HeeHaws Vet

We’ve been very fortunate at HeeHaws to have such knowledgeable, sympathetic, and kind vets. Quite recently Melanie was taken on as the dedicated equine vet for her practice and she is no exception.

The donkeys love her and she has a true understanding of them which is quite unique to find. We are lucky to have such a wonderful vet who seems to go the extra mile. She certainly saved our lovely Violet recently, for which we will always be grateful. ❤️ 


I just adore my Monday mornings at HeeHaws! It’s such a great start to my week !! ❤️ 


Hi, my name is Shirley. I have been living in France for 12 months and love volunteering at HeeHaws. I have ridden horses for most of my life, but love all animals large and small. ❤️


Last year I came to Heehaws with a friend, to meet Carina and the wonderful donkeys.

Twelve months later, I’m still here!

It’s great to be a small part of the Heehaws family, and to see the dedication and hard work by Carina and all the volunteers who rescue and love these beautiful creatures back to health. ❤️


We left the UK and began our French adventure almost 10 years ago. First, we lived in Fonroque and then moved to Thenac, which is where we are now.  We wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.  I started volunteering around 2 years ago and loved it from day one!  I count myself very lucky to have found Hee Haws and to have become a volunteer.  There is nowhere else quite like it! ❤️ 


It’s such a wonderful start to our week coming to Heehaws. We love helping to care for the donkeys on a Monday morning! We appreciate everything that Carina and HeeHaws are striving to achieve. These animals really need all the help they can get and being a  part of the team is extremely rewarding for us!  ❤️


My Name is Jo. I have lived in France for nearly 3 years now with my husband and our daft, bouncy boxer dog called Wilf, 2 donkeys Eric & Ernie, and a rescue pony called Lettie!! I  first became aware of HeeHaws through my estate agent while we were looking for our house. She mentioned Carina and the great work that goes on through the charity. Before leaving the UK, I worked as a registered veterinary nurse for 30 years, mainly in a small animal practice working with dogs, cats,  small furries, birds, and reptiles. My first job was at a mixed practice where I assisted with much of the equine work, helping with colt castrations amongst other things.

My first donkey, Connor, was an ex-Blackpool beach donkey. He was a very special donkey and a wonderful companion to my Lusitania horse. I was heartbroken when I lost my horse to colic. Not long after, Connor became very ill and he had to be put to sleep too. 

Then along came my two cheeky boys, Eric and Ernie! They were only 2 years old, so they had a lot to learn and certainly have kept me busy and entertained over the last few years!

While I am not a regular volunteer at HeeHaws I help out when I can, especially when the vet or farrier is visiting or if Carina needs another pair of hands to administer medication ……..All the fun stuff that the donkeys don’t like!! 


The aim of Heehaws is to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome. My principal role is to help with the rehabilitation phase.  It may be that the donkeys have never been handled correctly or taught to lead or pick up their feet for the farrier.  Sadly, some arrive with body issues or have had handling that has traumatised them.  My job is to work with the donkeys and teach them in a way that builds their trust in humans and confidence in themselves so that these routine tasks are easy for them and for us.  I am always looking for ways to improve how they feel about their experience, it’s not just about getting it done.

I am a wonky donkey enthusiast and also an equine behaviourist and bodyworker, trained in Tellington TTouch, sports massage (with Equinology), and thermography.  This gives me a great toolkit for working with rescue donkeys that can be used in dealing with fear, discomfort, or misunderstanding.  

Donkeys are generally cute, curious, and affectionate, not to mention hilarious! They spread joy and they rarely fail to leave me with a big grin on my face. That’s why I come to Heehaws… ❤️


HeeHaws Fundraising Officer

As an animal lover who spent a career in London offices, I’ve been so lucky to move to France and discover the wonderful donkeys – and people! – at Heehaws and become part of this very special family. In the relatively short time I’ve been coming I’ve really enjoyed taking on more responsibility and getting more involved. 

We are moving house soon (June 23), and I am in a very fortunate position to be able to adopt 2 very special HeeHaws donkeys called Basil and Wallace. We are so excited! ❤️


HeeHaws Treasurer and Sponsorship Secretary

I’ve always loved animals, but it was only after moving to France in 2018 and visiting HeeHaws that I fell in love with donkeys. They are amazing, as is the HeeHaws Team, and I feel so lucky to be a part of such a lovely thing. As time has gone on I’ve got more and more involved in helping with the admin, which I also enjoy, but not as much as donkey cuddles though! ❤️


HeeHaws Secretary

I have a great love for all animals, especially dogs and donkeys. When my family and I moved to the Southwest from Brittany in September 2021, I was thrilled to discover a donkey sanctuary just a short 15-minute drive from our new home.


As someone who works full time in a mentally-intensive job, spending quality time with my dogs and visiting the donkeys at the sanctuary is a wonderful way for me to unwind. While I don’t have the time to volunteer on a regular basis, I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to serve as the HeeHaws Secretary. Being part of a team of passionate individuals who are dedicated to caring for these beautiful creatures and the sanctuary is truly rewarding.



HeeHaws Farrier

Having worked in the industry for the last 25 years, Gareth came to France 14 years ago. His client base goes from Cruese right down to the Lot et Garonne.

We are so lucky to have him as part of our team, as all the donkeys love him. Even the most terrified of donkeys end up making friends with Gareth after the second or third visit.

He has an amazing way with them. He has a calm and kind energy and yet is firm when necessary. Some of the donkeys have had horrendous things happen to them in the past and try every trick they can to avoid having their tootsies trimmed, but Gareth just takes it easy and teaches them that it can be a good experience, that no one will hurt them and that they can trust him. He is never one to rush and without fail always puts the animals first. Gareth is such an important part of our team and we look forward to seeing him transform the hooves of many more donkeys at HeeHaws.

Please support HeeHaws in any way you can. ❤️


HeeHaws Website Coordinator and Stationery Designer

For most of my working life, I worked as a graphic designer, but in the latter years, I worked for the NHS, in a psychiatric hospital, which was a very rewarding career change. I went from working on the dementia ward as an Assistant Practitioner, before, once again gravitating to creative activities and eventually running the pottery studio in the hospital, my most favourite job ever!

My husband and I took early retirement to relocate to France in 2019. I must say it was the best thing we have ever done and wish we had made the move years ago! However, learning the language, well it’s a ‘work in progress’.

I absolutely love animals and moving here has not only benefitted us but has also enhanced the quality of life for our dogs, who have 2.5 acres to run about in. We have since added a bunny and 6 cats to the household. The poor dogs were not too amused at first, but they now muddle along together and are often found in the same bed. Ours! 

We are very soon to become the proud parents of Maggie and Mabel from HeeHaws. I am so excited!

The first time I heard of HeeHaws was on a Facebook post. I clicked on the link and found they were asking for anyone with creative skills to assist in fundraising. I sent an email, which was answered enthusiastically, with an invitation to visit. After meeting all the donkeys, I knew I wanted to become involved with these beautiful animals.

As well as working on fundraising projects, I also enjoy volunteering 2 days a week, picking up poo, feeding, and, the best bit of all, brushing the donkeys, which they love, as well as getting in a few cheeky cuddles!

HeeHaws still need funds to pay for hay, food, vet bills, and farriers and also to rescue other neglected or abused donkeys. So please donate whatever you can, even the smallest amount makes a difference. ❤️


HeeHaws President

Hello there! My name is Carina, and I have always had a passion for animals. From a very young age, I felt a deep and profound need to help them in any way that I could. My journey as an animal rescuer began many years ago when I found a bedraggled and soggy kitten on the side of the road in London. Since that day, I have been dedicated to nursing hundreds of sick and injured animals back to health, and have provided a loving home for many more.

For years, I had a dream of starting a donkey sanctuary. It was something that had been on my mind for a long time, but it wasn’t until my family and I moved to France in 2004 that it started to become a possibility. However, I continued to focus on rescuing and caring for a variety of animals before I could pursue this dream. During this time, I helped a friend with her two horses, providing them with nursing care until they passed away at the ripe ages of 33 and 37. It was around this time that I took in Rigalo and Picasso, two donkeys who needed a home. I also fostered a very sick donkey named Mambo for a charity that was in need of help. Over the years, I have personally rescued over 70 cats, hand-reared tiny kittens, and helped find loving homes for numerous cats and dogs, 10 of which found their forever home with me and my family.

Donkeys have always held a special place in my heart. I love their beauty, gentle and funny personalities, and affectionate and loving natures. It breaks my heart to see so many neglected and abused donkeys. I cannot stand to see this cruelty happen so often, and I am committed to doing my part to rescue these amazing animals.

In late 2017, my husband, some friends, and I met a donkey we named William who was in a terrible state. This encounter reignited my dream of starting a donkey sanctuary, and I knew that I could no longer ignore it. With the encouragement and support of my family and friends, I founded HeeHaws.

Since that day in February 2018, HeeHaws has been dedicated to helping, caring for, and rescuing donkeys. More donkeys have found their way to our sanctuary, some to be rehabilitated and find loving homes, and some who now have their forever home with us, especially those with challenging health issues. This dream of starting a donkey sanctuary has become a reality, and I am determined to make HeeHaws the best it can be and more.