Written by Lloreen le Roux
Professional photography By-Joao Photography
Donkeys, with their soulful eyes and big personalities, are such lovable animals, and yet they suffer terribly worldwide. While my husband, Albert, and I were driving through a rural area in 2016, we witnessed the abuse some of the donkeys in South Africa were suffering.
There are over 44 million donkeys worldwide and, sadly, due to a combination of lack of education and people’s need to survive and ensure their families are fed and sheltered, so many donkeys are subjected to neglect and abuse, overworked and left to die in agony.
As an animal lover, seeing this deeply upset me. I told Albert that, one-day, we’d have a sanctuary for abused donkeys, where they can retire and just live and breathe.
The first three
We adopted our first three donkeys – Herbie, Eli and Simon – from the SPCA in Benoni. On the 15th of December 2017, we led the three lucky equines into a rented horse trailer and took them home. We have not looked back since.
Herbie was a part of the infamous Hartswater Auction featured on the Carte Blanche television show on the 25th of January 2017, where more than 400 horses and donkeys were to be auctioned off. Over 200 were fortunate enough to be rescued; eight of the rescued donkeys went to the Benoni SPCA to find new forever homes.
That was the first time I heard about the horrid illegal skin trade, most of which is due to the fact that the gelatine extracted from their hide is used as a key ingredient in a traditional Chinese medicine called ejiao. Not only are donkeys bought in auctions, some are even stolen from their homes. For more information on this issue, visit https://nspca.co.za/animal-welfare/donkeys-mules/skin-trade/ (Editor: Not for sensitive viewers.)
A host of happy donkeys
We’re the forever retirement home to 41 donkeys – and we’ve just welcomed a further 41. These donkey jacks (aka stallions) were staying at The Karoo Donkey Sanctuary and were also rescued from the Hartswater auction, along with 224 other donkeys and horses.
Our Johannesburg donkey jacks are all castrated, as we’re not breeders. However, we were very excited to welcome our very first donkey foal, Hayley, who was born on the 11th of February 2020. Our little princess Hayley’s mom, Crystal, arrived pregnant in December 2019. We were also joined by the twins, Misty and Gypsy. Donkey twins are very rare – usually one will be stillborn – so we’re really blessed to have them both.
Donkeys are the perfect example that a little love goes a long way. Once they trust us, most of them are very affectionate; they love company, lots of hugs and snacks. They’re such forgiving, loving creatures.
Our donkeys are thoroughly spoilt with good food twice a day, clean bedding straw in their stables and warm winter blankets. For internal and external parasite control, we put natural diatomaceous earth in their food, as well as rolling compound. They also enjoy salt licks and snacks. They have straw for bedding in their stables and warm winter blankets; they also receive proper vet, dental and farrier care, and get dewormed. We even read them bedtime stories and sing to them on occasion. Healthy donkeys are happier donkeys.
Donkeys are highly intelligent creatures, capable of independent thinking and decision-making; they’re quite simply amazing! No money can buy the feeling we get from caring for these sentient beings, and there’s no greater honour than being able to love them and being loved by them in return.
How you can help Rest ur Ass Donkey Sanctuary
For more information, call 084 611 0089, or email email@example.com and follow them on Facebook @ResturAss.
We always need funds to keep feeding and caring for our donkeys. You can even sponsor a specific donkey.
Donate through PayPal (use the email address firstname.lastname@example.org) or EFT donations to:
REST UR ASS DONKEY SANCTUARY
Bank: First National Bank
Account Number: 62744791262
Branch: Clearwater Mall
Branch Code: 250655