With the Holiday Season now on the horizon, can you feel the increasing momentum of each passing day? Are there anticipatory feelings of delight AND dread for the celebrations to come? Are stress levels beginning to rise?
If your answer is, “Yes”, to one or all of these questions, then I am pleased to inform you that relief from such pressures is possible and that it can be found during a visit to The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada Farm. On November 30, December 7, 14 and 21 we invite you to spend some time in the island of tranquility that is the donkeys’ world. We can almost guarantee that you will slow down as you stand in the barn patting a furry coat, listening to Christmas music playing softly in the background, or sipping hot chocolate while our staff and volunteers bring you up to date on the uncomplicated incidents of the animals’ lives. Afterwards, you might round out this interlude with a walk on our trails (dress warmly!) where the scent of the pines never fails to loosen knots of tension produced in everyday life.
On each of these days we will be here to greet you from 10 until 4. We look forward to your visit.
Sandra Pady, Founder
When I was up at the Sanctuary earlier, I noticed a few new faces amongst the Barnyard Group. Donkeys in this area have special needs of one kind or another, ranging from the demands of old age, to minor injuries, to personality eccentricities, to questionable health issues. These animals, in particular, are always on our staff members’ personal radars: slight changes in condition, whether positive or negative, are monitored closely so that treatment can be adjusted as necessary.
I was interested to see that Chico had been moved to the Barnyard Group and will stay there for the winter. He is 28 years old, now, and feeling the cold even though it is only November. He will probably wear a blanket throughout the season. Diamond and Flint, mother and three month old foal, have been moved in to spend their days with the group as well. He is ready for more donkey socialization at this point and the relative peacefulness of the ‘oldies’ environment will be a good introduction. Jimmy, the mule, has been recovering from a tendon injury for several months and he has finally reached the stage where he can be out of his stall on a full time basis. Of course, he would like to rejoin his mule colleagues but their lively pace is still too much for him. The same goes for Gertie, another mule in the Barnyard. She is a recent arrival at the DSC and still hesitant around so many other equines. A tendon injury has plagued Bob Ray, too, and it is healing well after many weeks of stall rest. This relative confinement was due to Bob’s liking,; he is inordinately fond of being inside the barn. Gentle Daisy, who usually lives in the jennets’ herd, has been brought in due to a bizarre swelling that appeared on her chest recently. Her appetite has not been affected, however, and she is showing no other signs of ill health. Of greatest concern right now is Amigo who has been receiving ongoing special care for several months. Although the surgery on his club feet was successful last year, since the Spring he has had periods when his breathing has been laboured. At the moment he seems better.
These eight donkeys and mules, along with eleven others, are each receiving ongoing particular attention. It is comforting to know that they are in such capable hands and as I walked back to the house I gave a quiet, “Three cheers” to our capable staff members who take care of these donkeys and sixty other healthy equines as well.
Sandra Pady, Founder
November is a time when a cloak of quietude settles over the Sanctuary. Not unexpectedly, with the end of regular Open Days there is an empty-feeling on Wednesdays and Sundays; we note the absence of the particular energy that our visitors bring to the environment. At the same time, though, it is comfortable during this month to slow down a bit, to move at a pace that is more in keeping with the animals’ rhythm.
A CBC producer came to interview us yesterday. Being a radio person, she was attuned to sound (and lack thereof) and she marvelled at the relative silence blanketing the farm. “When do the donkeys bray?”, she asked. As we walked around the treatment area, the farriers murmured to the donkeys. A radio played softly in the background. Sarah, a member of our staff, stood off to the side talking soothingly to a donkey who was next in line for a hoof trim. No loud voices cut the air.
After leaving the treatment area, we walked up to the Donkey House where once again, there was a tangible peacefulness. All that we could hear were the rustling sounds made by the donkeys as they ambled around the straw-covered floor as well as the munch munch whispers of hay being consumed.
When we moved on to another part of the barnyard, I was not really surprised to hear the producer state that she would like to return on one of our December Open Days. The sounds of silence of the animals’ world were soothing enough but for her purposes a few exclamations, both donkey and human would have been welcome.
Sandra Pady, Founder