The Sanctuary Residents
As at November 2023, the sanctuary in Israel is home to 51 donkeys and 2 horses, most of them rescued in Israel or the Palestinian West Bank from appalling circumstances, abuse or because they were abandoned, plus 10 rescued cats and 3 rescued dogs. Here, we would like to introduce you to many of the equine residents and their stories.
One of our loyal supporters, Biggi, who has been out to volunteer at the sanctuary on many occasions, has kindly put together a printable booklet containing most of the sanctuary's donkey residents as of July 2020. All you need is Acrobat Reader. The file size is approx 9MB.
Click on the relevant picture to see a short story about the donkey
Once open, you can scroll through the gallery by using the arrows to the right and left of each picture
Elsa was found wandering around the streets in an industrial area in the town of Hadera. Fortunately, she was taken in by a kind man who called us for help. Elsa had a little sign tied around her neck with a phone number and a warning not to touch her as she bites... She doesn't. She's a gentle little soul. We did call the number over the course of a few days but nobody ever answered.
Lily was badly abused by young boys and was very timid. It's likely that she has only ever experienced beatings and rough handling, no gentle hand to stroke her or soft words in her velvet ears. For that reason it took her a little more time to accept and understand that nobody would hurt her ever again. And that she is safe and that her every need will be provided for.
When Erika was rescued from the Palestinian city of Tulkarem, she wasn't even a year old, but was being brutally beaten and ridden by young boys. Thankfully her wounds weren't too deep and she healed very quickly. Perhaps because she was rescued so young and hadn't yet endured a lifetime of abuse, she very quickly showed trust and appreciation towards her rescuers and now lives a content life at the sanctuary.
Siggi was seen by one of the border patrol army units standing harnessed to a cart, for two days under the boiling sun without water. They unhitched her harness and cart and led her away. Her feet were a bit overgrown and she had a wounded nose but thankfully it was just superficial, from chafing, nothing deep. Lucy cleaned it and applied cream and it has beautifully healed since. Siggi was about 6 or 7 years old and pregnant when she was rescued and later gave birth to her beautiful foal John.
Bilbo's mother Crystal was pregnant when she came to the sanctuary with her daughter Bella in 2016. Crystal and Bella were inseparable so lucky Bilbo had two doting mummies until, sadly, Crystal passed away unexpectedly in early 2020. Bilbo has grown into a confident young donkey.
David and Barbara were confiscated from a Jewish settlement by the authorties after complaints of 'two donkeys running the streets and boys riding and mercilessly beating them', but the boys found where the donkeys were kept over night, broke in and took them back. A wonderful teacher named Daniel and his little group of animal protection warrior boys, however, noticed this and took the donkeys back and kept them safely until Lucy and her team arrived to take the donkeys to the sanctuary.
Bear's owner was arrested by Israel Border Police, and Bear was then passed by the police to an army outpost where the soldiers found themselves stuck with a donkey they didn't know what to do with. We were called to the rescue and took Bear back to our little sanctuary. He is a beautiful soul. He's in a good condition and is so friendly. He sort of resembles a big brown bear so we decided to name him 'Bear Grylls' after the British Adventurer and TV presenter.
Cicely belonged to a group of Bedouin children who abused her terribly. Two or three riding her at a time, beating her relentlessly on her wounds with a big, thick piece of wood. She was then abandoned and left alone in a corner of a field in an arab village. She was so afraid that hunger finally enabled her to be rescued. She became very close friends with Joan and the two are inseparable. Cicely today looks healthy and well, though her scars are a distant reminder of her tough life.
Zachariah was found in the Golan Heights area of Israel in April 2017. We know nothing about his history and for all we know he could even have somehow made his way across the border from Syria. He had both eyes gouged out in an act of unspeakable cruelty and has what look like old stab wounds on either side of his neck. It has taken months and months of patience and care, as, understandably, he was terrified of people at first. But now he enjoys cuddles from Lucy - a massive step forward!