rowan and coal

Three weeks ago Rowan and Coal, two yearling mules, were brought to the DSC. Once again we had been called in to rescue helpless equines, living in a state of care-less neglect. They were underfed, short of water and the available housing provided minimal shelter.

I realize that I have just used the qualifier, “once again”, in my reference to the mules’ rescue and that these words signal an air of resignation, of frustration. Most of the time, here at the Sanctuary, we are able to put out of our minds the callous attitudes of some animal owners.  People like them, like the person who was responsible for the mules’ birth and subsequent lives, refuse to acknowledge  that equines are sentient beings, ones who feel pain, cold and the many other ravages of neglect.

In spite of moments like the one to which I referred above, most of the time we carry on our work in an atmosphere that is filled with positive reinforcement. The company of the animals, of course, is always encouraging in itself.  As is clear in this photo, Rowan and Coal have left the past behind.  They are adjusting to a new world and learning that the touch of human hands can be an enjoyable experience.  As with all young mules, a little attention goes a long way and they are responding to consistent, positive handling by our staff.

Happy endings like this one is are a great boost to the spirits. I realize that “once again” can be used in a positive way, too. Once again, the DSC community – contributors, staff and volunteers – was able to help.  And that is good.

Sandra Pady, Founder



“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

A  green and white  sign with this statement by the American anthropologist, Margaret Mead, has hung for over a decade at the entrance to the DSC barnyard.  It is meant to be a tribute to the many people here at the Sanctuary who work so hard to improve standards of welfare both for the donkeys and for all animals.

I was reminded of Dr. Mead’s statement recently when I read about the little dog near Windsor, Ontario, who had been rescued from certain death after having been left by a road, bound in duct tape.  The perpetrator of this heinous crime, Michael Earl Hill, was charged and found guilty in an Ontario court.  It was noteworthy that this criminal was subsequently sentenced to two years in a federal penitentiary followed by a 25 year ban on pet ownership.  This is the maximum sentence allowable for such a crime and it was levied because  the judge had been presented with a petition calling for this sentence which had been gathered by a small group of determined people.  They collected  an astounding 65,000 signatures in this cause.

We salute that group of Ontario residents.  Efforts like this send out the clear message that thoughtful people are more committed than ever to the fact that animals matter and that mindless cruelty inflicted upon them will not be tolerated.

PS:  The little dog has recovered and he is now in a safe, caring home.   As for Michael Earl Hill, he was placed in solitary confinement, segregated from the rest of the inmates for his own protection.

Sandra Pady, Founder