Sampson and Cotton, donkey ambassadors for the mammoth herd, came to the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge from Alberta after being abandoned in a field. (Shirley Mainprize photo)

Sampson and Cotton, donkey ambassadors for the mammoth herd, came to the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge from Alberta after being abandoned in a field. (Shirley Mainprize photo)

Shuswap donkey refuge closed to the public due to COVID-19

Online fundraising efforts especially important with spring fundraiser cancelled

The donkeys still have a safe place to live, but the public are being asked to stay away from the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Tuesday, March 24 press release from the refuge states they are closed to the public to keep the work environment for their staff free of the virus while ensuring the donkeys receive care.

While the refuge is ordinarily closed to the public until May anyway, the release noted there had been some unexpected drop-ins already this year despite virus concerns.

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Life at the refuge is proceeding as normal with veterinarian visits going on as scheduled and deliveries of hay, shavings and pharmaceuticals happening as normal.

The refuge made the decision to cancel or postpone all their spring events.

“We know that the donkeys will miss having the smiling faces of visitors to greet them as well,” the release reads.

Also missed will be the fundraising dollars which come from visitors to the refuge and spring events. One of the cancelled events is annual Spring With the Donkeys fundraiser which typically happens on Mother’s Day and includes the sale of lily plants. In an effort to keep the funds flowing and the donkeys fed, the lily bulbs are being sold on the refuge’s web store alongside clothing and other merchandise at at turtlevalleydonkeyrefuge.com.

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Refuge staff pledged to stay in touch with donors and supporters, and to continue filling their Facebook page with pictures and videos of the donkeys enjoying the spring weather.

“If there is a lesson we have learned from the donkeys here at the refuge, it is to persevere through difficult times and to reach out to your ‘herd’ of friends to help cope with change,” states the release.

“On the farm every evening, you can hear the donkeys from one side of the property call out to the donkeys on the other — it is a song of solidarity and comfort.”



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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