One of the pleasures for me working at the Sanctuary, is that I get to meet a lot of very nice people who come and visit. By chance, I took a photo of a donkey called Little Bill when I helped out one weekend in our Isolation Unit last year. Shortly afterwards, his previous owner contacted me by email to say she'd seen his photo on the website. Since then, we have been in contact regularly and today it was a pleasure to meet Lisa and her family who were down for the weekend to spend some time with Little Bill.
Little Bill lives with a group of 60 donkeys who are all under the age of 10 at Woods Farm. When he first arrived at the Sanctuary, he soon became friends with another donkey the same age called Bruno.
It wasn't long before both me and Lisa were talking 'donkey' as being donkey owners, we had a few tales to tell. One of the things Lisa said was that donkeys made her laugh. This was not said in any derogatory way and I found myself remembering all the antics my own donkeys used to get up to. Lisa still has two donkeys - Isobel and her son J-D who is always picking up brushes and running away with them or pulling rugs down and running off with them.
I asked Lisa about how she got involved with donkeys and she remembers always liking them even as a young girl. She used to run a livery yard and there was a donkey called Pedro who became part of the fixtures and fittings. This little donkey had worked on Blackpool beach for 20 years and used to run around with a big Irish draft horse!
In 2007, Lisa had spinal surgery and was at home a lot of the time - getting bored, she said. After seeing an advert in the Yorkshire Post, she and her husband spotted some donkeys for sale. "We only went to have a look" ... famous last words. They went home with Isobel who was in foal and Little Bill.
After taking some photos of Little Bill and Bruno, Lisa led Little Bill back into the barn so he could join the other donkeys. While we were stood talking and watching the donkeys, over on the far side, I recognised another donkey straight away - the ears gave it away. It was another donkey I had seen while working in the Isolation Unit and his name is David. He was born with floppy ears, so if you are coming along to this year's Donkey Week, do look out for him at Woods Farm.