1990s: Stepping ahead
The 1990s saw The Donkey Sanctuary build some of the programmes that are closest to its heart today.
Our work in the Americas takes root.
In 1991, Dr Svendsen was invited to the Caribbean Islands of Turks and Caicos at the bequest of their government in order to examine the situation of their feral donkeys. Donkeys that had once been used for Grand Turk island's salt industry were abandoned when its commercial viability collapsed. During the dry seasons, these donkeys were either dying from dehydration, or heading into the town to drink from the islanders' limited supplies of water. Discontented attitudes towards the government's proposal to ship the feral donkeys to Haiti for meat lead to The Donkey Sanctuary stepping in to create a more viable solution.
Feral donkeys were rounded up to a large, secure area, where funding from The Donkey Sanctuary enabled the animals to have regular access to food and water. Our work in the Caribbean has spread to islands including Barbuda and Bonaire.
1991 also saw the arrival of our 5,000th donkey - Jenny, who arrived into our care after two years of being locked in a garage.
Dr Svendsen is awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Glasgow.
The Donkey Sanctuary starts work in Egypt that will continue for decades to come.
A centre for donkey-assisted therapy is opened in Birmingham.
It is the first of its kind outside of the original sanctuary in Devon.
Adopt a Donkey begins
As a result of our new donkey-assisted therapy centre, 1994 also saw the start of a novel fundraising programme: Adopt a Donkey. Adopt a Donkey enabled donkey lovers around the country to get to know one of our adoption donkeys better, while helping to give financial support to our Donkey-Assisted Therapy programmes. Each donkey selected for the adoption scheme was enlisted to work with children with additional needs in our Sidmouth or brand new Birmingham centres. Some of our first adoption donkeys included: Tom Harrison, Daniel P, Dominic, Tapestry and Megan (Sidmouth), and Donk Dean, Pascoe, Dinky, Oscar and Charlie C (Birmingham).
Hannigan's Farm opens in Ireland to enable The Donkey Sanctuary to care for more Irish donkeys and mules in need.
Today, The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland has over 1,800 donkeys and mules in its care, over 650 of which have been rehomed back into the community to Guardian homes.