flint3     In late summer 2013, four donkeys were admitted to the Sanctuary.  One of them, Diamond, was already pregnant and so we have waited and counted the months in anticipation of a birth.  Like all donkey jennets, Diamond preferred to bear her foal when she was all alone.  This happened early on the morning of Sunday, July 20th.  A camera in their stall recorded the event  and by the time  staff entered the barn at 7 am, Flint was washed and nursing with great gusto.

Of course, he is adorable.  I took this picture this morning, when he was not yet two days old, and he was walking and hopping around Halfway Haven paddock with much enthusiasm.  Diamond is a very calm, attentive mother, always with an eye on her son who is never far from her side.

As with all of the donkeys in our care, we are making a lifelong commitment to Flint.  With good health, he will live at least in to his late twenties.  With the help of our donors, we look forward to giving him the opportunity to have as full and natural a life as possible.

Indeed, the animals’  world is so beautiful.

Sandra Pady, Founder



earlgray0809As they say, “It was a dark, cold and rainy night…..” on which Earl Grey was rescued by friends of the DSC.

It happened in February, 1995, when this group of three people attended an equine auction in rural Ontario.  There were horses of all sizes and colours in pens inside an enormous barn  and as our friends walked around, they spotted a grey Standard  donkey standing forlornly in a corner.  His hooves were so dramatically overgrown that he could barely stand.  As they watched, he sank to the ground in obvious pain.  They called over an official to express their concern but were told that the animal would be put into auction in spite of his condition  because the owner wanted the highest price available.

The auction began and about half way through the number of animals being sold, the donkey was half-carried by two handlers into the ring.  Our friends recognized  the first bidder who was a representative of a slaughter house and so, with that fate in mind, these caring people entered a higher bid.  The auction ended and the donkey was their responsibility.  Within minutes a call was put in to the DSC and we were able to comply with their request for admission.  By the time a trailer had been borrowed and the long drive had ended, it was just before sunup on a foggy day  that the donkey, whom they had named Earl Grey, was transported to the Sanctuary.

Nineteen years have passed since that gloomy morning and Earl Grey has lived at the Sanctuary ever since.  He has always been a very unassuming, gentle donkey, most inclined to stand apart and observe.  Now that he is almost thirty, though, older age has brought a greater relaxation to his demeanor.  These days, he lives in the barnyard with the other oldies and his medications include a low dose aspirin-like substance to help with stiffness due to arthritis.  In addition, he is given daily doses of Vitamin E to further assist his mobility.

I was just down in the barnyard a few minutes ago with Earl and, since it is an Open Day, there were several people patting him as he nibbled grass in the Learning Centre paddock.  To my eyes, he could not have been more relaxed.  His coat is wonderfully shiny these days and his body condition is very good.

Here’s to you, Earl Grey, and the toast is being made with a cup of tea!

Sandra Pady, Founder



Essential Requirements for a Contented Life

The following list refers to the standards of animal care that we maintain at The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada.

The first three components are addressed in Canada’s Criminal Code, Crimes Against Animals Section.  The group of four conditions that  follow have been formulated by Rob Laidlaw, the founder of Zoocheck Canada.  Together, when these 7 items are satisfied, we believe that animals have the opportunity to live contented lives.

  • ADEQUATE FOOD – Are there enough of the right kinds of food to eat?
  • ADEQUATE SHELTER – Is there protection from wind, rain, sun and snow?
  • ADEQUATE WATER – Is there  access to fresh clean water, even on the hottest or coldest days?
  • SPACE TO MOVE AND EXERCISE – Is there  access to enough space to move around in keeping with biological needs?
  • FREEDOM OF CHOICE – Is there allowance to make choices about how life is lived each day?
  • PROPER SOCIAL CONTEXT – Is there the opportunity to live with one’s own kind and relate to them as would be possible in a natural environment?

Sandra Pady, Founder