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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.



On one of our Community Programme visits in November, we were treating a group of donkeys and met one in particular who can only be described as a bit of a nuisance!

The gorgeous looking, typical big Cypriot donkey, was so easy to handle and well behaved, we didn't think twice about leaving him to wander around the field while we attended to the other donkeys.

An irresistable nuisance


Several years ago, a young veterinary student called Silke, spent time with us gaining some work experience. She loved the donkeys and told her parents all about them and they later came to visit us. Since then, Silke's mother, Renata, comes to Cyprus most years as a swimming coach and makes sure she comes to say hello and see the donkeys.

A Personal Performance


We have a few donkeys with poor eyesight and all of them cope really well. Harry Potter and George are two of them and until recently, they lived in different paddocks.

Harry has been with us since 2005 and was already blind in one eye. George has been with us since 2013 and has difficulty in seeing things near to him. Although he took care of our Helena when she was a tiny foal, he's always been a loner and generally stayed out of the way, not even wanting lots of cuddles.

George & Harry


It's easy for us to sometimes forget the improvements we achieve with our rescued donkeys. Two examples of how care and devotion can not only improve a donkeys physical welfare, but also their mental well-being, are Yiannis and Aspro.

You've just read about dear old Aspro and you'll remember reading about Yiannis, the terrified young donkey who came into our care last year. Yiannis has always been the most inquisitive donkey we've met and recently demonstrated to us how he has been watching his best friend Helena.

Before & After


Similarly, to Santorini and Rhodes, donkeys are used to provide rides to tourists in the small town of Mijas in Spain. For many years, The Donkey Sanctuary worked hard to try to improve welfare conditions, using several different approaches. In more recent times, our sister charity El Refugio del Burrito, has made progress with many of the owners and, importantly, the local Town Hall.

Mijas donkey


You all know about Moses and the truck, Hercules opening bolts, Helena and her fascination with bootlaces and Velcro – things you almost expect from younger donkeys. There’s an old saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and while this isn’t true, we certainly didn’t expect it of two of our very elderly donkeys!! Actually, we didn’t teach them – it was a team effort between Squeak and Bobby.

Bobby & Squeak 1


In our last newsletter, we spoke about the help we need from any of you who are concerned about a donkey you see. We’re sure you’ll understand how difficult it can be for us to resolve some situations, particularly as we have no legal jurisdiction. Fortunately, we’ve got to know many more owners over the years and developed a good relationship with most. This makes it a lot easier if we need to speak to them about a concern, or if we can then tell people that we know the donkeys involved and can explain the situation.

Help us make donkey lives better


Trying to improve donkey welfare standards can sometimes seem like a losing battle; it’s easy to forget that there are good people out there who really do take care of their donkeys. Through our Community Programme, we meet some wonderful owners who ask us questions and listen to our advice so that they can give their donkeys a better life. Two such people are Andreas and Panagiota.



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