Hi everyone, my name's Jen Littley and I thought you might like to know a little bit more about how we decide which donkeys go out to new foster homes.
Here at Paccombe Farm we have two large groups of about 170 young male donkeys to select potential foster donkeys from. Once we have chosen suitable candidates they are given a thorough health check by our vet and handled by our foster co-ordinator to have their temperaments assessed to enable our welfare team to match donkeys to specific . I am lucky enough to be involved with this process from start to finish and it’s one part of my job I enjoy the most.
Once the donkeys have been declared fit to join our foster scheme we separate them into a smaller yard so they can gets lots of hands on experience before going to their new homes. We handle them daily, take them out for walks, introduce them to dogs, and see what they are like when they come into contact with sights they are likely to come across in their new homes.
Earlier this month three of our boys, Cooley, Brendan and Mossie, were chosen to go to a new home in Wales and I travelled with them on the journey to help settle them into their new home.
We left the farm at around 9.30 am with three very happy donkeys aboard. Inside the cab of the lorry there is a television monitor so we could keep a close eye on the donkeys throughout their journey. Several ‘hands on’ checks were also done during the trip before we later arrived at the home to be greeted by three very excited people anxiously awaiting to meet the newest members to join their family.
It was time to off load the boys. Cooley took charge and was the first one off the lorry to investigate his new surroundings, closely followed by Brendan, then Mossie. The donkeys travelled better than I did! We had to do the rest of the journey on foot and walk about a mile and a half up the lane to the house as there was nowhere for the lorry to turn. The boys walked up the lane like true ambassadors of the Donkey Sanctuary and met their "Neigh-bours" en-route (two ponies in the next field) nothing seemed to phase them.
We eventually arrived at their new home - a lovely stable with a very cosy big bed of straw. They settled in straight away and were hungry after their big day out. They then went straight into the field for some grass and never gave us a second glance. Of course that’s a happy ending for the boys but still very sad to see our 'babies' leave the nest. I was so sad to leave them but I am comforted by the knowledge that they have a wonderful new home and the love the donkeys will give to the family in return is unlimited.