In my opinion, there are few jobs so rewarding as those involving the care and support of animals. At the same time, our work can make us feel like we are riding an emotional roller coaster. That has been very much the case in recent weeks.
The donkeys and mules to whom we give a lifelong home come to the Sanctuary from every kind of condition. In May and June, calls for our help have come from many locations in Canada. Our animal care staff have logged thousands of kilometres to do pickups and they have seen evidence of a variety of standards of care. These inconsistencies mean that the emotional wear and tear on staff can be very high.
Staff went to Quebec to pick up Beans and Burrito in early May. These two Standards, grey and brown in colour, are closely bonded and they were well treated by their former caregivers. Changing circumstances in their lives prevented them from being able to continue to give care.
Then Surrey and Roxanne, a grey Miniature and a dark brown small Standard, were trailered most of the way from Manitoba. Staff drove to Orillia to meet the van. Although Surrey and Roxanne received good treatment, their caregivers were moving and had to sell the farm. Added to that, there are some health issues with these donkeys and we understand that few veterinarians practice in winter north of Winnipeg due to harsh weather conditions.
Next, a five year old roan coloured pinto mule, was trailered here by our staff who had to travel to the Ottawa region where she was living. We understand that the mule had lived on several farms in her short life. She is very high-spirited and is very challenging whenever she has to be handled. Mules can be that way, especially when they are treated harshly in their first year.
Finally, we brought in two white Standard donkeys, ages 18 and 19. They lived in Southern Ontario and had been obtained to guard some sheep. When they didn’t bond with the sheep – which is often the case – the owner lost patience because the donkeys kept trying to leave the area where they had been placed. He tied one of the donkeys to a post on a 30′ line for 3 days. The line became tangled around the animal who was shivering and soaking wet with an eye infection when staff arrived to take them away. In this case, when the call came in, we had to move very quickly because the owner said that if we didn’t do so, he would euthanize the animals the next day. Our staff are to be commended highly for their calm, capable deportment in this highly-charge situation.
6 donkeys and a mule. All are safe, receiving the needed medial care and positive treatment that each deserves. Costs incurred during these rescues have been very high and it is only with the help of our donors that we have been able to admit these animals to their lifelong home at the DSC where they will be able to live complete, natural lives.
Sandra Pady, Founder