ONCE again the Refúgio dos Burros (Donkey Sanctuary) will have a stand at the Fatacil fair in Lagoa to divulge their work and receive donations from the public. Run by volunteers from 6pm to 1am from August 15 to 24, it is an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the Sanctuary’s work and to pet a donkey! Founded 25 years ago, the Sanctuary has rescued, rehabilitated and re-homed thousands of donkeys, dogs and cats.
In June this year, due to the amazing donations from the public and fundraising events, the Sanctuary was able to buy the land where it is based, thereby guaranteeing a permanent home for all the older animals who will never be adopted due to their age or medical conditions. Run entirely on donations and from funds raised in their three charity shops in Lagoa, Carvoeiro and Ferragudo, the Sanctuary is unfortunately permanently full.
Volunteers are constantly contacted about animals being abandoned, maltreated or in need of medical care. It is never ending but is also very rewarding when stories have a happy ending! Last year at the Fatacil fair, volunteers from the Sanctuary saw a young female dog with a severely damaged front paw that was a flattened mass with all the toe bones broken off and protruding. It took several days but eventually she was caught and named Bo Peep. Sadly Bo had to have her leg amputated.
Usually vets remove the whole leg rather than just the paw to avoid the spread of infection and because a stump is no use to an animal. It is easier for them to learn to walk on three legs. Bo Peep remained at the Sanctuary and became a friendly and fun dog running around just like her four-legged friends. Many visitors liked her but it takes a special family to choose a three-legged dog. Almost a year after she was rescued, Bo Peep has finally been homed to a young family in Germany who already have a three-legged dog rescued from Thailand.
Passports and vaccinations were updated and on July 20 Bo and her friend Hilda were taken to Faro airport to fly to their new homes. Bo Peep has settled in well and is just one of the Sanctuary success stories. Many dogs and cats are rehomed in Germany by associations that work closely with the Donkey Sanctuary so that good homes can be guaranteed. Thanks must go to Sandra Wieser for her commendable work in finding homes for Algarvean abandoned animals.
The Donkey Sanctuary is so much more than a rescue centre as it also provides medical care to the Gypsy community’s animals and organises the sterilisation of street animals. They currently have living at the Sanctuary in Estombar: 11 horses/donkeys, 102 dogs, 40 cats, three pigs, three sheep, four chickens and one turkey! Without the public’s support, none of their work would be possible. Visit their stand at Fatacil and find out how you too can help. Also find Refugio dos Burros on Facebook.
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Isobel Costa works full time and living on a farm with many animals, her family is always involved in unusual life stories!
In her spare time she enjoys writing, photography and family tree research.