You know when you've arrived at the right place when 'Steve the Hat' welcomes you to East Axnoller Farm. For the 13 years I have been a donkey weeker, Steve Stone, farm manager, has always worn his Fedora hat especially for International Donkey Week.
The farm itself is the furthest of all the Sanctuary farms. It lays nestled in the Dorset countryside, close to the small market town of Beaminster.
One of my favourite donkeys is Panda, who is 37 years of age and lives here at East Axnoller Farm. I found her out on a donkey walk with a couple of donkey weekers. She was showing them around the farm and had stopped at the gates to Lighthouse Barn, where Panda's donkey friends were all stood envious at her being out on a walk!
Back in the main barn, one of today's talks was by the farm vet, Sarah Coombes. She was talking about acupuncture and how it benefited some of the donkeys on the farm. For Sarah's presentation, a donkey called George came in with Sharon, one of the grooms.
Sarah said "Donkeys are one of the most difficult animals to treat because they mask their illnesses so well. Staff on the farm are fantastic at spotting small changes because they know the donkeys so well".
George is currently having six acupuncture treatments at fortnightly intervals because he has started picking up one of his back legs and putting it back down again, without any sign of pain. It is hoped that the acupuncture will help relieve the problem.
Sarah's fascinating talk came to an end and when she asked if anyone had any questions, the first one was "Can we all form an orderly queue please!".
Back outside there was a large group of contented donkeys standing together. Every single one of them was being lovingly groomed by a donkey weeker. Just behind them, donkeys were being taken out for walks. As they passed by, a chorus of brays bellowed. I'm sure they were saying "Can we come for a walk too!"