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The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada

Updated on November 7, 2014

Because there is a need...

Recently I helped the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada celebrate Donkey Day. This is their annual open house to invite the public in to meet the donkeys, raise money for their care and tell their stories. It is amazing how much you can love these creatures when you meet them. They are calm and cute and I am glad they have a safe place to live!

Miniature donkey (photo by Sandra Wilson)
Miniature donkey (photo by Sandra Wilson)

What are Donkeys

The Donkey is part of the equine family. A male donkey are called a Jack and a female is called a Jenny. A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. A hinny is the offspring of a female donkey and a male horse.

There are three categories of donkeys according to size: miniatures, standards and mammoths. The smallest donkey (miniature) measures as small as 25 inches to the withers (shoulders) and the largest donkey (mammoth) although rare can be as tall as 58 inches high.

Most equines are measured in hands - a hand is 4 inches.

About the Donkey Sanctuary

Donkeys at the Sanctuary (photo by Sandra Wilson)
Donkeys at the Sanctuary (photo by Sandra Wilson)

Since 1992 The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada has been dedicated to providing a lifelong home to donkeys, mules and hinnies that are unwanted, neglected or abused. It is a 100 acre farm that offers tranquility and love to donkeys that have suffered previously.

They believe that the donkey is the forgotten equine often deemed "disposable" after its work life has ended. Donkeys are often sent to auction where the only buyer is a slaughterhouse.

The Donkey Sanctuary rescues donkeys from such an undignified end. They also provide a haven for donkeys who have been abused by humans or even bullied by horses.

Presently, they provide sanctuary for over 100 donkeys, mules and hinnies on their farm and their foster farms.

"The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different." ~ Hippocrates

DId You Know?

photo by Sandra Wilson
photo by Sandra Wilson

One of the donkey's favourite past-times is rolling!

Bob Rae (photo by Sandra Wilson)
Bob Rae (photo by Sandra Wilson)

Meet the Donkeys

Each and every donkey living on the farm is given a name and a bio (on their website). And, if you visit the farm, the volunteers can introduce you to the donkeys by name as well. They have different colours, different markings and even different personalities. From Abby to Eeyore and Sunshine too there are a multitude of beautiful creatures to visit with. Some are over 30 years old and some as young as 10. There are siblings, parents and children and donkeys that have been accepted as family. Some have been around for a long while and others have had only a short reprieve. But for sure, they are all well looked after and loved. Even those who have passed away are fondly remembered.

The History of Donkeys

Many standard donkeys came to America with the Spanish explorers during the 1600s. They were used as pack animals because they can carry up to 30% of their body weight. They were also used to guard sheep and goats against coyotes. Although donkeys are still used on farms for pulling carts or carrying packs, most donkeys today are pets.

During WWI donkeys were used to carry supplies to soldiers as well as carry wounded back to hospital tents.

Goat photo by Sandra Wilson
Goat photo by Sandra Wilson

Not just Donkeys

The Donkey Sanctuary has not just rescued and provided a haven for donkeys, hinnies and mules but is also home to some sheep and goats that had also been neglected, abused or in need of a home.

Donkeys, goats and sheep can get along well together but it is not good to put donkeys in with cattle and sometimes, horses can bully donkeys.

Are Donkeys really stubborn?

When a donkey is faced with a strange situation, its instinct is to stand still and to consider what is expected. If it is being asked to do something that is not in its interest to do, then the donkey will remain where it is. Some people call that stubbornness while others realize that it’s just common sense.

Touring the farm (photo by Sandra Wilson)
Touring the farm (photo by Sandra Wilson)


Compassion and respect for animals is an important philosophy held by the people at The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada.

With this in mind the farm offers tours for groups and classes along with some educational material to help teach about donkeys and humane treatment of animals.

The Donkey Sanctuary welcomes groups to come for a guided tour of their facility and learn about the history of the Sanctuary, what work is done there and about the donkeys themselves!

Virtual Tour

Click thumbnail to view full-size
photo used with permission from the photographer
photo used with permission from the photographer

About the author

I am an experienced home educator and an amateur photographer that enjoys combining my photos and education to create interesting and fun learning experiences.

I encourage you to learn something new everyday!

What do you think about the donkeys? - Thanks for reading!

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    • MarcStorm LM profile image

      MarcStorm LM 5 years ago

      I love 'em! You did a great job showcasing this beautiful safe haven for them. I'm so happy that they have such a wonderful place to live out their days in peace! I'm so glad you wrote about it. Hopefully more people will check it out. You should try to find a way to make that place into a charity for Squidoo so you can have this page as a spokesperson for it.