shaw

In a recent DSC staff workshop, as we grappled with the complexities that Mr. Shaw’s aphorism implies, I could not stop thinking about the donkeys and the nature of  my communication with them.  Too often I am not understood but then. when I stop and consider the exchange, it is really I who is not comprehending. There follow a few guidelines for all communication, human/equine and otherwise:

  1. Be sensitive to the environment – Am I interrupting something? Are there other distractions?
  2. Be aware of body language – Are my movements threatening? Where are my hands?
  3. Be concise – Are my words tumbling out like so many shots from a machine gun?
  4. Be calm – Am I shouting?
  5. Be clear – Did I really communicate what I meant to communicate?
  6. Be respectful –  Did I presume that the other party was dumb?

Sandra Pady, DSC Exec. Direc.


On Sunday last, Sanctuary volunteers and staff bade a communal farewell to our many animal friends who have died in recent years.

We gathered at the base of Memorial Hill on a damp and grey winter afternoon. Fortunately, David had built a crackling fire and its energy warmed us during the service.  A reading, prayers, offerings and beautiful song  encouraged us to cherish our memories of animals who have touched our hearts.  Paco, Chiclet, Dusty Rose, Riley, Peaches, Sienna………just a few names from a list that is very long. We marveled each in our own way at the impact that these gentle creatures had  made upon our lives. 

We are grateful for all that we received from these special companions and we will carry them in our memory even as we reach out to others in need.  The circle of life and death is an ever-turning wheel.