Newsletter Spring 2006

Donkeys with a visitor

The donkeys entertain a winter visitor

It has been a winter of thank you's starting just before Christmas with the news that the Department of Agriculture and Food have once again chosen to help promote our work by granting an ex-gratia payment of €10,000. As we are currently looking for a permanent live-in manager it is possible that some, or all, of this payment will be used as part of a remuneration package. We welcome this support to help us meet the demands and ever higher level of commitment demanded by a growing Sanctuary.



Still on the thank you's we are especially indebted to a gentleman who will be known simply as Dr. Bill.

At 96 years of age Dr. Bill set about raising funds to help close friends meet the enormous vet's bills incurred when their beloved boxer dog, Wallace, was suffering from cancer.

At the point when Wallace was euthanased on humane grounds Dr. Bill's funds stood at £1,000 and with the agreement of Wallace's owners, were transferred to the Sai Sanctuary to erect of new field shelter, in memory of Wallace, for the "golden oldies" donkeys. Having researched what we would like to erect, all we need now are some summer days in which to do it!


Thanks go to a number of faithful supporters: Kean O'Hara for 20 bags of feedstuffs; Ptolemy Tomkins for his article in an American publication "Angels" which brought us many donations from his generous readers, Inge and Elke for the donation of good quality items for resale, Tom and Mary Latchford for several vans full of their own hay plus many other goodies, Diane Keevans for selling over 400 Christmas cards for us ~ the list is endless. Thank you all!

Fairy Snow
Fairy Snow snug in her rug


Fairy Snow, our little albino pony, has no pigment in her skin so is extremely susceptible to rain scald, mud fever and chapped heels and does need special care. She also suffers very badly with "sweetitch", a highly unpleasant allergy to biting midges. Fairy was the happy recipient of a good quality Ranbo outdoor rug from the Horseware range, kindly donated by Mr Fran Hollywood of Made in Hollywood , Dundalk , which has kept her dry, whatever the weather.

Two other outdoor rugs from the same range were donated by The Irish Horseware Trust for two of our other horses who live out all year round and thanks to the general generosity of supporters, we were able to provide a third, extra large rug for our elderly Irish Draught mare, Copper, though it took the ingenuity of our two farriers to overcome Copper's suspicions of this strange looking object! Given her age and the unusually cold conditions (for Ireland ) of February and March, she has wintered extremely well.



The cold, dry conditions of much of this winter gave rise to a number of welfare calls where natural supplies of water had either frozen up or dried up, with obvious consequences to the animals. Please remember to check your animal's water supply regularly in warm weather too to ensure that it is always available and clean.



Sue Brown, equine and human chiropractor, gave of her special talents for the second year when she was visiting from Chicago late in February. On a bitterly cold day Sue adjusted the most needy old donkeys, with visible results, as well as Horatio and Penny Biscuit, our two elderly and disabled ponies. Shelley, (pictured) who has ongoing back and leg problems, displayed greatly improved mobility after treatment.

Horatio recently suffered the loss of an eye so particular attention was paid to relaxing the muscles and soft tissue around this area, noticeably softer and more relaxed. Maudie was extremely tired the next day but has been more mobile since and the others treated were all powered up with extra energy to keep us on our toes with their mischievous tricks.




All nineteen of our resident donkeys, the two mules, twelve ponies and three horses have wintered well without major problems but we were sad to lose Hubble, one of our twin pet sheep, now 14 years old.

His brother, Trouble, is still with us, settled with the donkeys and thankfully showing no signs of leaving us yet. Hubble and Trouble have been great fun over the years and brought much pleasure, especially to town children, who had never before had the opportunity to meet a fully grown sheep and feel for themselves the thick fleece that later becomes their woolly jumpers, blankets etc.




Regular followers of the Sanctuary will remember Hoffman, the small, dark bay mule who arrived here with his larger, grey friend, Dustin, three years ago. On arrival Hoffman had a severe back leg injury but as he was difficult to handle we could only do so much in the way of dressing and cleaning the wound and were happy when it apparently healed of it’s own accord. During this winter, however, it festered again, becoming very swollen, infected and painful. Hoffman was as good as gold while the wound was dressed and treated over several days ~ until it was time to remove the bandage, an exercise not for the faint-hearted! It is with enormous respect I thank our vet, Dr. Sabine Conboy, without who’s courage and determination the bandage could still be in place! But it seems Hoffman bears no ill feelings and the wound has healed beautifully.

Sponsored Walk

Don't forget our annual Crazy About Creatures Sponsored Walk which we share with the Sligo Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

A date has not been finalised yet but it is usually in late June or early July. Please watch the local press for further details and join us for another truly enjoyable day in the Irish countryside whilst helping to create a world where all life is honoured. Your support is deeply appreciated so do come along, bring the family, and the family dog, and have a great day. We look forward to seeing you there.



Due to the generosity of Emily and Mark Murphy , we are able to offer a free 12 minute DVD on the welfare of donkeys in Ireland . As part of her degree course Emily was required to produce a 5 minute educational DVD and finding she had good footage left over, compiled a longer DVD for the Sanctuary's own use. Music teacher Mark composed and played the background music. Entitled "Asail" (Irish for donkey), the DVD represents a mini insight into some of the history of donkeys and their problems in the Irish climate. It is available on request direct from the Sanctuary. Due to increased costs of postage a donation towards postage and packing would be appreciated if the DVD is to be sent abroad.



During the next few months we hope to set up, with the help of a computer-whizz friend, an EBAY page where small, easily posted items may be sold to raise funds for the donkeys and ponies. If you have any such items hidden away in the attic that you no longer want and wish to donate, please send them to the address on the back page of this newsletter.



Another project in the making is the brain child of students studying international marketing at Sligo's IT college, who have chosen the Sanctuary as their promotional subject. As part of the project they are collecting real-life short stories about donkeys: favourite donkeys, ways donkeys have been worked in the past, their contribution to Ireland's history and economy, amusing anecdotes about donkeys - all and everything to do with genuine donkey stories.

If you have a story to tell and would like to help with this project, please send us a copy, retaining the original for yourself as we regret we are unable to return texts, though will do our best to return any photographs if you are unable to get copies made. Ultimately, the students hope to produce a booklet of donkey stories to raise awareness generally and perhaps even to help raise valuable funds for the Sanctuary. If you have a story to tell and would like to help this worthwhile project, please, get writing!

Have a great summer

Have a great summer!

Previous  |  Index  |   Next