Shelter 2 is not for the faint of heart and is indeed positively bouncing these days! First we had three little foals by the names of Ashley, Zena and Mr Khan, who after they were weaned, were joined by Mars, Skippy and Ravelin – making them the Sidmouth Six. Well recently they acquired three more friends – Chris, Pongo and Eric! We now have a herd of lively, inquisitive friendly little donkeys residing in Shelter 2.
Regardless of what Phil and I plan to do on a Monday there are three things we always do – without fail! We groom, chat to and cuddle the blind donkeys in Shelter 3; we go out for a walk with Mr Nedd and Hector; and we groom, cuddle and play with the little donkeys in Shelter 2.
The latter is invariably lively and often involves a few chase games, lots of scrabbling around trying to rescue bits of the grooming kit from nine tooth-lined little mouths, hopping out of the way of thirty six dancing hooves and periodically succumbing to big, fluffy donkey-hugs!
Last week we discovered a new game had been invented by the little donkeys – hide Ashley’s wellie boot! I vaguely noticed the boot being tossed around by Ravelin and Chris, and then thought no more of it as I brushed Mr Khan, who was in a particularly affectionate mood and kept trampling on my feet as he tried to cuddle in, ever more closely. (Fortunately we wear steel-capped boots!)
Phil meanwhile was grooming a very lively little Zena, who was being very possessive of Phil and wasn’t too keen about Pongo and Eric trying to get in on the action. She even kicked out her sharp little heels at poor Pongo – who retired into the shelter with Eric. This left Phil and I outside with Zena and Mr Khan, and Ashley – who was trotting around the yard seemingly looking for something.
As the rain came on, we decided to finish the grooming inside the shelter, where we found Rav, Skippy, Mars, Chris and Pongo near the water basin. I started to brush Chris – who by the way is very tall, leggy and super-friendly! He also seems to like sticking his muzzle in my face at every given opportunity. I noticed Pongo doing the same to Phil – much to Zena’s annoyance.
Next we groomed Skippy and Mars – which wasn’t easy, as by now I had Mr Khan standing quietly but firmly on my feet, and Chris resting his muzzle on my shoulder, while Phil had Pongo’s muzzle in his ear and Zena butting him from behind. Still, we persevered and Skippy and Mars enjoyed all the attention and entertainment.
Little Eric is the smallest and likely the youngest in the group. Although he seems to be rather reserved and shy, he has shown he’s interested in us, so Phil decided to brush him, leaving me to groom Ashley who, unusually, was still poking about around the shelter rather than clamouring for cuddles and attention. Instead I started to groom Ravelin – closely supervised by Mr Khan.
It was while Phil was being stalked by Zena as he tried to find a quiet corner where he could brush Eric, that he suddenly noticed the water basin and how low the water level had become. We had noticed that Ravelin had been hanging around by the basin – presumably drinking. Strange how it wasn’t re-filling though…
…until Phil fished out one very wet wellie boot! Almost immediately the basin started to re-fill, and both Rav and Ashley grabbed the boot from Phil and proceeded to dance around the shelter as they tussled for possession of the wellie boot – scattering straw, donkeys, grooming kit and QTVs in their wake!
Well, we eventually managed to groom all nine young donkeys. They may be lively and boisterous – but we wouldn’t ever want to be without any of them – they are to us, a very special herd of little donkeys!