Sunday, October 27th, will be the last regular Open Day at the DSC Farm this year.  Its arrival will herald an appreciated  break for volunteers, staff and the animals too, because the days have been busy giving a welcome to almost 20,000 visitors these past 6 months. In the process myriad questions have been answered, informative lectures have been given,  countless, stories about the donkeys’ histories have been related, thousands of pats have touched furry coats – with all of this being done in the hope that young and old will better understand  the dimensions, requirements and responsibilities of “taking care” of our animal friends.

Back in 2010 the Canadian poet, Ken Babstock, visited the Sanctuary.  He watched, listened and admired the donkeys, mules, hinnies, and their caregivers. The poem below is the chronicle of this visit. Every time I read it, I learn something new about what we are doing here and why it is being done.

Autumn News from the Donkey Sanctuary

Cargo has let down
her hair a little and stopped pushing
Pliny the Elder on

the volunteer labour.
During summer it was all Pliny the Elder,
Pliny the Elder, Pliny

the – she’d cease only
for Scotch thistle, stale Cheerios, or to reflect
flitty cabbage moths

back at themselves
from the wet river-stone of her good eye. Odin,
as you already know,

was birthed under
the yew tree back in May, and has made
friends with a crow

who perches between
his trumpet-lily ears like bad language he’s not
meant to hear. His mother

Anu, the jennet with
soft hooves from Killaloe, is healthy and never
far from Loki or Odin.

The perimeter fence,
the ID chips like cysts with a function slipped
under the skin, the trompe

l’oeil plough and furrowed
field, the UNHCR feed bag and restricted visiting
hours. These things done

for stateless donkeys,
mules and hinnies – done in love, in lieu of claims
to purpose or rights –

are done with your
generous help. In your names. Enjoy the photo.
Have a safe winter

outside the enclosure.

Ken Babstock
In Methodist Hatchet, published by House of Anansi Press 2011

Sandra Pady, Founder

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