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




10 thoughts on “EARL GREY: Rest In Peace”

  1. A sad day, but twenty added years of comfortable peaceful life accorded this wonderful animal Earl Grey is something you should be very proud of indeed Sandra and all helpers.
    There will be another such animal waiting for a space in your tender care. Jen Wingate

  2. What a wonderful story of a beautiful animal. This past week we lost our five year old donkey, “Owen”. We are still waiting autopsy results to determine how he could have gone so young. Your care for Earl Grey provided him a wonderful life after his harsh beginning.
    Thank you for that and for the valuable info we have received about care for our donkeys from you!

  3. I am so sad to hear about Earl Grey’s passing. He was my absolute favourite! He was so sweet, so gentle and always loved a good scratch down by the benches! I always loved visiting him at the DSC. He will be missed. Thank you to the DSC for doing what you do, without you I’d never have been able to meet him and love him.

  4. I met him two weeks ago, during volunteer training. I wish I had time to get to know him better. Rest in peace, Earl.

  5. It was lovely to meet Earl Grey several years ago and get updates on how he was doing. Thank you for taking such good care of him. His pictures have a place of honour in our house. I am happy to hear that Earl Grey died peacefully, he was a sweet, gentle soul. Rest in peace.

  6. This is one of the reasons we support the Sanctuary, so these beloved animals can live in their own time. A sad time but in good hands…..bless all of you and the great work you do.

  7. I read this with tears running down my cheeks. I used to spend most of my time with Earl Grey when at the sanctuary giving him extensive & lengthy ear scratches (inside & out). I also enjoyed giving him hip massages. I would use all of my body weight and he would respond by pressing his body into my fists. His head would lower, his bottom lip would relax hanging very low and his eyes would squint. Many people would comment on how happy he looked. I knew he was getting older and this day would come. I will think of him often. He was “my” special donkey.

  8. I am saddened to here about Earl Grey I have never met Earl but have considered him my brother for more then 20 years Many laughs in our family over the years when our parents informed us they had adopted a donkey and his name is Earl Grey My Parents Elvina Milson and the late Murray Milson where great animal lovers and have helped support the Donkey Sanctuary for many years When my Father Passed Away in January it was requested donations to the sanctuary in lieu of flowers RIP EARL

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