Donkey Sanctuary of Canada receives global sanctuary award for 2023

PUSLINCH – The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, nestled in the Township of Puslinch, was awarded with the prestigious Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) Outstanding Equine Sanctuary Award for 2023.

The award is given to the sanctuary that demonstrates the highest standards of care, sustainability and commitment to education and advocacy for the animals.

“We are thrilled. We have the most extraordinary volunteers and staff, and they’re the ones who have made this possible. It is indeed a great honour,” said the sanctuary’s founder and board chair Sandra Pady.

“The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada was the first equine sanctuary in Canada to receive that accreditation, so it’s a pretty big deal,” said fund development and communication lead at the sanctuary Dale Gellatly.

She added that GFAS has many different categories for awards. 

Even though Canada does not have many equine sanctuaries, there are many others in the United States, Africa and Mexico.

“We’re up against all of them, so it was a pretty big honour,” said Gellatly.

The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is a not-for-profit licensed charity that was founded in 1992 by Pady. 

The property was once a 100-acre working farm with crops and cattle until 1970 when the property was bought. 

The folks who bought it lived in an old farm house which Pady bought along with the land in 1990. The house is now home to the sanctuary’s offices and Pady lives next door.

The sanctuary is now 200-acres and is home to 89 donkeys and 13 mules.

“[Donkeys, mules and hinnies] come for various reasons,” said Gellatly.

“There are certainly situations of neglect and abuse, and very often it’s people who are no longer able to care for them for whatever reason,” she added.

Gellatly told the Advertiser that donkeys typically live for 30 to 40 years. She said that many times when people get a donkey and some years go by, they can no longer care for them.

Often times too, donkeys will have an illness that owners cannot manage. 

“This is always their forever home,” she said.

To visit the sanctuary, book a tour or purchase a ticket for its “open day” at

You can also donate to the sanctuary or sponsor a donkey by visiting

Donkey facts

Here are some interesting facts about donkeys:

– donkeys come in three different sizes: minis, standards and mammoths; 

there are also different names for different types of donkeys. Female donkeys are called jennies and male donkeys are called geldings; and

– mules are a cross between a donkey and a horse. A mule is the result of a donkey stallion mating with a female horse. A horse stallion mating with a jenny result in a hinny;

– donkeys sleep standing up.