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

2 thoughts on “BRRRRR”

  1. I moved from Yellowknife NWT to get away from this weather. I was looking forward to visiting the donkey sanctuary but the ice storm had other ideas for that. Soo looking forward to the spring and a visit. I saw the show on animal channel about the place. I was so happy when I found it was close even to visit.

    Take care of all and stay warm doing it.
    Debbie MacDonald

  2. Hi Sandra, In our recent cold snap with minus 40 temps, the mule and four donkeys never left the barn and paddock area. Too much energy to expend in digging through snow for food. They knew if they conserved their hay, I would eventually show up to fork out the next feeding. Being in Alberta, however, we don’t get the freezing rain, so at least they don’t get wet. As you know, donkeys can take severe cold, but not dampness. Mine have free access to the inside of a three-stall barn, so they use it to get out of the wind. Their body heat then keeps them comfortable, and the open doors allow good ventilation. Hope your Arctic blast moves on real soon!

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