Phil and I had a great day with the donkeys today! Actually everyday with donkeys is a great day – but today was a particularly good one. For me it started with a big donkey-cuddle with Jubilee, one of the Main Yard donkeys who loves being fussed and hugged.
Next we went off to Buffalo Barn to groom all the Poitou donkeys. The sun was shining and the donkeys were keen to be noticed and brushed. Hercule was suspiciously easy to catch today and followed me meekly across the yard until he was bang in the middle of the webcam view – where he promptly stopped and refused to budge. Ears forward and looking his cutest, he stood his ground until Phil fetched me the grooming kit and I had to comb and brush through his long mane of a coat in full view of the world…not a comfortable feeling for me, but Hercule seemed to relish it!
After a couple of hours with the Poitou donkeys, Phil and I went off to Oakley to spend some time with a new mule – Millie. Millie shares a shelter and paddock with Paul Muffin the mule. Paul has now relinquished leadership of, "Muffin’s Gang" of donkeys, and now resides with Millie and two familiar little ponies - Gypsy and Tim, the two boisterous Shetland ponies who used to live in New Barn! Tim was very pleased to see us and was his usual friendly little self, while Gypsy ignored us and pestered the two mules instead. Ummm…no change there then!
After a delicious lunch of vegetable soup in the Hayloft restaurant we were ready for play-time with gorgeous George, the little 4 month old foal I told you about last week. He was in a very playful mood and is becoming very adept at dribbling the ball with both his nose and his hooves! His mum, Bonnie seemed quite relieved to have George distracted by two QTVs for an hour – a chance for her to warm herself peacefully in the afternoon sunshine.
Next to receive the QTV treatment, were the blind donkeys in Shelter 3. Souffle and Baby both brayed a loud welcome as we entered their yard and were first in line for hugs and brushing. I hadn’t been grooming Souffle for more than a few minutes when I was nudged from behind – it was Jenny! I wrote a blog a few months ago about Jenny, explaining how she used to be so afraid and wary of letting us near her. She is a completely transformed little character these days. Ok – she still spends a lot of time on her own, but she now has the confidence to come straight over and ask for a grooming and a cuddle whenever she hears us arrive.
Shelter 2 and the Six Little Donkeys were our next port of call…only it wasn’t the six little donkeys at all! It was the Six Little Donkeys and Three More! My first thought was, “My, oh my, Ashley’s shrunk!”, as I looked at this fluffy little grey donkey -until I noticed Ashley and Mr Khan chomping on their feed together. This new little chap was called Eric, and he had arrived a few days ago with two friends called Pongo and Chris! As Phil and I climbed into their yard, the others all came rushing over to say hello as well. So there we were surrounded by Ashley, Mr Khan, Zena, Skippy, Ravelin, Mars, Chris, Pongo and Eric – a herd of little donkeys!
Finally, before going home, Phil and I had a promise to keep! Earlier in the day we had dropped by the Salston Boxes to see Mr Nedd and Hector, a couple of our elderly donkeys and we had promised them an afternoon walk. So that’s how we ended our day – strolling around the grassy paths of the sanctuary with these two lovely, elderly donkeys for company. A perfect end to a perfect day of donkeys!