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LIMITED EDITIONS!

If you haven't bought one of our fabulous 2018 calendars already, you need to hurry as there are only a few left! Proving to be very popular, time is running out to get one of the last copies so don't delay.

Each A4 calendar costs just €8.50 plus postage available through our online Gift Shop. Alternatively, you can phone us, send us an email at info@donkeysanctuarycyprus.org or, if you are in the area, purchase one from our office in Pano Kivides.

The proceeds from buying just one calendar can feed a donkey for two days with straw, or provide three days of medication for our elderly donkeys. Not only do you receive a lovely, practical gift but you're helping donkeys like Aspro, Yiannis, George and Harry have a better life.

Another limited edition are these super bracelets made specifically for us. The 2cm stainless steel disc is very hard wearing and has our donkey logo on one side and our name on the other side.

The brown cord, which is slightly darker than shown in the photograph, is fully adjustable and will fit almost any sized wrist.

As they are made specifically for us, these bracelets are unique and will make a lovely gift. At only €10 plus postage and packing, the proceeds from each purchase will go towards our own donkeys and those that we help on the island.

Don't forget we've got other small affordable gifts on our online webstore that would make ideal Christmas presents for your friends and family - or yourself of course!

Remember the proceeds from every item bought goes towards food, medications, treatments, donkey equipment and enabling us to help others.

2018 Calendar

AN IRRESISTABLE NUISANCE

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.

We should have known better as he decided that all of the equipment we had in the back of our truck, just had to be removed or eaten! Totally ignoring anything we said, arm waving and even taking him to another area, he kept going back to the truck.

Grabbing boxes, the cool box containing our drinks and food, even the truck cover, nothing was safe! Eventually, one of us had to stand guard the whole time! A logical thing to have done would have been to put a head collar on him and tie him up somewhere, but as he had us all in fits of laughter, we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it.

He actually managed to train us - 'keep scratching my neck and bottom and I promise I'll leave things alone'! We'd love to take him home with us but nothing would be safe. Perhaps we should just walk in the field next year rather than drive?

An irresistable nuisance

A PERSONAL PERFORMANCE

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.

This year, she brought two colleagues with her, Franz and Ida. Eighteen-year-old Ida is a tennis coach who also plays the ukulele (a small type of violin) and sings. When Ida went up to see the donkeys, she asked if she could sing them a song and play her instrument, which we said she could even though we didn't know what the donkeys would think!

Well they loved it! Chloe and Socrates in particular, really enjoyed the music and Hercules came out of the barn especially to get close.

It's a well known fact that many animals like the sound of certain music and ours certainly proved it! Thank you Ida and thank you Renata for introducing us to Ida.

Watch the video here https://youtu.be/t_W66qheDo8

A Personal Performance

AN UNEXPECTED FRIENDSHIP

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.

Harry too was a loner and could often be a little nervous of everything and everyone. We all felt a bit sorry for both of them and as Harry was getting older, we moved him into the Special Needs group. Amazingly, both donkeys seemed to sense they couldn't see properly and quickly become good friends.

Their whole personalities have changed too and both donkeys seem more confident, coming up to us for cuddles and scratches and the cheeky side of George is really coming out!

Due to their eyesight issues, neither donkey is very active. Consequently, we're always having to keep any eye on their weight although they're often seen side by side at the feed trough doing their favourite hobby - eating! It's lovely to see the two soul mates enjoying each other's company and being so happy.

George & Harry

BEFORE AND AFTER

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.

While we were doing the monthly weighing, one of the carers took off her fleece jacket and put it on the feed trough next to the weigh scales. We'd already weighed Yiannis (who is so confident about this now) when suddenly we caught him with the jacket in his mouth and just about to run off around the paddock with it! Ironically, we only had to say 'Yiannis, drop that' and he did! He looked just like someone who had been caught with their hand in the sweet jar!

Seen here in the photograph with some of his pals, you'd ever think it was the same donkey who would risk life and limb to get away from humans, what a difference a year makes.

Before & After

NEW DONKEY IN - ASPRO

Meet Aspro, a very elderly ex-working donkey gelding who, as well as no longer being able to work, came to us with some severe behavioural issues.

We'd met Aspro on two Community Programme visits and soon discovered how he really didn't want anyone to go near his feet or teeth. Despite trying everything we could think of, we weren't able to handle him as he was so determined to keep us away that he became dangerous.

His elderly owner had only had him a few years, not realising how difficult the donkey could be and when he asked us to take Aspro in, we thought we would have problems loading him in our trailer. Amazingly, he walked straight on! However, on arrival, he soon reverted to 'normal' and the carers had to be extremely careful when feeding him and cleaning his paddock and stable. Over the years we found that in most situations, when a nervous, frightened donkey joins the others, they soon begin to realise that we're there to help them. Sure enough, and very slowly, Aspro got used to the routine and his behaviour began to improve.

Recently we noticed that he was spending a lot of time with his head through the fence looking at the Special Needs group of donkeys. We wondered if he might be trying to tell us he would prefer to be with a different group and so we moved him. As a result, his behaviour has improved even more and we think he must be grateful for being away from the energetic youngsters!

Although still a little difficult when having his teeth and feet done, he now lets us catch him easily, groom him and was absolutely brilliant when we had to treat a sore wound. Who says you can't teach an old donkey new things?!

New arrival - Aspro

COMMUNITY PROGRAMME EXPANDS

Every year we're able to provide essential hoof care, dental work and health checks to more and more animals, but even we were shocked when we realised how many we reached this year. In fact we had to double check the numbers to make sure we weren't imagining things! Last year we helped 274 donkeys and some mules. This year the total is 291 - but that's not all…

We've also visited two of the commercial trekking centres, treated and checked over 40 animals, and given training to some of their staff.

An important part of the information we have given to the centres, is how to calculate the weight of donkeys and the maximum weight of rider that different sized donkeys should carry. Weight carrying is something that we receive a lot of correspondence about and, although there is no legislation covering this issue, we are now able to provide guidelines.

It was encouraging to learn that the working hours for the donkeys had been reduced and that the terrain that the donkeys travelled was virtually flat. The donkeys that were being used for riding were also in good condition and extremely well behaved.

Next year we're planning on providing more training to other commercial centres and we're hoping that, with your support, you can help us achieve our aim.

Additionally, we're working on giving some talks to other animal welfare organisations next year. These will be aimed at informing people about acceptable ways of keeping donkeys on the island, general donkey information and encouraging people to be 'extra pairs of eyes' for us.

Community Programme Expands

HELP FOR TAXI DONKEYS IN SPAIN

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.

While there continues to be concerns and required improvements, El Refugio have made progress. A signed agreement is in place giving guidelines that the donkey owners must adhere too as well as giving El Refugio access to check the overnight donkey accommodation with their vet. The owners are also under strict instruction not to work any donkey that is lame, has wounds or is unfit to work. The shelter area has improved and owners are instructed to take the donkeys to the water trough regularly throughout the day.

El Refugio are now pushing for improvements to the overnight accommodation and have provided the Town Hall with drawings of suitable buildings of the correct size. There has been a gradual increase in the number of owners who now seek veterinary care for their donkeys, with a noticeable decrease in the number of hoof problems and wounds.

One area that is proving to be incredibly difficult to deal with is persuading the owners to castrate the donkeys. Almost of all of them are stallions and, due to their tendency to be aggressive toward each other, the donkeys need to be tied up very close to the wall on a short rope to prevent them attacking each other. If castrated, the donkeys’ temperament would be calmer and they could then be giving more space.

El Refugio have previously provided donkey care training to many of the owners and, as there has recently been a change of political party in the town, training will also be given to the relevant officials.

Mijas donkey

PARTNERS IN CRIME!

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.

Both donkeys had been feeling rather poorly and for several weeks, their appetite wasn’t what it should be. To encourage them to eat, we let Squeak and Bobby out every morning for a few hours, to eat their food in peace. It also gave them a chance to have a nibble of the bits of rough grass and herbs around the feed barn and the portacabin where the carers have their tea break and a bin of pony nuts are kept. For a while, they were quite happy strolling around, but it didn’t take long for Bobby to realise that the portacabin had a feed bin in it as well as the occasional human and, most importantly, biscuits!

The carers quickly learnt that Bobby and Squeak could get the portacabin door open and walk in, so they put a padlock through the catch on the outside of the door. Admittedly, they didn’t do it up but this kept both donkeys out of the building – for a while! One morning the carers returned to find the portacabin looked like it had been burgled! The feed bin was open, pony nuts were all over the floor, cups and cutlery had been knocked off the worktop and chairs had been tipped over. The biscuits box, which was now on the floor, was completely empty. There hadn’t been a burglary – there’d been a Bobby and Squeak break in! Of course, Bobby and Squeak were nowhere to be seen until they were found happily eating some grass down the other end of the Holding Base!

Obviously, the portacabin is now locked properly, but when its tea break time, Bobby and Squeak know the humans are back. To try to persuade them to keep out, a large wheelie bin was put in the doorway but they soon realised it could easily be knocked over with their noses. Tying up the door with a rope on the inside didn’t work either, as Bobby would just keep playing with the edge of the door until the rope came loose.

It would be simpler, of course, to put the two old boys back in their field, but they look forward to their visits each morning and it is entertaining to be with them. Having worked hard all their lives before coming to us, at their ages, we think they deserve a bit of fun and it’s lovely to see them happy and enjoying themselves. It just shows that you’re never too old to learn new things, even if it causes mischief. We just have to keep a close eye on them and remember to use the padlock!

Bobby & Squeak 1

HELPING US MAKE DONKEYS LIVES BETTER

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.

Frequently, by providing explanations about the general welfare of a donkey to concerned members of the public, helps people learn and understand more about donkey health.

Sometimes there may not be an issue with a donkey, but we’re always grateful for everyone who contacts us, regardless of whether there is definitely a problem or not. Sadly, we can’t always deal with every case but will always do our best whenever we can.

A huge help from you to us is to send photographs (and/or videos) and an exact location of where the donkey is. Although it can be upsetting to see any animal in an awful state, evidence can be crucial and so if you do come across a donkey you think may be in trouble, please help us by sending in the information we need.

Next year we’re hoping to be able to give some talks to other animal welfare organisations about donkey welfare. Not only can basic knowledge about a species enable people to have a better understanding, but it can also help us to have more ‘eyes and ears’ out there. We’re also working on information to put on our website and Facebook explaining how to make an official complaint to the authorities as this can emphasise the need for improvements to animal welfare.

It can be a long, slow process to getting improvements but with your help, it can make a difference. Thank you to those of you who have contacted us over the years and told friends and relatives who we are. By doing so, you’ve helped us help so many donkeys.

Help us make donkey lives better

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