This month’s blog comes from Anna, our Welfare Vet.
The Donkey Sanctuary is a wonderful place but sometimes it’s in the wrong place! We never refuse admission to a donkey in need but sometimes a long journey down to Devon is not in the best interests of a donkey. For this reason we are lucky enough to have what we call ‘holding bases’ around the country. These special places are run by people who really care for and about donkeys - dedicated people who are or have been Donkey Welfare Advisors or members of The Donkey Sanctuary staff.
It’s often a family affair with partners and children all being involved in the care of needy donkeys and each holding base has a local equine vet assigned to it to keep us informed of the progress of particular donkeys and assess the donkey for its fitness to make the trip to Devon. In the case of some elderly donkeys it may be the kindest option to let them live out their final years in the holding base where they will receive all the loving care they require.
One of my jobs is to visit the holding bases at least twice a year to assess the donkey residents, whether temporary or permanent, and I’m always impressed by the care these donkeys receive and how they are welcomed into the family and given all the care they need for as long as it takes.
As you can imagine donkey care is not a 9 - 5 job and holding base managers may be called to go and pick up a desperate donkey in the middle of a snowy night - but they never say no and we (and the donkeys) are grateful to know we have a network of trusted carers around the country.
We have three holding bases in Scotland - Aberdeen, Dumfries and Lanark, two in Northern Ireland, one in Northumberland, two in Suffolk and one in Kent. We also have a base in Somerset and this is because the numbers of donkeys needing our help sometimes outstrips our capacity to offer room at Sidmouth at short notice.
So...thank you to all those special people that we rely on to help donkeys in need 24/7. We couldn’t do what we do without the amazing help and support you offer and it’s great to know that a needy donkey anywhere in the UK can find sanctuary with us even if not in Sidmouth.
I couldn’t resist taking some photos of a group of donkeys and a mule recently rescued and taken to our holding base in Lanark.