Thursday, 28 June 2012

#289: Where Jackasses Retire

There is a very special animal rescue facility just outside Guelph: The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada.  It is open Wednesdays and Sundays, so being retired, my sister-in-law Toni and I chose to visit midweek.

Foolishly, I imagined that the Donkey-to-Nancy/Donkey-to-Toni ratio would be 1 to 25 (there are over 50 rescued donkeys on the farm) but the sanctuary was swarming with people.  And no wonder; the donkeys are sweet-natured, gentle and friendly.  Being with these delightful creatures is such a soothing, uplifting experience that I can imagine visitors drop in regularly to see their favourite donkeys, mules or hinnies -- just for a chat and a scratch behind the ears.

Apollo has such a noble profile. Who wouldn't want to pat that nose?
The 53 animals in the sanctuary are unique, each with a distinct personality and appearance.  But they are all rescued creatures, so they all have a past--often an unhappy past--although their stories now have happy endings because the sanctuary meets all their needs with respect and understanding.  The donkeys have opportunities for socialization,  making friends with other donkeys, with staff and visitors.  Chunky donkeys who require a special low calorie menu are together in a special enclosure for weight watchers. Older, more docile donkeys ("The Girls") have their own paddock as do the rambunctious males known to staff as "The Rowdy Boys".  The vet, the farrier, the dentist, and the massage therapist all make regular visits.

Katy and Peter are best pals.

Our donkey education went from zero to sixty in no time flat as we met all the four-legged residents and then joined a school group for a donkey Q & A.  I mentioned to staff that the sanctuary was like an animal rest home.  "Oh, it is", they assured me.  "We care for the donkeys until they die".

So here's one more retirement/nursing home facility that I could visit.  And they use volunteers, too.  


  1. That sounds like the loveliest place. Aren't donkeys just lovely creatures? Can we go together next time i'm in Guelph?

  2. Sure thing! There is a celebratory Donkey Day mid June, but I think I would rather be there when there are fewer people and more opportunity to be with the animals.