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Donkey's Years (or is it.....)

I must begin this little piece of nonsense with an apology: to all who I have encountered in my role here at The Donkey Sanctuary Leeds; to all the lovely visitors; and to all who have endured me talking to them out in the community, extolling the virtues of our charity – to all of you, I am deeply sorry. But in my defence, and I can perhaps be easily forgiven because, even the Oxford English Dictionary has got it wrong on this occasion! But I digress, and perhaps I should begin at the beginning…

Donkey's Ears

William the Conqueror spared one last battle

Donkeys are known for their stoicism, which means they don’t always tell us how poorly they are. But when you’ve known a donkey for as long as we’ve known 24 year old William D, you soon get to understand the signs that all is not right. This week we have had to make the most painful and heartbreaking of decisions for this kind and loving donkey who was one of Donkey Sanctuary Leeds’ founding members.

William D

Magic moments

During autumn half-term we were visited by one of our more elderly I Love Donkeys participants, Audrey. Audrey’s daughter, Kathrin, says that Audrey has been passionate about donkeys as long as she can remember – her mum always the first to spot the donkeys in the fields when on a family outing.

Audrey with carer Angela pictured with William D

Ever wondered how donkeys are trained to long rein or to pull a cart?

Some of the donkeys at the donkey assisted therapy centres and at Slade House Farm are trained to draw carts.

Long reining and driving are great activities to provide enrichment for the donkeys as well being a very effective way to keep them physically and mentally fit so they can carry out their donkey assisted therapy work better.

Sian from our donkey assisted therapy in Manchester with Harry

When Alexander The Great Met William the Conqueror (of Fears!)

Over recent months, within The Donkey Sanctuary’s Donkey Assisted Therapy centres - one of the charity’s primary focuses alongside the welfare of donkeys and mules - there have been significant changes set in motion. After 40 years of donkey assisted riding therapy operating essentially as its founder Elisabeth Svendsen imagined it, our programme is getting a beneficial ‘make over’.

Alexander the Great and William the Conqueror (of Fears!)

The significance of the occasion - 40 years of donkey assisted therapy

My name is Daniel, and I’ve been coming to the centre here at Eccup for around 8 years now, the past 18 months as an employee. Ten years ago, in the Spring, my wife gave birth to Grace Eloise McLoughlin – she was born very prematurely and had significant additional needs. She had a very active physio programme from an early age, and at around the age of three someone casually suggested we bob along to The Donkey Sanctuary at Eccup – even though it was on our doorstep we hadn’t heard of it!

Celebrating 40 Years of donkey assisted therapy

On the 25 November 2015 The Donkey Sanctuary is celebrating 40 years of providing donkey assisted therapy.

40 years ago the vision of The Donkey Sanctuary's founder Dr Elisabeth Svendsen began a journey which has since given happiness to many donkeys, children and adults.

Our founder, Dr Svendsen, had the idea of bringing together children with additional needs, and donkeys who were healthy and happiest when socialising with humans… so in November 1975 she set out to make this dream a reality.

Dr Elisabeth Svendsen

Fun Dog Show at The Donkey Sanctuary Leeds

The Donkey Sanctuary Leeds is holding a Fun Dog Show on Sunday 7 June 2015, from 11am to 3pm.

A special dog themed fun day is taking place at The Donkey Sanctuary in Eccup. There will be classes suitable for everyone and every dog! An agility display will be on the agenda with a chance for you to have a go with your own dog as well as a ‘doggy dash’ to find the fastest pooch. This is a day the whole family will enjoy, and for those hard working owners and friends there will be refreshments to enjoy throughout the afternoon.

Leeds Fun Dog Show

Bid Now for Awesome Auction Prizes

Bids are now open for some amazing donated auction prizes to raise funds for The Donkey Sanctuary Leeds Black Tie and Diamonds 15th Anniversary Ball which is taking place on Saturday 27th September.

If you would like to bid on any of these lots, please send your bid by email to leeds.ball@thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk stating clearly which item you wish to bid on and the amount bid. Please leave your full name, address and telephone number.

Today is 'National Doodle' Day!

We were delighted to support Epilepsy Action by joining forces to create a unique doodle for this year’s National Doodle Day.

Doodles the donkey, a resident at our donkey assisted therapy centre in Leeds which offers assisted therapy to hundreds of local school children with additional needs, put hoof to paper and entered into the doodle fun.

National Doodle Day, which takes place today (Friday 7 March 2014), raises much needed funds for UK charity Epilepsy Action.

Staff at Leeds with Doodles

Giving the gift of friendship

As Farms Equine Assistant, one of my main jobs has been to visit all our potential foster donkeys. I go with a colleague from our welfare team to assess their suitability before putting the donkeys forward to have a thorough medical examination with one of the vets; to ensure they have a perfect bill of health before hopefully joining their new home.

Ike and Jazz from Woods Farm
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