When an east wind blows I often find that there is extra momentum in the air. It is not uncommon to see this reflected in the animals’ behaviour.
This morning as I approached the barnyard, the east wind ruffled all of the branches in the evergreens. I looked over to see that Hummer, the mule, was running at a gallop from paddock to paddock, kicking his feet all the while. He would charge along, come to a skidding stop, turn and then gallop back. Meanwhile Jimmy, the mule, sttod in the next paddock at full attention watching these shenanigans. Then, suddenly, he was gripped by the same compulsion and Jimmy sprinted along for a few moments, too. (That was a good sign that he is recovering well from last Fall’s tendon injury.)
When the mules run around it is a striking sight. As they float in the air the power of their muscles carries them forward without any effort. Best of all are those times glimpsed when they run as a herd up and down the hill of their large pasture, They hurl themselves during the first few steps and then the propulsion takes over to allow their bodies to relax a bit and sail along. the drumming of their hooves in the background providing a stoccato beat. Hummer and Terra are often in the lead, with Reno a slightly lumbering third and finally Miss Jenny, Ginger and the Molly, the Miniatures. Always, there is someting about their balance and their coordination that is fascinating and makes one envious.
As I returned home, with these images in my mind and the wind pushing against my face I felt a sense of gratitude. Moments like these when I am afforded a glimpse of the power latent in these creatures are rare and something to savour.
Sandra Pady, Founder
I am a child of the Christian tradition and so Easter is a time of significance each year. I do not refer to the eggs and the bunnies when I write this but, rather, the contemplative aura that extends over the days and weeks before the celebration has always had a great effect upon me.
In 1979, I had the priviledge to visit Israel. It was that experience that has influenced my reaction to Easter ever since. The sun-bleached buildings, the cobblestone walks, the cacophony of sounds that human beings make in small, crowded market places. There, it was easy for me to close my eyes and to picture a man, a teacher, riding on a donkey through the relatively massive enty to the city of Jerusalem. The slow, rhythmic roll of the animal’s gait and the sound of its hooves on the stones would certainly be audible. People who knew the teacher would call out in recognition but their voices would only be some of the many hurrying inside in order to prepare for the local festival. The astounding events of the days that followed are in glaring contrast to the humility of this earlier scene.
These thoughts, and so many more, crowded my mind this morning as I walked with the dogs up the lane to the donkeys’ paddocks. The animals were basking in the early morning sunshine and their presence called to me to come and stand at the fence awhile. The only sounds were those of birds twittering about their business and then the occasional rustle of a body being shaken. It was very easy to let my mind wander and to reimagine in much detail that very modest beginning to a chain of events – events that would resonate throughout the centuries and around the world.
Sandra Pady, Founder
Simply stated, volunteer contributions of time and talent to the DSC have been integral to its operating success over the years.
At every stage of our development, the volunteer commitment has been significant and as I look back over the decades, it is clear that we could not have become what we are today without these generous individuals. In the early years, when our learning curve was astoundingly steep and our resources were extremely limited, volunteers made all the difference. As they are doing to this day, volunteers pitched in to help with animal care, with haying, with farm maintenance – and always with an enthusaism and a deep concern for the animals’ welfare.
With regard to public relations and education, our Open Days have been been characterized always by the very real warmth of the welcome that we extend to our visitors. Much of that is due to volunteer participation. On any given afternoon they will answer hundreds of questions, relate story after story about the donkeys, guide wandering children back to their parents, and watching all the time that the donkeys are not being overly stressed by all of the attention. Donkey Day, Pace for the Donkeys, Volunteer Days and administration: all benefit from the work of these caring supporters. Indeed, in 2013 more that 4,300 hours were donated to the Sanctuary.
On behalf of the donkeys and on behalf of our staff who are assisted tremendously by the volunteers’ efforts, thank you.
Sandra Pady, Founder
PS: Our next Volunteer Days will be held on Saturday, May 3rd and Saturday, May 10th. For further information please contact our volunteer coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org