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Shuswap refuge nets over $80,000 for ongoing care of donkeys

Fundraising for Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge exceeds goal
Rooster, left, and his fellow refugees at the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge enjoy the warmth of a heated barn thanks to generous donors and Sakura’s Hope Foundation raising over $80,000 for their winter care. (Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge photo)

With help from its generous supporters, the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge has been able to cover its asses.

The organization had a fundraising target of $80,000 for animal care and comfort this winter but, with Sakura’s Hope Foundation providing $30,000 in matching funds, the refuge’s supporters exceeded that with $86,608.

Located near Chase, refuge founders Shirley Mainprize and her husband Rob Miller have been providing a safe, secure home for neglected, abused and unwanted donkeys for more than 25 years, and currently houses over 100 in permanent care, with foster farms also providing support. While the facility is maintained year-round, care for the donkeys is a lot easier in the hot summers, whereas their winter care is a whole other animal as they require more attention – and additional funding.

“Winter is especially difficult for donkeys because they are native to Africa and have never really adapted to the snow and low temperatures in Canada,” Mainprize said in a media release, adding that many of their animals are senior, or have health issues. “Many of them require specialized daily care to ensure they are living a healthy and happy life.”

In the winter, that includes moving the older, frail donkeys into heated barns, blanketing animals that may need extra comfort, making warm mash with extra nutrients to help stabilize weight, providing exercise and play, as well as a veterinary budget for any issues related to cold exposure or sudden temperature changes.

“Due to the generosity of Sakura’s Hope Foundation and all our dedicated supporters who donated to help with the Donkey Care & Comfort Fund, we are able to cover our heating costs for the barn, and the call out cost when we have needed a vet,” Mainprize added in the release. “These funds have made sure we can keep our focus on preventative care, and that we also have space and funds available for emergency rescue care this winter.”

To learn more about, or donate to, the refuge, visit their website at, or call Mainprize at 250-679-2778. The refuge and its donkey ambassadors will reopen to visitors this spring.

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About the Author: Heather Black

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