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Murphy was a stallion and his owners found that looking after him was far from straightforward. At just 3-years-old he was shut in with no company or stimulation and so for the last 18 months, Murphy’s world has been a 12 x 12’ internal stable in the corner of a big barn. His bed was hardly ever cleaned out and so he lived on an undulating mound of filth.


An ending and a beginning

Giving up your donkey after 40 years of living, breathing and loving donkeys is a hard thing to do. Oscar’s owner, now in her 70s, decided this was best for him and also for her as it was getting harder to give him the care and attention he needed.

Oscar and Dan meeting for the first time

Progress for Viola

Many of you will have read about little Viola, her mother’s inability to feed her and subsequent transfer to our Italian Sanctuary, Il Rifugio degli Asinelli. Fabrizio, our Italian Donkey Welfare Adviser, has kindly sent me an update with a picture of Viola with Daniela and a video of the foal enjoying her feed. It has not been plain sailing for Viola as she has struggled to gain weight.

Viola and Daniela

A promise to Viola - Part 2

The next morning I met with Fabry who informed me that everybody was agreed that the pair should come in to the Sanctuary if the owner would contribute towards the cost of milk for Viola.

We could do nothing that day as were off to visit a donkey milk farm with a vet from Milan. This was fortuitous in one way as meant we could obtain a supply of milk for Viola. However, both Fabry and I were anxious about the foal throughout the day but it was agreed that we would pick her up the next day after delivering two donkeys to a Guardian home the other side of Genoa.

Viola encourages her mother

A promise to Viola - Part 1

The opportunity to work with my Italian counterpart for three days was something not to be missed and on my first day I was shown around Il Rifugio, our Sanctuary in Northern Italy near Biella. Nestled at the foot of the Alps in beautiful countryside, it currently houses 120 donkeys and 30 mules.

Sue and Viola

Violet, a special Bulgarian Lady

Her journey began in Bulgaria and was meant to end in an Italian abattoir. Packed into a transporter with 30 other donkeys, no food or water and a five day journey from hell. Such journeys take place daily on the continent for countless donkeys, mules and horses. This particular lorry went via Belgium where a dealer bought the entire load for the then lucrative British market. Not out of compassion, but to make money.

Violet enjoying her forever home


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