That’ll do donkey, that’ll do
TONGALA Donkey Shelter is hosting an open day on Sunday and everyone is encouraged to check out the versatile creatures.
Volunteer Jess Smeaton said the donkey was a popular animal around the world, despite negative connotations attached to its name.
‘‘The donkey is a great companion and a hard worker,’’ she said.
‘‘Donkeys make great pets but they can do anything a horse can.
‘‘They are good at pulling carts, good for stock protection and they are lovely companions, but they will work if you want them to.’’
The not-for-profit shelter rescues and provides a home for abandoned, injured and surrendered donkeys and will host its second annual open day on Sunday at its Tongala farm, home to about 200 donkeys.
Established almost 20 years ago by May Dodd, the shelter has rescued and provided new homes to hundreds of donkeys.
Ms Smeaton said the shelter not only adopted injured or unhealthy donkeys but also healthy ones who have nowhere to go.
‘‘We get donkeys from all over the country but lately a lot have come from the Echuca saleyard.
‘‘Some people just move into new properties and donkeys have been left behind . . . so some (donkeys) come here to retire.’’
Initially established in Diamond Creek, the Donkey Shelter was run on 4ha but it has expanded to its current 123ha home in Tongala, leaving the donkeys with much more room.
Ms Smeaton and founder Dr Dodd run the shelter together and rely on the money from public donations and donkey sponsorship to care for the animals.
The Donkey Shelter is the only specialist donkey rescue in Victoria and one of only a few in Australia. ■ Tongala Donkey Shelter’s open day is on from 11am to 3pm at 1949 Matheson Rd, Tongala. Entry is $20 a car.
Jess Smeaton from Donkey Shelter Tongala invites everyone to come and hug some donkeys at the shelter’s open day on Sunday.