Today I’d like to tell you about Hector. Phil and I have known this little donkey from the first day we started as QTVs. Back then Hector was living in New Barn, although soon after he moved to Shelter 6 to live with a group of elderly donkeys. Then during this past winter he moved again, to keep Mr Nedd company in the Salston Boxes. It was while Hector was living here that we started to take him out with Mr Nedd for weekly walks. Sadly Mr Nedd died in the spring, so Hector moved yet again – this time to Shelter 3 to act as a sighted friend to the blind and partially-sighted donkeys.
You’d think all this moving about might be a bit disconcerting for a 37 year old donkey – but not a bit of it! You see Hector is a young, inquisitive donkey who just happens to be trapped inside the body of a rather arthritic, elderly donkey – not that he lets this small matter prevent him from enjoying his life! His nick-name is Inspector Hector and his groom, Jenny is convinced he carries a clipboard and pencil and makes copious notes about everything around The Donkey Sanctuary! Now I’ve got to know Hector – I believe she is right!
He loves to meet people and other donkeys, and always takes a great interest in what is going on around him. In fact Hector has built up quite a fan club among Sanctuary supporters – including Bob and Teresa, who frequently come to see him. And of course Jenny, who travelled all the way from the USA to accompany him on one of his Monday walkabouts during International Donkey Week!
Yes, Hector’s weekly walks continue – and he loves them! As soon as we appear holding his green head-collar, Hector shoves his nose into it and is half-way to the yard gate before we’ve had time to finish fastening it. Each week one of the other two sighted donkeys in the group joins Hector. Last week it was Pedro, this week was Joseph’s turn.
Hector’s favourite walk is around 10-acre field and across to the willow beds. Once we reach the grassy track he’ll give an excited little buck and then set off at a canter, ears pricked forward, eager to see what’s new in the world this week. Every now and then he’ll stop to inspect the hedgerows, or he’ll study the many memorials that line the pathways. If there are donkeys in the paddocks – Hector will always stop to say hello.
Hector loves his walks – and Phil and I love them too. Hector is teaching us that no matter how old or how arthritic we may become, life is still full of fun, with places to explore and new friends to meet. No wonder this little donkey continues to win so many hearts!