80p out of every £1 goes directly on donkey welfare and care
The feature of The Donkey Sanctuary’s work which I’ve always found the most inspiring is their work with working equids, improving the lives of those dependent upon them financially, and giving a quality of life and security of health to these hard-working “beasts of burden”. In Spain, I have had the pleasure of exploring another side of their work; sanctuary work. Dona Rosa is the larger of the two Sanctuaries in Spain. Whilst it is always difficult to hear stories of abuse, I am astounded once more by the work of The Donkey Sanctuary in alleviating suffering in animals.
Most tourists visit Bahir Dar for its setting on the southern shores of Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile, and because the town makes for a convenient base to explore the monasteries and churches on the lake’s islands and shores. I’ve chosen instead to spend a few days observing the incredible work of The Donkey Sanctuary Ethiopia (DSE).
"We love our donkeys so much; what can we do to show our love for them? We want to do more."
For a donkey welfare adviser to be asked this from a Donkey Guardian about their rehomed donkeys is the best question of all.
A hug may be your first response - and yes, they do love a hug and a scratch - but donkeys need so much more than being shown a human form of love.
How about enrichment, stimulation and understanding? These are all key parts to fulfilling a donkey’s life.
When we first found Skip, he was so thin all the bones of his skeleton could be felt through his thick, wet winter coat. He was weak, dull and reluctant to eat.
He and a number of other donkeys lived in an allotment-sized paddock which had become so poached there was nothing but mud under hoof.
The living environment was littered with hazards and rubbish, and the only food available was old, rotting and unappetising.
Growing up in Ireland, the image conjured when someone says ‘donkey’ is, like the majority of the population, that of a sweet, soggy donkey in a field of luscious grass, who has evidently enjoyed one-too-many carrots in their time. Here, the donkeys I met were lean, with hard feet and no real abscess problem to speak of.
Can you imagine carrying out your normal morning routines going to the donkey stable to find the gate open and no donkeys in sight? Complete panic.
Thoughts running through your head at a 100 miles an hour about where they could be.
When a gate has been left open accidentally then there is a guarantee curious donkeys will find it.