Although Phil and I were unable to tackle the steep snow-covered hills to reach the donkeys yesterday, we made it today! The Donkey Sanctuary looked beautiful with its deep pristine snow, sparkling sunshine and lots of donkeys looking for cuddles and attention!
First visit was to Shelter 6 to see the six little donkeys - Ashley, Zena, Mr Khan, Mars, Skippy and Ravelin - who were all happily chomping on their feed. According to their groom Jenny, they had apparently loved the snow yesterday and kept running out into the yard during the blizzard, transforming themselves into six little snow-donkeys! Today they wanted fuss and cuddles - and that's what they got!
Next stop - Shelter 3 and the blind/partially-sighted donkeys. Most of them were busy munching on their breakfast, while Lowmie, Dylan the pony and Souffle were warming themselves under the heat-lamps. As soon as they heard Phil and I enter the barn Souffle gave her usual bray of hello and Dylan whinnied his welcome! We spent a while with this group, giving them all a grooming and lots of cuddles.
Garmston Barn and the foster donkeys were our next port of call. This involved quite a long trek through some very deep snow. They must have heard us coming, because as we rounded the corner that led to Garmston Barn we were greeted by a roisterous braying from a line-up of long-ears at the gate. It was good to see them all again - Poppy, Coco, Oonagh, Flora, Breda, Nutty, Rosie, Thistle, Billy, Dodger, Precious, Murphy, Moses, Tommy, Merlin, Barney, Choccy, Jack, Lily, Jenny, Surprise, Precious (2) and Rupert the mule!
One of the nice things about grooming these donkeys, is that we are never allowed to feel cold (great on a snowy day like today!) - as all the donkeys insist on squashing in closely to ensure they don't miss their turn for love and fuss! Oonagh (Mr Khan's mum) is particularly skilled at ensuring that when she wants to be groomed, she is in the perfect position where the the dandy brush is poised to brush - even if it means some other poor unsuspecting donkey finds himself butted out of the way, mid-grooming! Add to that Nutty's, Choccy's and Poppy's habits of sticking their heads on our shoulders, backs or heads as they await their turn, and I'm sure you can imagine the general donkey-chumminess of the whole affair!
We spent the rest of the day trudging through snow and visiting the various shelters and barns to spend some time with the donkeys and to wish them all a very Happy Christmas!
And while we are on that subject - Phil and I would like to wish everyone at the Sanctuary and all its loyal supporters a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!