Thursday 21 March 2019

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A fond farewell to Cork and the Donkey Sanctuary

Wednesday, 13th February, 2019 5:06pm

It’s been nearly a year since my husband and I ran away from home, leaving both the turbulent politics and the sunny beaches of our beloved California in favour of the rich countryside and friendly people of Ireland.

As fate would have it, the beautiful home we found to rent was in the lovely town of Liscarroll where we immediately found welcoming friends and a peaceful, comfortable life.

Postmistress Joan told us of the Social Satellite group and soon we were listening to Gerry’s bingo call, and following fearless leader Maryanne on their wonderful outings, and that’s not to mention Joan’s apple tart, the best we’ve ever had.

Then one day I saw an advert for a teddy bear picnic soon to be held at what we had been hearing about as a wonderous place, the Donkey Sanctuary.

We both volunteered to help out on the day and met the tireless force that is Breda, who soon had me on the schedule as a volunteer two days a week.

It was the start of a relationship that I will never forget. Eugene taught the class that made me fall in love with these gentle and trusting animals, and Tim D. with his unique sense of humour, showed me all the ropes I needed to know to feel comfortable in those steel toed shoes.

Spending time with the groomers, Mary, Ella, Brian and Sinead, some of whom have been volunteering their time for over 10 years, was an experience I will never forget.

Being up close and personal with the donkeys, brushing and cuddling them, getting to know their personalities and their characters, has been a gift I would never in my life have expected to receive.

Pretty soon my husband began volunteering in the offices helping out with data entry and computer work. The gals in the office and in donkey welfare took him under their wings and made him feel right at home.

My favourite days were those I spent in the Visitors’ Centre working with my wonderful new friend, Cait. What a delight she is and anyone visiting the sanctuary will be lucky to meet her.

We all know what a brilliant summer we had and it brought so many diverse and interesting people to the sanctuary.

I met folks from all over the world which made the time I spent there all the more special.

Now it is time to return to the States and the coming of our first grandchild. We will always remember and be so grateful to the folks here who give their time and efforts toward helping these amazing animals find a safe and caring place to live.

It is such great work and we feel so lucky to have been a small part of it. Thank you so much!

The Donkey Sanctuary is based in Liscarroll near Mallow. The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland are open since 1987 and have over 1,800 donkeys and mules in their care today.

Knockardbane Farm is an open farm and it is home to 130 donkeys and mules. People can adopt a donkey or donate to the Donkey Sanctuary. For more details, see www.thedonkeysanctuary.ie/donate. Donations received within Ireland are used entirely to fund the work of The Donkey Sanctuary within Ireland.

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