Two-thirds of our work is made possible through the incredible generosity of those who leave a gift in their will.

We aim to ensure that every donkey in Britain can live a happy and healthy life. As part of this, we offer sanctuary for life to any donkey found to be suffering. Here, we reflect on some of the rescue stories from the last five years, when donkeys were given a new lease and quality of life after entering our care.

Without the money left by generous donors, not all of the stories below would have been possible.

Safe sanctuary for the rest of their lives

Underweight and living in their own faeces, these six donkeys from Worcestershire had been suffering from a long period of neglect, and were not used to human contact.

“On arrival, I could see the group were in very poor body condition and some of their basic needs weren’t being met. They clearly needed urgent farrier attention to trim their feet and alleviate any suffering their overgrown hooves were causing them."

To help plan for their future care, blood and dung samples were collected from each of the donkeys, and within hours, the donkeys were removed from the site and transported to a local holding base. At the holding base, the group received further veterinary care, and were put on an appropriate diet as many were underweight. The state of their feet was also a major concern, and using x-rays as a guide, the farrier was able to provide remedial care and begin the task of trimming their hooves.

In the best interest of the donkeys, they were placed into our permanent care and given safe sanctuary for the rest of their lives.

A new chapter in life

Irish winters are renowned for their unpredictable and unrelenting nature. When we were made aware of a large herd of equines without shelter in the appalling weather, we knew we had to act fast.

Concerned about the health of seven foals in the group, aged between just two and six months old, it was feared that they would not make it through another night in the cruel weather conditions. Their owner agreed to relinquish them to us in order for them to receive the care they so urgently needed.

"The foals were so light, we simply picked them up to load them. It was critical to get them to the sanctuary as quickly as possible."

The group were severely underweight, with one weighing just 51 kg. Our grooms put the foals in warm blankets to soothe them from the damp and cold, and showed them to their freshly bedded stable.

After several months at our New Arrivals Unit in Ireland, the foals were ready to start their new chapter and have found their forever home at our sanctuary in Ireland where they have joined a herd of other young donkeys

Enjoying a safe and loving environment

Following a report from a concerned member of the public, one of Welfare Advisers attended a herd of donkeys at a smallholding in the North East of England.

The 14 donkeys, including three young foals, were found sharing a muddy field. They had very little food, limited grazing, and no hardstanding to help keep their hooves dry and in good condition. The fencing was unsafe, and the field was full of hazards including plastic, rubbish and old farm machinery. Within hours, they were removed from the site and taken to one of our holding bases.

The group were given a thorough examination by one of our vets. Using x-rays as a guide, the farrier was then able to begin the task of trimming and caring for their hooves, and the group were put onto an appropriate diet to help them gain weight.

After five months of dedicated care, they were fit to travel south to The Donkey Sanctuary’s New Arrivals Unit in preparation for joining one of our herds.

The group are now enjoying life among other donkeys in a safe and loving environment.

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