Donkey Sanctuary to open medical facility next week

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The Donkey Sanctuary cares for dozens of four-legged residents and is also a popular tourist attraction (Photo by Samantha Simon)
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By Samantha Simon
[email protected]

The Donkey Sanctuary is preparing to open its new equine medical suite next week, with Bruno, a resident donkey with a hernia, being patient number one.

The much-needed facility is a project the Humane Society, which runs the sanctuary, has been working to raise funds to complete since 2022, with a previous volunteer even setting up a GoFundMe page (https://gofund.me/af595a0d) to assist in reaching their goal of US$40,000.

At the time of writing, they were able to raise US$28,630 via the GoFundMe, with additional funding coming from local donors who supported the project.

In collaboration with a local builder, a surgical suite was built specifically for equine procedures, which will enable animals at the sanctuary to be treated on site, especially new donkeys who may arrive with injuries due to abuse or improper handling, while reducing the risk of infection or further injury.

They constructed a small building measuring 20ft by 25ft which will be fitted with epoxy floors, as well as two interior stables for post-op recovery.

They are also making a substitute equine surgical bed from a donated hotel bed that will be covered with a waterproof material to serve in the interim, as a real equine surgical bed can cost upwards of US$8,000.

The Donkey Sanctuary houses donkeys from around Antigua who have been abandoned, injured or are in need of special support, such as one former resident, Stevie, a blind donkey who lived the remaining years of his life in the sanctuary’s care before passing from old age. Stevie’s enclosure remains empty to honour his memory.

The sanctuary also cares for a number of foals, some of which were born on site as well as a goat that was also born there, which has become known for believing he is one of the donkeys due to his adopted behaviour from growing up with the herd.

Fundraising efforts remain underway, with costs for the care of the animals being ever present as well as continued work on the equine medical suite.

Animal lovers can ‘adopt a donkey’ for the cost of EC$80 a year or become a member for EC$40 annually. Lifetime membership costs EC$480 and allows one to have a voice in the decisions of the Humane Society.

The organisation also offers spay and neuter and microchipping services and has cats and dogs available for adoption for a fee, which includes treatment for fleas and ticks, vaccinations and spaying/neutering.

The sanctuary also welcomes persons who are willing to volunteer their time to assist with care and maintenance.

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