A Moment With Kylie

Kylie SP14Is it not surprising how we can notice suddenly another being?  In daily life we might see a person or an animal  time and again but their presence never registers on our minds.  Then all of a sudden, it does.

I enjoyed just such an experience this morning on my daily walk up to the Farm with the dogs.  I was hanging over the fence chattering to the animals,  as I tend to do, when all of a sudden I really ‘saw’  one particular donkey.  As she walked towards me across the paddock, I focussed upon her but realized that I did not know her name.  I had no information about this donkey except what my eyes and body sensed: a dark brown Standard, graying in her face and on her sides, with magnificent ears fringed with delicate hair.  She moved with determination and an undulating grace that quite captivated my attention.  Then she was at my side, watching carefully and soon contentedly when I proceeded to scratch her neck.  Up close, her coat was silky soft.  Her aura enveloped me like a warm blanket.

Too soon, as is often the case in such an experience, the frisson of the moment evaporated, caused by the movements of the other animals.  I stepped back, in time to see Martina, one of our staff,  pull into the parking lot.  When I called her over to chat, Martina informed me that the donkey’s name was Kylie and that she had been brought to the Sanctuary in 2012!

I am fond of telling people that being with the donkeys is often a learning experience and this encounter with Kylie was no exception.  When I slow down and take the time to look with concentration, just like the animals do, there can be unexpected rewards.

Sandra Pady Founder



Since 1992 when the DSC was established, our workload has increased steadily.  This is not to complain, of course, since to be involved with the rescue and ongoing care of so many gentle creatures as the donkeys are is vastly rewarding.  Recently, I was looking at some numbers that serve to illustrate – in a statistical way – the significant work that is being (and has been)  done by our dedicated staff and volunteers.

Currently, 73 donkeys and 9 mules are living at the Sanctuary Farm.  Barring unforeseen illness, these equines will live into their late twenties and for many, life will extend well into their thirties.  Among the donkeys in residence at this time, 8 have been admitted in recent months: Jasmine, Jessie, Blue, Carmine, Hector, Jose, Jacob and Rimcan.  As with all of the equines that we admit, staff and volunteers aim to provide the best possible care to  these donkeys for the rest of their natural lives.

In our Foster Farm Network, which extends throughout  Southern Ontario, there are 30 more donkeys at 18 farms.  There, the animals receive more personal attention but if circumstances were to change and this care were no longer possible, they would be brought back to live once again at the Sanctuary as well.

In addition to this current population,  we remember with fondness the 72 other equines that have been a part of the Sanctuary over the years  but who are now deceased.  They, too, benefited from the ongoing commitment of DSC staff and volunteers.

Finally, as I consider the many figures, there are the people  who come to be with the donkeys and who are the recipients of everyone’s efforts to educate, educate, educate in the areas of animal welfare and care.  In 2014, we welcomed over 20,000 visitors, an annual figure that is predicted to increase by this December’s end.

All together, these numbers tell a wonderful story. It is one that describes the many equines in need that have been provided with outstanding care and the many people who in turn have benefited from experiencing  the animals’ world here at the Sanctuary Farm. We have every reason to be proud and grateful to the staff and volunteers who are accomplishing so much.

Sandra Pady, Founder

A Peaceful Place in a Tumultuous World

There is much going on in the world about which we are all concerned.

The refugee crises, global warming, assaults on the rainforests: issues like these  challenge us on so many levels that we are tempted at times to push them away and to think that we, in our Canadian paradise, are not directly involved.  Of course, we err when we do that because such restrictive thinking ignores the planetary reality of species interconnectedness. The links among us all are intricate, strong. The work of honey bees impacts directly upon our ability to sow and harvest crops.   The oxygen we breathe is dependent upon the health of life in the oceans. And, yes, the strength of a donkey can mean that a family’s  produce will be transported to market.  Each link is crucial in its way.

These are some of the reasons why we encourage visitors to come to The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada’s farm. It is a place to witness the gentle living that occurs when the fact of our global interdependence is recognized and fundamental to decision-making.  In Canadian society, donkeys may no longer be needed to work in the steel mills or to carry food in the mountains; nevertheless, they continue to be important because to be around them is to experience a different rhythm and approach to life.  A visit to the Sanctuary is a reminder that when we respect other species as much as we respect ourselves we are a giant step closer to living in places where hatred and greed no longer rule the day.

Sandra Pady, Founder