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BC Interior donkey refuge now welcoming visitors for the summer

A donkey sanctuary in the Shuswap is now welcoming visitors for the summer season.

The Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge is now open for visits on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm.

People can stop by 7877 Skimikin Rd. in Chase and visit over 100 donkeys and mules who live at the refuge until Sept. 1.

Visitors can visit with the donkeys, learn about their care, enjoy a walk around the grounds and barns and shop in the Donkey Shoppe before leaving.

Shirley Mainprize and her husband Rob Miller have been rescuing donkeys in Western Canada for over 25 years and opened the refuge in 2011.

“With the help of a small staff year-round, summer volunteers, and our wonderful donors & supporters, the Refuge is able to continue to rehabilitate and care for these special equines,” says Mainprize in a news release.

“Many people like to bring a picnic lunch with them or purchase drinks, snacks or ice-cream treats from the Shoppe.”

Admission for adults (ages 19-54) is $15, seniors (55+) and youths (5-18) is $12, and children age 4 & under are free.

Mainprize notes that while the charity does receive occasional small grants, over 90% of the annual budget is supported by donations, donkey sponsorships, memberships, shop sales, and visitor admission.

“When you visit us, you are supporting the donkeys and their care,” she says.

The refuge has recently upgraded their visitor washrooms and all areas are wheelchair accessible.

In addition to being open to visitors for the summer, the refuge is also raising funds ​for their Donkey Care & Comfort Fund through a summer raffle.

According to the news release, the raffle supports the daily operations and care of the donkeys including daily cleaning of all paddocks and barns, medical care for senior and high needs donkeys, hay, feed, supplements, soft shavings as bedding for winter, and many other small items that are required for daily care of the donkeys and mules.

Tickets for the raffle can be purchased at the Donkey Shoppe when you visit and are $2 for one or $5 for three, the release says.

Prizes include a painting by local Shuswap artist Valerie Rogers (Value $395), a portable bbq & Cuisinart knife set (value $125), and a large handmade birdhouse (value $100).

The raffle will be drawn on Sept. 1 at the refuge at 3 pm.



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