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A shaggy donkey's tale

The Donkey Sanctuary - UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) Joint Project is this week hosting its third Equitarian Workshop. After an introductory morning including an official opening by the municipality, we all drove to the outskirts of Santa Cruz.

To set the scene we asked the community to tell us the major challenges they faced with their donkeys, mules and horses and then to rank the problems according to their importance. After some discussion about these problems they took their animals to different veterinary specialists depending on the problems they had identified where, after further discussion to understand the problems and their causes, they were given treatment.

The mule whose name means 'thank you'

Because so much of our international work involves helping overworked and neglected donkeys, it’s easy to get the impression that owners simply don’t care about their animals. That’s why I wanted to pass on this very moving story from one of our staff in Ethiopia, about an owner who appreciated his hard-working mule so much that he stood up at a community event with the mule by his side, and made a heartfelt speech about the difference she had made to his life.

A muled called 'Thank You'

Donkeys are often last to be offered water

At The Donkey Sanctuary we recognise that cyclic droughts are an inevitable part of life for many donkeys and the communities in which they live and work.

When rains fail and water and food become scarcer, and wells dry up, the work of donkeys starts to increase. Thirsty and hungry themselves, they have to carry increasing amounts of water and food over longer distances for people and other animals. They are often the last to be offered the water they have carried.

Donkeys can suffer just like we can

This little girl and boy are children of donkey owners in Palitana, a small town in Gujurat, India. Above Palitana is a long hill. It takes 3,950 steps to get to the top. The top of the hill is covered with Jain temples, and the number of temples keeps growing. All the building materials are carried up on the backs of donkeys.

Impressions of my first visit to Mexico: Days 11-12

Thursday 23rd October

Tenango del Valle is just beyond Santiago Tianguistenco. Its primary school seems idyllic. A playground bordered by beds of flowering bushes and lilies sits between two bright rows of classrooms. To one side is a grassy football pitch and a woody knoll. Beyond is a view to hillsides patched with agriculture and more distant mountain tops. At last we are going to see the education team in action.

Impressions of my first visit to Mexico: Days 9-10

Tuesday 21st October

While Mal Squance, our Deputy Chief Executive, has a day in the office, I join a mixed team led by Carlos but including Mauro a veterinary assistant, Pablo the farrier, Beto the harness-maker, Alma, Ereka and Diana the Social Service vets, and Fernando, another Social Service vet from a different programme who acts as my translator for the day.

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