Building a brighter future for donkeys worldwide

A tale of two donkeys

This is the tale of two donkeys - Bullo and Abeba; two animals leading similar lives in Ethiopia, but whose fates were very different. Their stories, though heart rending at times, show just how much your support for The Donkey Sanctuary's work overseas transforms the lives of suffering animals, and of the people who depend on them for their own survival.

Please read on to hear two different stories about how your support is transforming lives.


Tying to help donkeys like Abeba

Lying on the floor with her head laid gently on an old hessian sack, Abeba, named by her owner after the Ethiopian word for flower, was fighting for her life. Brought to our clinic in Debre Zeit by her owner, she had suffered a terrible ordeal. The day before, she had gone into labour. But when complications developed, her owner, in a desperate attempt to help her, had tried to deliver the foal himself by pulling it from her body. Tragically, his attempts to help only made things worse. The foal was still-born, and worse still, Abeba was now in grave danger too, as the act of removing her foal had caused serious internal damage.

But Abeba and her devastated owner were not alone.

In their hour of need, two Donkey Sanctuary vets and our animal health assistant were there to offer vital comfort and care. As the exhausted donkey lay on the ground, barely moving and drawing short, sharp breaths, they spoke to her softly, gently stroking her face as they administered painkilling injections and tried to insert a drip. Sadly, despite all their efforts poor Abeba was slipping away. Eventually the vets and her owner were forced to make a heartbreaking decision. She had suffered enough, and it was time to put her to sleep.

Abeba's story is a sad one, but even though she was gone, and her owner had lost his companion and workmate, both he and the vets could only be thankful that at the end Abeba had not been alone, and that because of our intervention, her last few hours were pain-free and filled with love.


Helping donkeys like Bullo

In Remeda, a small, remote farming village in southern Ethiopia, a donkey named Bullo was a vital part of family life for Woyessa, his wife and their five children. They relied on Bullo for everything; from carrying their daily water, to their livelihood itself, as without him they could not make the weekly 25 kilometre trip to the market where Woyessa sells timber to buy food for his family.

Woyessa understood that without Bullo, he and his family would struggle to survive, and looking around him he saw other families in the same position. Many donkeys were forced to work endlessly without rest, shade or water. Others were beaten and abused, suffering festering wounds on their backs due to heavy loads and uncomfortable harnesses.

When Woyessa visited The Donkey Sanctuary mobile veterinary clinic on one of its visits to a nearby town, he watched the treatments they gave and listened to their advice carefully. Heeding their advice he soon witnessed for himself the long term benefits of providing Bullo with good access to food, rest, shelter and water, as well as monitoring the loads his donkey carried each day.

It was the start of a strong, developing relationship between Woyessa and The Donkey Sanctuary, a relationship that was to have dramatic consequences.

Soon Woyessa became so passionate about donkey welfare that he became The Donkey Sanctuary's voluntary donkey welfare club leader in his village; home to no less than 180 working donkeys! Now Woyessa not only hosts the Sanctuary's veterinary clinics at his home, but he also provides essential training to other donkey owners. He provides information about how to identify illness and disease, offering advice on simple treatments to improve the health of their donkeys as well as demonstrating how to make improvements to pack saddles and harnesses to alleviate pressure sores.

Woyessa is a remarkable ambassador for The Donkey Sanctuary and his passion has already made a great impact on the health and well-being of the donkeys within his village. By improving the lives of the donkeys around him, he has also made life better for everyone in his community as donkeys and humans work side by side together.

Our work has only just begun

With your help, every day we meet and help donkeys like Bullo and Abeba. Some of those days, like the one on which we lost Abeba, are very hard to bear. Others, when we meet people like Woyessa and his donkey Bullo, are filled with joy. But whatever happens, day after day we get up and we go back, our passion and commitment undiminished. We can't thank you enough for giving us the funds that make this possible.

With over 3.4 million donkeys and mules in Ethiopia alone and projects in 28 countries worldwide, our work has only just begun. Please help us to do more, by making a donation.

Please don't forget that we are totally dependent on the generosity of our supporters to further our vital work. Every single €1 received will help us to provide care and compassion to more and more donkeys. We understand that sometimes it is not easy to make donations. Another way to help that can make a great difference is to consider leaving the charity something in your Will, although I hope this will not be for many years to come. We remember all those who remember us this way with an inscription on our Memory Wall and a special service at our annual Memorial Day in October.

How you can help us

Here are some examples of how your donation could be used to improve the lives of donkeys worldwide.

  • Healthy hooves for a €6 donation
    Simple tools such as hoof picks are highly effective in helping to keep a donkey's hooves clean, healthy and infection free. Our mobile teams provide donkey owners with hoof picks together with guidance on how to use them. Your donation could help us to provide these hoof picks.
  • Pain relief for a €18 donation
  • Pain relief injections are often administered by our vets to treat donkeys in great pain and to ease their suffering. Administering pain relief via injection is quick and effective and essential to the well-being of these donkeys as the discomfort caused by excruciatingly painful conditions can often have life threatening implications. Your donation could help towards the cost of providing these injections.
  • Harness comfort for a €25 donation
    Hard working donkeys overseas often suffer from painful harness wounds as a result of carrying heavy carts. Our mobile teams work with donkey owners to prevent these sores from developing. Together, we make simple but highly effective changes to harnessing to prevent these pressure sores from developing. Your donation could help us deliver these important training workshops.
  • Health and well-being for a €31 donation
    Our mobile teams overseas provide veterinary care, farriery and welfare advice and reach hundreds of thousands of donkeys every year. Our teams need to be well stocked with medicines and veterinary supplies to treat the wide range of conditions seen by our vets. Your donation could help towards the purchase of these essential supplies to help a donkey back on the road to recovery.

How to make a donation

Online payment

To make an online donation, please click on the donation button on the righthand side which will direct you to our PayPal donation account.

Banker's order

To make a regular gift, please download and complete our banker's order form. This is particularly helpful to us as it ensures we have the resources available to cope with the sudden influxes of donkeys that sadly we are now seeing all too often.

Donations by cheque

If you prefer to make a donation by cheque, please make your cheque payable to "The Donkey Sanctuary" and send to:

The Donkey Sanctuary
(Bullo and Abeba Appeal)
Co Cork

Donations by credit card

Alternatively, if you prefer to make a donation by credit card, please telephone +353 (0) 022 48398.

Thank you for your continued kindness.
We simply could not continue to be there for donkeys
in distress without your valuable support.