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A donkey refuge in the Shuswap is expanding so they can continue caring for the senior donkeys in their care.
“This year we are launching the Senior Barn & Infirmary Expansion Project. It is the next necessary step to maintaining a high level of care for the donkeys who need it the most – seniors,” says Shirley Mainpriz, founder of the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge near Chase.
“We are going to expand our senior housing by 2,000 square feet, adding large stalls to help us continuously monitor our most vulnerable donkeys better, and expand the infirmary interior to accommodate more donkeys.”
Mainpriz says the average age of donkeys in their care is about 29 and many have developed chronic health conditions that require a lot of work to be managed and treated.
Mainpriz explains that they have a 30-year-old donkey named Socrates who was recently diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease, which causes weight loss and hoof damage, and has a heart murmur.
Staff spend up to two hours each day providing Socrates with specialized care.
Additionally, any animals that require surgery usually have to be loaded up and taken into Kamloops for treatment. Afterwards, they stay there for three to five days to recover.
With their small infirmary, a vet can attend the refuge and the senior animals are able to recover at home.
However, there is only one stall on site. The expansion will ensure more animals can be cared for and kept comfortable as they get older.
Mainprize credits two years with no visitors during Covid with the chance to concentrate on developing more infrastructure on the farm for herd health care.
“We are grateful to have received a partial grant from the Margaret Haney Fund for Animal Welfare, held at the Vancouver Foundation & awarded by the Shuswap Community Foundation. And the rest? Right now we are working on raising it,” explains Mainprize.
For information about fund raising efforts, click here.