Daniel P arrived at The Donkey Sanctuary in 1992, at the age of 3, having come from a good home which bred donkeys. As he had never paired up with any other donkeys, his owner was extremely worried about how Daniel would settle in to Sanctuary life, especially as she was moving away and wouldn’t be able to visit regularly.
Like all donkeys, Daniel settled in very well, taking everything in his stride. After spending a few years out on the farms, Daniel finally joined our donkey assisted therapy centre here at Sidmouth in 1994. With his kind, loving and fun filled nature he was well and truly suited to his new role and enjoyed every minute. Being a larger than average donkey, in both size and personality, the children quickly grew to love ‘the gentle giant’ which was Daniel P.
Daniel actually started out by pulling a cart, but it turned out he was much more suited to working in the riding arena. Over the 16 years that he was at the Centre, Daniel helped hundreds of children, making life time special bonds with everyone.
Daniel was also very special to all of those people that adopted him. Not many donkeys had their own blog, in order to keep their supporters updated, let alone have a retirement party and their very own retirement cake!
In September 2010, over 450 of Daniel’s long-term adopters came along to watch him take his last ever ride and receive a special long-service award, presented by Elisabeth Svendsen. It was with great pride that Daniel, wearing his gold trimmed sash, and followed by his entourage of grooms and supporters, walked up to his new retirement home at Shelter 1.
Daniel greatly enjoyed his retirement here at Slade House Farm and his status as a celebrity donkey! He still continued to receive many visitors, who would watch for hours as he happily grazed in the paddock with the more senior donkeys. Whenever children were riding past, Daniel would look up without fail and watch the donkeys at work until they went out of sight. Maybe he was reminiscing about his younger years as a donkey assisted therapy donkey!
Sadly Daniel P was put to sleep after a short illness and will be missed by everyone who knew him.
Tribute by Lauriel Harris,
Donkey Assisted Therapy Centre Manager, Sidmouth