Rob Miller welcomes visitors to a fundraiser Saturday at the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge

Rob Miller welcomes visitors to a fundraiser Saturday at the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge

Donkeys find a safe haven at refuge

Turtle Valley

The Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge is situated on 80 acres of serene land next to Phillips Lake.

Living at the refuge are 20 donkeys  that were  all seeking a safe and secure home when they arrived. Some of the donkeys have experienced abuse and neglect and some of the donkeys just needed a permanent home because their owners were unable to care for them any longer.

Donkeys have a long life span and can live to be more than 40 years of age which increases their chances of being bounced from home to home or being abused and neglected. Donkeys are a very misunderstood animal throughout the world and because they can suffer from the lack of  human respect they are easily forgotten and abused.

Rob Miller and Shirley Mainpize had been looking after donkeys for more than 12 years when they decided to open the refuge to the public in 2009. They are the founding directors of the Refuge Society which is currently awaiting registration of their charity status. Miller and Mainpize have been overwhelmed by the increasing need for the donkey refuge and as a result they are in the middle of their third expansion for the donkeys arriving in June and in the future.

The Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge is the only sanctuary in Western Canada that provides a permanent home for the donkeys, with the country’s only other sanctuary in Guelph, Ont.

To help raise the necessary funds for the cost of care, feed, farrier and veterinary expenses, the refuge is hosting a Donkey Day Celebration Saturday at the farm. The fundraising event gives the public a chance to meet and  learn about the donkeys, enjoy the many different country displays, the beauty of the Turtle Valley and also to listen to the  live country and bluegrass music that will be playing all day.  Everyone is welcome to join in on the family fun day at the farm. Admission is by donation.

The Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge is at 1125 Ptarmigan Rd. in Chase. From the Trans-Canada Highway, turn off highway between Sorrento and Chase at the Squilax Bridge/Adams Lake exit. Do not go over the bridge but turn left on to Squilax/Turtle Valley Road. Follow the road up a long hill until you come to a junction. Turn left on to Skimikin Road, and follow until you come to Phillips Lake (there are two big yellow barns at this junction). The road veers left and you go straight on to Ptarmigan Road. Refuge is the third farm on the right and Phillips Lake is on the left. For more information, call 250-679-2778.