Spring is a busy time around the Sanctuary.  Every year, the final melting of the snow brings with it evidence of winter’s force : broken fences, windows in need of painting, fallen limbs on pathways, gardens filled with dead leaves, sizeable potholes in the lane.  The list is always a long one and  suddenly a sense of urgency prevails since Open Days are on the horizon.

Years ago, when the DSC was a fledgling organization, Open Days were treated casually and visitors were brought into the life of the farm on an informal basis.  Now, things are different; 20,000 people came down our lane in 2014 and enjoyable as it is, the process of welcome has become  rather more complicated.

For these reasons our Spring Volunteer Days are particularly  important dates on the calendar.  On Saturday, May 2nd, and Saturday, May 9th, we look forward to welcoming  dozens of volunteers who will help us to ready the property for Open Days. We will be gardening, painting, repairing and constructing – rain or shine.

If you think you would enjoy a day of physical exercise – and lots of time with the donkeys – then please contact us for the details.  It is important for us to know in advance whether a person is planning to attend: or 519-836-1697.

Here’s to lots of sunshine as we work!

Sandra Pady, Founder


EARL GREY: Rest In Peace

earlgray0809Early last week, during the night and on his own terms, Earl Grey died.  This singular donkey had been living at the DSC for twenty years.  For most of that time he was a solitary creature, disinclined to frolic with the other equines, more apt to be seen grazing by himself in the fields, always a little apart from the main herd. ( After many years here,  though, Earl did befriend Donkeschoen, a jennet of the same age, and he was her loyal companion until her untimely death in 2014.)

I remember as if it were yesterday, the cloud-covered dawn when Earl Grey arrived at the Sanctuary after having been rescued from an equine auction in Central Ontario.  He was in a miserable state, clearly unsettled by the chaos of the auction environment and by the lengthy transport that followed.  His solemn hooded eyes,  matted coat and mangled hooves evoked the neglect that had marked his previous living conditions.

As I look back, I am reminded that at the time of Earl’s arrival, we were still very inexperienced in animal care and rescue.  We had the desire, the enthusiasm,  but our hands-on knowledge was limited.  In some ways, Earl Grey was a test case for us: we were very much learning as we were giving him remedial care.  In the weeks that followed, as his condition improved gradually, we were relieved that our efforts were meeting  with success.

Twenty years is a long time and I am proud to relate we have become much more capable and experienced with the intricacies of donkey treatment and care.  And while we have been learning, Earl Grey has always been nearby.  His was a gentle, quiet presence, supportive and dependable. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Sandra Pady, Founder




Donkey Sanctuary - Volunteer D-06If the donkeys at the DSC could talk, I am certain that some of the first sentences uttered would be those of gratitude to DSC volunteers.  From them, the animals receive the affection and respect that help them to thrive as so many of them do.

Most volunteering done here at the Sanctuary is done quietly: patting, grooming, sweeping, very hands on physical work all of which adds up to enormous support being provided to our small staff.  In addition, there are those people who help us to maintain the property.  Still others make it possible for us to present special afternoons like Open Days, Donkey Day and Donor Appreciation Day.

The volunteer efforts of so many combine to make the DSC a special place, one where the donkeys and mules are the first concern.  It is a positive environment and a testament to the contributions of time and talent that are given so generously.   To all involved, on the animals’ behalf, thank you.

Sandra Pady, Founder