In recent weeks we have admitted 5 donkeys for lifelong care here at The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada.

Fortunately, I am able to write that none of these animals has come from a situation of neglect or abuse but, rather, for various reasons they could no longer be given care.  Dylan (b. 2001) and Sydney (b. 1999) are siblings who have always lived together. Sabrina (b.1996) lived at a farm which was sold and the owners  then made plans to  move into town.

Regarding  Chico (b.1986) and Sadie (b. 1998), they had been living on a farm where it was intended that they should guard a flock of sheep.  This did not work out and so the request was made to the DSC that they be admitted. (More often than not, donkeys do not work out as guardians of flocks of sheep or herds of goats.  A donkey will bond with a single animal and will protect that animal from predators.  But donkeys do not bond with an entire flock.  If people are looking for guardians for their flocks or herds  we recommend strongly that they consider Great Pyrenees dogs or those of the Mareema breed.)

Our 5 new residents are settling in well, adjusting to the Sanctuary’s routine and to the fact that they are surrounded now by other creatures of their own kind.  For some of them, it will take some getting used to.  In the meantime, we are grateful to have been able to be here for these delightful donkeys.  When next you are in our area, on a Wednesday or Sunday, be sure to drop by and greet them.

Sandra Pady, Founder




Donkeschoen 1Yesterday, we said goodbye to Donkeschoen, a donkey who meant a great deal to staff, volunteers and so many visitors.  Katharin Harkins, our Executive Director, sent out the following statment that expresses so well our feelings of sadness:

“Today we said good bye to a much-loved member of our equine family, our sweet pretty lady Donkeschoen, who had made her home here since 1997. She was 30.

Donkeschoen, for whom we were all very thankful, as her name suggests, was yet another of the large donkeys who has suffered from recurring laminitis which we had been able to treat in the past. Of late, the condition worsened and affected all 4 hooves, which is unusual. 

Like all donkeys, she was incredibly stoic but it became apparent that the pain medication, leg wraps and other approaches were not going to do any more good. She began to lie down and for the last few days chose to be in her stall. For our social Donks, this was not a good sign and our vet and staff made the decision to euthanize her and take her out of her pain. 

She was showered with extra special attention today, being brushed, given apple and carrot treats, and additional medicine. As always, the people here made sure she was tended to with such kindness and care. 

Everyone knew Donks, as she was a barnyard donkey who made it a point to attend all the donkey talks on Open Days, hanging her head over visitors on the benches, appearing to listen to people explaining all about donkeys, and serving as a perfect illustration of the gentle, calm, beautiful nature of donkeys. It will be quite hard to go into the barnyard and not see her big  beautiful head munching on grass or watch Earl Grey following her around with hope and adoration. 

We are lucky to have had her special presence here for so long and will miss her very much.”





It is a hot, hazy, humid day at the Sanctuary and the donkeys and mules are in heaven.

The sun is shining brightly and a few moments ago when I was up at the farm, Riley’s Lodge pasture was dotted with donkeys, all concentrating  on the grazing at hand.  Their winter coats are almost all shed out, now, and so they are looking sleek and shiny as they amble around from one clump of grasses  to the next.  Their sinuous movements compelled me to slow down and just stand a while. 

Up at the Donkey House the mules were  relishing their summer quarters.  The south side of the building has a covered ‘porch’ that has been bedded with sand.  Hummer lay flat out as I wandered past and he barely opened an eye at the sound of my movements.  Terra was walking in from the field adjacent to this mule hostelry, moving at a snail’s pace, with her attention focussed on  the water trough. In another corner, Ginger was in the process of collapsing into a reclining pose.  She sleepily acknowledged my presence.

On days like this when the animals are models for relaxation, the atmosphere is downright soporific.  For the moment the hurly burly of human thoughts can be pushed away so that there is room to savour the sights  and sounds of the natural world.  This is an opportunity for  mindfulness at its best and it makes real  the words of the Lovingkindness Project:

                     May all beings be happy.
           May they be peaceful and at ease.
                        May they be well.
      May they be filled with lovingkindness.

Sandra Pady Founder



I was sifting through our arhives the other day and was delighted to see that this year marks the 21st time that we will present Donkey Day.  Our fund-raising  ‘Afternoon in the Country’ has been enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors during the period and, always, the donkeys and mules have been the stars of the event.  As ever, this year they will waiting to greet you, all looking sleek and shiny in their summer best.

Ruth Gillespie, who has so ably chaired the event for the past 6 years, has taken Donkey Day to new levels with regard to the variety and quality of the programming (and food!).  This year will be no exception and we look forward to another happy, family-oriented afternoon  with lots to do and  see for visitors of all ages.  It would be grand to have you join us. 


                                                      DONKEY DAY, SUNDAY JUNE 8TH, 10 AM – 4 PM

                                                      6981 PUSLINCH CONCESSION 4, RR #6 GUELPH

                                 TAKE HWY 401 EXIT #295 AND PROCEED TO THE SECOND ROAD

I will be at the reception table all day and it would be a pleasure to meet you, our readers.  Putting names to faces always means so much.

Sandra Pady, Founder