That’ll do don­key, that’ll do

Kyabram Free Press - - NEWS -

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.

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