Last Saturday, I volunteered for the first time at the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada in Guelph, Ontario. My cousin and I decided to spend a day on the farm for the Sanctuary's Fall Volunteer Day to help out this wonderful organization. I've donated and visited there in the past, but this was my first time providing any help in the form of physical labor.
Their Fall (and Spring) Volunteer Days invite anyone to come and help out, whereas if you'd like to be a regular volunteer, you have to go through some training. I'm thinking of becoming a regular volunteer in the Spring!
We helped out with many various chores around the farm. It is a large farm with barns, visitor areas, a pond and trails through the forest that need to be maintained. It is difficult for the owners and regular volunteers to do these chores as they are regularly tending to the care of the donkeys. My cousin and I started out with spreading out grass seed in areas where visitors will spend time, and pulling weeds from around the paths.Of course, between doing the yard work, we couldn't resist spending some time with the citizens of the farm - the donkeys!
If you've never heard of the Donkey Sanctuary before, this is a little bit about the charity from their website:
Since 1992, The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada has been a refuge for donkeys, mules and hinnies who have been neglected or abused, or who can no longer be cared for by their owners. The Sanctuary rescues the donkey with hooves so long it lives in constant pain and cannot walk. It saves a terrified mule shivering in a pen in a slaughterhouse. It offers a home to a much-loved donkey whose aging owners can no longer provide adequte care. At the Sanctuary, the animals are provided a welcome and often life-saving peaceful haven after years of suffering and neglect.
Each donkey has his or her own bio up on the website, so you can read more about each individual's story. The farm is also home to goats and sheep!
After pulling weeds and spreading out grass seed (and enjoying some lunch), we helped in the forested area with loading dead tree branches and sticks into a trailer. As a group, we worked together to clear out four truckloads full! This will help visitors be able to explore the trails more easily and was necessary for regular maintenance of the area.
The best part of the day was being able to spend time with the animals! It was very rewarding to help out at such a wonderful sanctuary for the animals! I'm so happy that places like this exist. If you are interested in volunteering, they are always looking for extra help - please visit their website!