IN THE FUTURE

Every year at this time, I am inclined to think about the future and when it comes to the DSC, of course the animals are the first concern. 

Most donkeys and mules can live into their thirties.  More than anything, we want them  to live out their lives in full , not ones that are cut short due to a lack of long term funding.

This concern for the future welfare of the animals has prompted many of our supporters to leave a bequest to the DSC in their Wills. ( This bequest can be a part of an original Will or as a Codicil to an existing one.)  There are many reasons for helping the Sanctuary in this way and I want to share some of them with you.

I have left a bequest to the DSC because:

“Most of us love animals but few have the knowledge, energy and determination to actually make a difference on a practical level.  The DSC has demonstrated a ‘hands on’ approach that has not only saved these beautiful creatures, but won our hearts.  I would like to see this continue.” Lawrence Segel, MD

“I am pleased with this decision to help creatures who all have their own individual personalities.  They ask nothing in return, suffer in silence and deserve our respect, care, love, and attention.  This gift gives some  purpose and happy outcome to my passage.” D.K.F.

“The DSC is much more than just an animal shelter.  Through its Humane Education program and its work with special needs people it is encouraging the respect and care for other species which is so important for human societies.  For all kinds of reasons: physical, spiritual and psychological, people need animals just as much as they need us.  We really are interdependent, and the work of the DSC is helping more of us to recognize it.”  Bennett

After you have remembered family and friends in your estate planning, please consider a bequest to help the animals. Upon request, we will send along our Guide to Legacy Giving.  info@thedonkeysanctuary.ca  Thank you.

Sandra Pady, Founder

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THE WARMTH OF AFFECTION

About this time every year, when the winter season is at its peak, like so many others I find myself thinking about warmth, and buzzing insects and sweet-scented flowers.  This yearning,  as likely as not, will prompt me to  turn to PLATERO AND I, a lyric portrait of  everyday life in an Andalusian village as it is experienced by the poet, Juan Ramon Jimenez, and his donkey, Platero.  Together, they travel the countryside and the poet speaks of the sights and sounds that touch him.

At the heart of the poem, though, is Jimenez’  respect and affection for Platero.  The first stanza is a moving, heart-felt homage by the poet to his humble companion; whenever I read it, sunshine and warmth flood my mind.

                                                                                    P L A T E R O

     Platero is a small donkey, a soft, hairy donkey: so soft to the touch that he might be said to be made of cotton, with no bones.  Only the jet mirrors of his eyes are hard like two black crystal scarabs.
     I turn him loose, and he goes to the meadow, and, with his nose, he gently caresses the little flowers of rose and blue and gold…..I call him softly, “Platero?” and he comes to me at a gay little trot that is like laughter of a vague, idyllic, tinkling sound.
     He eats whatever I give him. He likes mandarin oranges, amber-hued muscatel grapes, purple figs tipped with crystalline drops of honey.
     He is as loving and tender as a child, but strong and sturdy as a rock. When on Sundays I ride him through the lanes in the outskirts of the town, slow-moving countrymen, dressed in their Sunday clean, watch him a while, speculatively:
     “He is like steel,” they say.
     Steel, yes. Steel and moon silver at the same time.

Sandra Pady, Founder

ICE

Winter weather is definitely our preoccupation these days and after last week’s polar blast, we experienced a mild spell, a bit of rain and then: ICE.

I have grips attached to the bottom of my boots which make winter walks possible.  The dogs, of course, skitter along, always in balance, while I walk ever so carefully in spite of that boot assistance.  This morning, the area outside the offices was a veritable skating rink while the walk down to the barn offered a few melted patches as markers in the expanse of ice.

Although most of the oldies stay in the sheltered area where the floors are kept clean and skid free  Chaplin, Bob Ray and Juno were venturing along  as I approached.  With their  measured steps they were managing just fine.  Chaplin’s  eye is watering for some unknown reason and so staff have placed him with the oldies and special care group in the barnyard.  It is not a serious affliction and he does not appear to even notice it.  Staff  are watching closely nonetheless.

It has been over two years since Tibet’s flexor tendons flared up and she continues to wear surgical leg wraps for support.  Every day staff remove the wraps for a spell so that air can circulate in the areas on her legs.  Once the wraps are back on, though, she loves to go out and join the others.  Tibet is the daintiest of our donkeys and she looks for all the world like a ballet dancer as she picks her way over icy patches. 

Sarah related  that there was a melt in parts of the barnyard yesterday afternoon.  Pearl and Ruby took advantage of the break  to do some serious frolicking.  Pearl is just in her second year and Ruby is a foal. Consequently both are storehouses of energy just waiting to be released.

As I teeter-tottered back to the main laneway I could not help comparing myself to the animals around me.  With the aid of a walking stick and boot grips, I manage to just  make my way around the winter landscape.  They, on the other hand, can call upon resources so much more finely tuned than my own. At times like this I am reminded of  the limited range of human physical capacities.

Sandra Pady, Founder

BRRRRR

Recognition of the beauty and peacefulness of the natural world are recurring themes in my life: there seems never to be an end for me to the inspirations for living that I find whenever I look  outside  of my humanoid world.  And since most of the time it is the gentleness of the surrounding environment that appeals so much, this morning I experienced a kind of shock when I opened the door to let the dogs out.  They, for their part, were equally unsettled and remained in the frigid cold only as long as it took to relieve themselves.  For the moment, the natural world is a forbidding place.

Up at the Sanctuary Adam, Sarah and Kayla have been coping with these severe and debilitating temperatures.  So far, pipes in the animals’ buildings  have remained unfrozen due to staff diligence when it comes to draining water from vulnerable connections after use. 

 Yesterday, along with their myriad other daily chores,  staff  surrounded the mules’ shelters with bales of straw which as many of you are aware, provide effective insulation from cold and drafts.  Hay was put inside in order to encourage the mules to take advantage of the warmer spaces.  But they are startlingly hardy creatures and in the early hours of this morning, Adam looked out to see Miss Jenny and Ginger, standing in the polar air munching contentedly at an outside bale.  By the time the sun was in full dress, all of the mules were wandering around.

Over in the yards around the  Donkey House and the Old Barn, in contrast, not a donkey is to be seen.  They lack that layer of fat on their backs that horses and mules possess and so, wisely,  the donkeys  remain indoors.  Morning hay rations were enjoyed by all and then it was time to turn to the barley straw.  Munching and chewing, working the digestive systems, drinking water: all are essential factors in the ability of an equine to stay warm.

The weather forecasters are telling us that it will be a few days more before this cold snap  moves on.  The animals, of course,  know how to take care of themselves (our barn cats are staying snug under heat lamps) and I am so thankful that we are able to provide for their very few, essential needs. 

For my part, I will surround my thin human skin with layers of clothing and and be content to  look outside at a world that for the moment is glaringly  beautiful and alarmingly cold.

Sandra Pady, Founder