May 8th is World Donkey Day, but there are places where these farm animals are celebrated every day: I work for Il Rifugio degli Asinelli, the Italian Donkey Sanctuary, a charity established in 1969, based in the UK but working Worldwide to protect donkeys, raise more awareness and help people to understand how gorgeous these often misunderstood creatures are!
135 donkeys and mules (a mix between dad donkey and mum horse) live at our animal rescue center, most of them saved after mistreatments and neglect. Here at Sala Biellese, in Northern Italy, we help their body and souls recover: the young, healthy ones can find a new home (always in pair, because donkeys have strong bonds and often a best friend for life!), while the "donkey grannies" or the ones with ailments have the warranty of a safe place where they can spend the rest of their lives.
As soon as I have some spare time, I go outside with my camera and take pet portraits, to share the beauty of these cute animals.
All my "donkey models" have overcome tough times: they are fighters and sometimes survivors. And even if in some cases the humans they had met before being rescued by our charity revealed the worst of mankind, these cute donkeys teach the lesson of forgiveness and show us that hard lives must not harden our hearts.
Donkeys are clever, curious, playful, friendly, sometimes naughty... and each of these beautiful animals is unique. Take a look at the beautiful photos of these gorgeous long-eared girls and boys living at Il Rifugio, I'm sure you'll fall in love with them as I do every day!