Today is Tuesday and we are looking forward as usual to spending quality time at East Axnoller farm with all the donkeys. We often reflect on how we both come to be there among so many delightful donkeys. Here's how it happened.
Over 30 years ago two very special donkeys changed our lives. At the time we had recently moved into a cottage with a small piece of land in a village in North Yorkshire. Not long after we moved in, a neighbour asked if he could over-winter two beach donkeys in the paddock. Of course we agreed. We were delighted to do this; donkeys in our paddock was a dream come true.
However, very soon after the donkeys arrived, our neighbour had a serious accident and could no longer look after them, so we decided to take over their care ourselves. Of course, we fell in love with them and from that moment our lives were changed forever. Eventually we managed to buy these lovely donkeys called Cliff and Legs, and happily for us they no longer had to go back to being beach donkeys every summer.
Since then, Cliff and Legs have taken us on many adventures, and through them we have met many interesting people, made some good friends and come to know and love hundreds of other donkeys.
Our donkeys became very well-known in the village , as we often took them out for walks and no-one could pass without a word and a smile for our four-legged, long-eared companions. They were also very popular and in great demand at all the local school and church fetes, and they certainly enjoyed all the attention they received.
We had over 12 wonderful years with our donkeys before, for many reasons, we had to ask the Sanctuary for their help. You can imagine how heartbreaking it was for us to part with them. They were a huge part of our life, but we knew it was the best for them, especially as Legs had quite a few problems with her feet.
They went to live at East Axnoller Farm in 1991 and were in the first group of donkeys to move into this newly-opened farm in Dorset.. We missed our donkeys, so much so that in 1993, when we got the opportunity to move to Dorset to be near them again, we did not hesitate.
Despite her foot problems Legs had sixteen very happy years at the farm which we were able to share with her before, sadly, three years ago, her life came to an end. She had had the very best of care from vets, farriers and, last but not least, all the grooms who looked after her. We couldn't possibly have provided all the expert care she needed and was given, so we say thank you very much once again to everyone at the Donkey Sanctuary for all they did for her.
Life goes on, but we will never stop loving or forget our very special, gentle friend who changed our lives.
We still have Cliff, our other lovely donkey, who now has a very close friend called Heidy. Heidy is very sweet, nearly fifty years old, and is the oldest donkey at East Axnoller. She loves Cliff and they are very much an "item", as they say today, and thereby hangs another tale or two!
Today is one of the days when we put on our Quality Time Volunteer hats. The first thing we will do will be to go and see Cliff and Heidy and all their friends in the "oldies" group. We will then call in on all the other groups and see who would like a cuddle and some special attention. Life doesn't get better than this and we know we are very lucky.
Thank you, Cliff and Legs, for changing our lives.