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Sad farewell to Tom

In May this year, we had to say goodbye to a very special donkey – Tom. He was 26 years old. It was a very difficult decision, and despite our very best efforts to treat him, we eventually had to let him go, as we did not want him suffering.

It is always very difficult for us, each time we have to say farewell to any of our dearest donkeys.

We first met Tom in 2011 through our community programme, the owner contacted us in order to check whether we could take Tom, as he did not have a proper place to keep him. The field that Tom was in belonged to someone else who needed it, and so Tom had nowhere to go.

As soon as we met Tom we could tell he was a lovely and well behaved donkey and would fit in well with our herd.

Tom was so excited when he arrived at the Sanctuary. He was so keen to meet all the other donkeys. Especially after he had spent some time in the isolation unit on his own, you can imagine how happy he was he could finally meet his new friends.

He epitomised the absolute joy of life; always trying to do anything that would make you smile. Rolling on the ground was one of his favourite habits, and then he would instantly get up making funny faces at you – visitors absolutely loved him!

Tom was always sniffing his carers’ t-shirts, and if their scent were any good to him, he would start chewing them off!

Tom has left us with countless sweet memories of him and our time with him, we wish more people could have met him. However, those who have met Tom will tell you that he was a real gem.

We will always carry you in our hearts sweetie. May your beautiful soul rest in peace.


Cyprus office


As the majority of our great supporters are aware, we used to accept visitors at our office for donations and information about our work. 

Following a review of some of our European Operations The Donkey Sanctuary has taken the difficult decision to close its dedicated office in Cyprus.

The Donkey Sanctuary Cyprus will continue operating and providing for the donkeys currently in its direct care, ensuring the best welfare standards for the rest of their lives. The Donkey Sanctuary will continue to advocate improving donkey welfare in Cyprus and will collaborate with stakeholders and owners of donkeys and mules, supported by the Donkey Sanctuary headquarters in UK.

All future community programme work will be coordinated through The Donkey Sanctuary's Global Programmes department, based in the UK.

Staff affected directly by the closure of the Cyprus office will move to homeworking.  

Please note that you can still donate towards our cause or adopt a donkey through our online Gift Shop or through our website’s Adopt and Donate sections. You can also find more information about ways of supporting us through our website’s relevant section Ways to help.

Thank you for all your kind support on this matter.

Cyprus office

Santorini’s Equine Taxi Owners work hard to improve conditions for their donkeys

Owners of donkeys transporting tourists on the Greek island of Santorini have helped improve working conditions for their animals with the collaboration of the world’s largest equine welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary.

Donkey and mule taxi owners have come together to pay for repairs to damaged steps as well as shelters on routes the animals use to carry tourists from one of Santorini’s ports up to the town.

Yannis Xagoraris, President of the Thira Equine Taxi Union, said: “We were frustrated with the slow progress made by the municipality to improve working conditions for our donkeys and mules. So, our members got together and paid for repairs to the lower steps ourselves to make the work easier for our donkeys and mules.

“We understand work has been hampered by municipal elections, which took place in Greece earlier this year, with spending restrictions imposed on the Mayor and his departments. Going forward we are committed to working with the new Mayor, Mr Antonis Sigalas, and his municipality to make even more substantial changes to improve the working conditions for our equines”.

The Donkey Sanctuary, with its international headquarters in the UK, is the only equine welfare charity currently working with the Santorini Municipality, the Equine Taxi Association and other key stakeholders to bring about sustainable change on the island. This includes improving welfare conditions for donkeys and mules engaged in rubbish collection, island trekking and transporting tourists up to the main town from the port.

Kate Ferguson, Programme Manager said: “The Donkey Sanctuary has made several visits to the island over the past year and has assessed the health and welfare of the working mules and donkeys on the island.

“With over 90% assessed as having good health, we are reassured the health of the animals is not the main issue. The challenges we have identified are around the working conditions and we will continue to work with all parties involved to create lasting change to support the health and welfare of the working donkeys and mules in Santorini.”

The charity has found many owners have more than just respect for their animals; as Yannis Xagoraris, explained: “We are very committed to the protection of our animals, ensuring they have access to adequate food, good shelter and in general all the care they need. Our mules and donkeys are part of our lives, our family and part of our daily routine – in short, we love them!”

The Donkey Sanctuary does not actively promote the use of donkeys and mules in tourism but recognises that donkeys and mules form an important part of the social, cultural heritage and economic foundations of many countries.

In Greece, donkeys and mules are an intrinsic part of the tourism industry, providing families and communities with an opportunity to create a sustainable livelihood. Animal welfare remains key and must be a priority.

The Donkey Sanctuary is looking forward to working with the new Mayor Mr Antonis Sigalas and will continue conducting health and welfare visits throughout the year while continuing to work in liaison with all stakeholders on the island.


Grizoulla - a book with a difference

A very kind supporter - who is also a writer, has contacted us some time ago in order to express her wonderful gesture in helping us… She has written a book which reveals the story of a small female donkey, who was born here in Cyprus in the very old days.

The name of the book is Grizoulla - named after the donkey, and it is the story of the trials, tribulations and joys of a Cypriot donkey. This kind lady has decided to donate a few copies of the book to us in order to help raise funds for our work and donkeys on the island!

A very nice book, told with affection and humour by the writer Mrs Claire Oechslin and illustrated with Sylvia Woodcock-Clarke's delightful drawings. The book will both entertain and educate children as they follow Grizoulla and her faithful friend Oreo on their journey through the sometimes harsh landscape of a donkey's life in Cyprus.

The proceeds from buying just one book can feed a donkey for two days with straw, or provide two days of medication for our elderly donkeys. Not only do you receive a lovely gift but you're also helping donkeys have a better life.

You can buy the book through our online Gift Shop section from our website.

**IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note that this book is not suitable for children under the age of 5 years old.

Grizoulla - a book with difference

Farewell dear Beau

We are sure those of you who knew Beau, will be as devastated as we were when our dear, dashing boy suddenly passed away on March 21st….

Beau had been under daily treatment for respiratory problems for the past few weeks, but unfortunately and despite our very best efforts did not improve and quietly passed away in his sleep at the age of 21 years old.

He will be greatly missed and none of us will ever forget his bold, but also kind nature.

Many of you will know the story of how Beau came to us back in 2005, aged 8 years old. He had been abandoned in a village near Limassol district and was found eating beans belonging to a rather irate farmer! He had two nasty large wounds on his face, which were treated by the vet.

He was an unusual colour for a donkey in Cyprus – more of a typical Eastern European donkey - grey with the well-recognised cross. He was a strong chap, but he was also into little tricks very often… One of them was to chew the grooms’ shirts while they were cleaning his paddock –something he really enjoyed doing! However, he was not so keen having his back hooves trimmed but as he was so handsome, we were always forgiving him for that!

As you are already aware of, we have recently replaced Beau in the Adoptions Scheme, and Pip Squeak has taken on his role. We all thank you for adopting him in the past, and for enabling us to do everything we could for him…

Rest in peace little boy – we will always carry you in our hearts..


Beau is retiring from his role in the adoption scheme

We would like to let you know about our lovable adoption donkey, Beau.

Our donkey friend has given many years of his life providing much love and pleasure to his fantastic family of adopters, and so we know that you will be sad to hear that from 1st March 2019 Beau will be retiring from his role in the adoption scheme. On the advice of our expert team, we felt it was time he had a well-earned rest from being in the limelight.

We very much want you, our beloved supporters to continue to enjoy all the benefits of adopting a donkey. We know how special Beau is to those of you who have adopted him, and will keep you updated when we have anything significant to tell you. In the meantime, we have nominally chosen one of our other donkeys to continue your adoption.

Pip Squeak is a brand new donkey to our adoption scheme who we think you'll adore. Came to us in November 2017 when he was just 11 months old, he is such an inquisitive and very friendly donkey and will always come across the paddock to say hello. He is very energetic and although being very tiny he is having a big heart. His best friend is Kikas and they spend a lot of time playing and galloping around in their paddock.

For those who adopted Beau already, please note that there is no need to do anything as the adoption will automatically transfer to the new adoption donkey - Pip Squeak. If you would prefer a different donkey, you are welcome to change this selection when your renewal falls due. We will contact you again when it's time to renew.

Your support for The Donkey Sanctuary and your beloved Beau has been heart-warming and we would love to continue with you as part of our adoptions family.



Back in 2015, we wrote about Adonis' rescue.

To help refresh your memory, Adonis was a beautiful and lovely natured young stallion, who was very well cared for and much loved by his owner who also had Adonis' mother.

Not long after visiting the two donkeys during our outreach at the time, we received a frantic phone call from the owner telling us that after his donkeys had been let loose by someone, Adonis had badly damaged his left eye.

After putting our vet in contact with the owner and giving him some advice to keep Adonis comfortable overnight, the owner soon realised that he could not give Adonis the proper and intensive care he so desperately needed, so we collected him early the next day. The injury to his eye was horrendous, and we did our best to treat it. Fortunately, although now blind in the eye, the eyeball was saved and Adonis made an amazing recovery. Throughout the daily treatments, it was as if he understood we were doing everything to help him. Adonis never complained and stood patiently during every procedure.

Adonis is such a brave and forgiving boy despite his eye injury adventure, and we all love him to bits!

We are so pleased to let you know that Adonis is doing perfectly fine, despite his ordeal. He is such a confident kind donkey, who loves being around people. Bless him, although he has got no bad ''habits'' he can be extremely noisy, particularly at night! He frequently wakens the holding base owner and starts the other donkeys braying - you can imagine the noise!

It never ceases to amaze us how forgiving animals can be despite going through traumatic events.

You can help us towards Adonis' care, by clicking on our Adopt, Donate or Gift Shop sections from our website.



Many of you will be probably wondering why you have not received any of our newsletters so far this year…

On 25th May 2018, the EU Data Protection Directive has been replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR gives you greater protection regarding how all businesses and organisations obtain, process, store and use your personal information.

So that we can continue to contact you and send you our newsletters, we are required to reaffirm your written consent. By now, you all should have received our letter over post with all the necessary information, so those of you who have not sent us your written consent statement yet please make sure you do, otherwise we will not be able to communicate with you - especially by email or telephone.

However, we can continue sending you our postal newsletter due to legitimate interest, unless you write to us asking to be removed from our mailing list. So far this year, we were unable to send out our postal newsletter, due to some technical issues. We are working towards resolving these, so we hope to your kind understanding. You may keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for any updates about our work in Cyprus.

If any of you have not received the Consent Statement letter from us, please contact us at or select Join Us, in order to make sure we update your contact details accordingly. You can also write to us at the following address:

The Donkey Sanctuary (Cyprus)
30B Agios Pandeleimonas Street
Pano Kivides
4715 Limassol

You may also read our Privacy Notice.

We look forward to hearing from you and having your continued support.



Two ex-working donkeys have come into our care recently – Margarita who is a large grey mare, and Huey Louis, a smaller brown gelding. Both donkeys have age related issues meaning that they needed extra special care. The owner knew they could no longer work and was unable to provide them with the specialist attention they both needed and asked for our help.

The donkeys were very underweight when they arrived but with the right treatments, food and additional help, they’ve made a lot of progress. Their true characters that have emerged are interesting too.

Margarita can only be described as a bit of a diva! Now full of energy, she’s quite a bossy girl who likes to be the centre of attention with the other donkeys! She loves her food so much that we have to make it very wet to slow her eating habits down. If she has to wait outside the barn for any reason, the look on her face is so amusing – sometimes she seems to be sulking while at other times she looks cross or upset.

On the other hand, Huey Louis is very confident, calm and inquisitive. He likes to make himself known to you although, unlike Margarita, is quite happy for her to get the attention. He gives us the impression that he’ll do anything for a quiet life! As soon as he arrived in our New Arrivals Unit, unlike the others who went exploring their new surroundings, he went straight to the chopped straw in the trough and started eating.

They’re both such lovable characters who, after giving people so much enjoyment throughout their lives, definitely deserve a well-earned rest and lots of special care. You know they will get that from us!



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