I was just out walking with my dogs and we passed the Sanctuary’s Memorial Hill. That peaceful site brought to mind one of the many, many people who have befriended the donkeys over the years.
Merne Childs was a gentle, unassuming person who, in her own modest way, made an unforgettable impact on the course of the Sanctuary’s development.
Merne began to visit the DSC in its early years of operation. She was a widow, living alone in an apartment in Milton, Ontario. Merne lived a very active life. She enjoyed to go on bus tours and, at least twice every season, she would come to visit the donkeys in the Sanctuary.
Each year, soon after Open Days resumed in May, we could count on the fact that Merne would arrive early on a Sunday morning. She had several favorite donkeys and she would always be sure to greet them in turn. Merne had always been attracted to the gentleness of the animals and during every visit she much enjoyed to sit on one of the benches in the barnyard watching the quiet activity.
One day in the late 1990’s, Merne purchased a winning lottery ticket. She described with much pleasure her trip to the lottery office in Toronto where she picked up the prize money. Within a week, she had sent along a special donation and we remember her saying that since she did not need the money it gave her such pleasure to help the animals.
When Merne died in 2005, it felt like we had lost a friend. We had always looked forward to her visits and it was sad for us to think that she would not be around the farm any more.
In Merne’s Will she directed that her estate should be divided among her three favourite animal charities and the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada was one of them. This most generous bequest formed the basis for the Sanctuary’s investment portfolio. Its growth will ensure the future care of the donkeys and mules.
We will always be grateful to Merne Childs for her compassionate, far-sighted planning and bequest.