Amazing Animal Sanctuary outside Marrakesh


Since meeting Charles Hantom and Susan Machin, Directors and Founders of Jarjeer Mules, last year at Café du Livre, I have wanted to see their sanctuary– a retirement home and nursery for aged, abandoned, and disabled equines and a learning center for visitors of all ages.  See their story below of how stray dogs changed their mission from building a guest house to sheltering and rehabilitating donkeys and mules.

With a history of helping people–Charles, a retired solicitor honored by the Community Trade Union for his service to iron and steel workers and Susan, a practicing barrister, representing vulnerable adults in the UK– they now rescue animals, sharing the love by teaching empathy to children who ride the older donkeys and providing adults opportunities to be involved from near or far.

My coworker Fiona organized a van for us to travel 24 kilometers out of Marrakech toward the Atlas Mountains–a gorgeous ride.  When we arrived, ten dogs, barking and tales wagging, met us at the gate. Inside twenty donkeys and four mules were having breakfast.  Curious to see what we brought them for dessert, they nuzzled in to eat carrots, apples, and sugar cubes.

















Above is Jerry who arrived as a tiny orphan, was attacked by a dog, but with extensive surgery and constant care survived and now thrives.  Read his story and that of Alan, Sally, Tommy and the the whole herd here.

Before the ride back, we enjoyed mint tea and biscuits from a peaceful, pretty patio as puppies rolled in the grass.  I have always loved the country–as a kid in Kentucky visiting family on weekends and as a newlywed living on a thoroughbred farm.  I was out of practice and more skittish than the mules for fear of being kicked, but I’m really glad I went.  Yet another reason to love Morocco.







8 Comments Add yours

  1. Beverly Payne says:

    Loved it and of course know you had fun!!

    1. Cindy McCain says:

      It was a lot of fun. Loved the dogs, too. Thought of Ella. 🙂

  2. Julie TuSpaz says:

    I always love reading your interpretation of these amazing memories. You paint the picture so beautifully! <3 Jenny was the best though, you forgot to mention! 🙂

    1. Cindy McCain says:

      Thank you, Julie. And yes, she was our favorite– a sweet girl!

  3. Bola says:

    Love the pictures and the animals are cute!

    1. Cindy McCain says:

      Thanks, Bola! They are cute and I so feel for the ones on the atreet that are treated badly.

  4. georgia krelle says:

    Hello, Do you have any contacts that I could have for animals shelters here in Marrakech? I have a puppy I found that needs help. I’m staying in a hotel so I can’t have her and it breaks my heart leaving her every night. I try to feed her everyday and play with her but I wont be here forever! please help xxx

    1. Cindy McCain says:

      Hi Georgia,
      I spoke with my friend who lives in Marrakesh and has tried to get dogs adopted. She said the only shelter for dogs is Spana and they euthanise them. She said your only hope is to post photos on Facebook expat sites to see if an expat will take the puppy. I wish I had better news.

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