When a donkey owner in France contacted us in April to ask for help in rehoming her animals, our European teams knew that working together was the most effective way forward.

The owner had previously managed a sanctuary in the south of France, caring for 11 donkeys (nine geldings and two stallions). The sanctuary had been running for several years, but due to personal reasons, the owner had to close it, and the donkeys urgently needed a new home. 

The donkeys had established strong friendships and needed to reach new families together with their bonded friends.

The case was managed jointly by our Italian and Spanish teams. Francesca Dai, Donkey Welfare Adviser at our sanctuary in Italy, collected as much information as possible about the characteristics and needs of each donkey.

Meanwhile, Nicky Cohen, Donkey Welfare Adviser at our sanctuary in Spain, contacted several potential new Donkey Guardians in France who had declared their interest in adopting donkeys in the past.

Nicky evaluated the different families, the properties where they intended to house the donkeys and their ability to take care of them, offering training and support.

After careful evaluation of the potential new Guardians, our teams put the owner in touch with the suitable candidates.

The two donkey stallions were rehomed with a friend of the owner, while the other nine were rehomed with Maria and John Hammond, a couple living near the former sanctuary who visited the donkeys and fell in love with them.

Maria said: “We went to see them and John loved it, especially Eliote who seemed to be drawn to John as he stood behind him for quite a while waiting to be noticed!

“We agreed to take two donkeys. A couple days later, John turned around and said, ‘why don’t we have all nine?’ I said, ‘OK, why not?’”

The nine donkeys arrived at their new home in June, after the couple worked tirelessly in the 40-degree heat putting up new fences, building shelters and ensuring that everything is donkey-proof.

This story had a happy ending thanks to our amazing Guardians and the collaboration between our teams, who ensured that these 11 donkeys are safe and thriving in their new homes.