Living with donkeys in Crete

A week or two ago I went to see a lady called Suzanne and her partner Alistair who live in the village of Anatoli some fifteen minutes above Ierapetra. They are both British and have lived in Crete for some years but they are unique. They are accumulating donkeys.

Suzanne walking with donkeys

Here is Suzanne with one of her rapidly growing number of donkeys. So far they have twelve or so. To me, that is a lot of donkeys. So how did this come about, I asked Suzanne. “After witnessing a donkey being left out in the sun to die we realised that we must start a home for unwanted donkeys so that their owners do not have to kill the donkeys when they are no longer of use to them.”

Donkeys feeding

But there is a lot behind this simple statement. The donkeys have to be fed daily and there must always be one of them there to make sure that the donkeys are well and happy. Many of them come with injuries, teeth problems, hoof problems and so on, so a vet and farrier has to be within contact. There has to be stables for the donkeys at night, grass or bales of hay or sacks of pellets for the donkeys to eat. This can be sheer hard work. It can also be expensive.

One of the family

We do the work, says Suzanne, and we try to raise some money through our website but we also get many people who come to visit the donkeys and we can take children on rides and picnics and they really love the animals. We can always be contacted at the website.

Suzanne scratching ears

It is a very large commitment you have made, I told her. I know, she said, but the truth is that we love the donkeys. I could see why, they are really lovely animals.