Hello again from Keith and Maggie here at East Axnoller Farm, one of the Sanctuary's farms in Dorset.
It is quite some time since we last wrote about our experiences with the donkeys in our capacity as Quality Time Volunteers. There are in fact quite a few of us Volunteers now at the Farm, but as we all go on different days and at different times, it was good to meet up with each other as we did last Friday. We had all been invited to a get-together at the main Sanctuary in Sidmouth, which was most enjoyable. It was interesting to compare notes and share stories about all the lucky donkeys, mules and ponies who live here.
Along with the many things we talked about was the idea of offering an extra hug and cuddle to anyone's much-loved donkey / pony based here at Axnoller. We know how much they are missed.
Just let us know their name on the comment section below this blog, if you would like us to give some extra time to them. We will be happy to do this.
For anyone who read our blogs last year we are very pleased to report that "Brian", who lives in the main group of younger donkeys, continues to be as good-natured and as friendly as ever. He gets on with all his companions, but as he does not seem to have found a special four-legged pal yet we are very happy to continue to be his two-legged special friends. He has been joined by lots of new donkeys this year, and there are many great characters amongst them. There are big ones, small ones, cheeky ones, gentle ones, quiet ones, boisterous ones and some very young ones - and we love them all. We are still in the process of getting to know them well, but there are, as always, some who immediately stand out.
One such is Archie. He is a big, hairy, cuddly bear of a donkey and very affectionate, confident and outgoing. He came into the Sanctuary with his friend, an equally loveable little Shetland pony called Albert. We can't help but think they must have come in from a happy, loving home, as they do enjoy human company and being brushed and having a hug. Others, we think, may not have been so fortunate, and that brings us on to telling you about two of the most unlikely of friends - Delilah and Jingles.
Delilah is the largest horse we have at the Farm and Jingles the smallest pony. They both came to the Sanctuary separately and from different backgrounds. Delilah was rescued from appalling conditions and arrived literally skin and bone at the Sanctuary. But after lots of TLC, extra feed and care she has blossomed into a very beautiful girl. When Jingles first saw Delilah it was obviously love at first sight. But before the grooms realised the extent of his affection for Delilah, they thought he would be better off in a smaller group with similar types of ponies.
Jingles, however, had other ideas. He was having none of it, and made a real nuisance of himself, as he kept trying to get back to Delilah who was in the adjoining field. In the end his wish was granted and for the last six months Delilah and Jingles have been living very happily together. In fact, Jingles never ever leaves her side. It is good to see them both looking so happy and contented, and they make such a lovely, if most unusual couple.
On this happy note we will say goodbye for now and wish everyone a Happy Christmas from us all at East Axnoller Farm.