What happens when a donkey is taken into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary? Probably a lot more than you imagine.

At The Donkey Sanctuary, we have helped care for tens of thousands of donkeys in the UK and Ireland – many of which have passed through New Arrivals at our sanctuary in Sidmouth on their route to rescue. 

In 2018 we rescued 172 donkeys and mules in the UK and Ireland, where our sanctuaries are often overwhelmed with cases of abandonment or neglect and our resources stretched to capacity. With your support, and with our knowledgeable team of staff and volunteers, we also managed to rehome 223 donkeys and mules in this same period.

The only way we can continue to reach out and protect those most in need is by ensuring we are able to rehome as many donkeys as possible. Not only does this afford our team the space, time and resources to take new animals in, but it enables the rehomed donkeys to live out the rest of their years with plenty of one-on-one attention and care.

The path to rehoming starts from the very moment a donkey or mule comes into our care. Although not all donkeys and mules that come to live at The Donkey Sanctuary end up being suitable for private homes, we give them each as much personalised attention as they require to help them get their best new start.

All new donkeys and mules to the Sidmouth sanctuary go through the New Arrivals process, no matter what their start in life. 

In a new short film, we reveal a behind-the-scenes look at ‘A Day in the Life of New Arrivals.’ Discover what happens to donkeys taking their first steps towards a new life after being rescued or relinquished.

The New Arrivals area itself is restricted to ensure biosecurity and to prevent the potential spread of any diseases from incoming donkeys into our resident herd. The minimum stay a donkey has in New Arrivals is six weeks, though some do end up staying a lot longer, depending on their needs and their health. It is down to the hardworking staff across multiple teams to ensure each donkey receives the very best care.

“We’re really lucky to have a really passionate team of people here looking after the donkeys,” says New Arrivals Manager Sara Blair-Salter. “We have a lot of highs, a lot of lows, and we really have to pull together as a team and give them lots of love and care.

“We have a team that works around the clock, so the donkeys really are getting the best care. There is always a waiting list of donkeys that need our help and are wanting to come into the sanctuary so we really have to prioritise those that are really in need and make sure that we get them into our care as soon as we can.”

Help a donkey make a new start