Meet Twiggy, Brandy and Gem – three miniature donkeys with big personalities. After making it through a life-endangering trip to the UK from Canada, the trio are now well and truly part of The Donkey Sanctuary family.

Since arriving into our care in 2008, Twiggy, Brandy and Gem have become firm favourites with staff and supporters.

Twiggy and Brandy’s previous owner purchased them at a livestock auction, after they had been transported from Canada to the UK.

Within a week of bringing them home, however, both donkeys gave birth to foals. Their owner had no idea that they were heavily in foal, and was surprised to say the least. Even more shocking was the fact that they’d been allowed to travel the long journey while in such a vulnerable and fragile condition.

Twiggy and her offspring Star, and Brandy and her offspring Gem, lived together for many happy years, before their owner reached out to us for help when looking after four donkeys became all too much.

The little group settled in well to life at The Donkey Sanctuary. They’ve always enjoyed being situated within the main visitor site in Sidmouth, where they get plenty of attention from visitors each day.

Star sadly passed away in 2015 due to health problems, which was an incredibly sad time for many people. We received hundreds of cards and messages from supporters, which really helped Star’s grooms through such a sad time while they kept a close eye on Twiggy, Brandy and Gem.

A new chapter

Today, the friendly trio can be found living within our herd of miniature donkeys at ‘Beach Boxes’. They are all doing well, except for a few minor health problems which can come with old age in donkeys, and are being carefully managed by our expert staff.

Gem, who is 21-years-old, is the most affectionate. She loves interacting with people, so enjoys being able to meet visitors. Gem has befriended a larger donkey called Joy, and the pair are often seen together.

25-year-old skewbald donkey Twiggy is very calm and quiet. Her best friend Brandy, also 25-years-old, is quite the opposite – but in spite of this, the pair have a strong bond. Years ago, during an evening when most staff and visitors had left the site, Brandy became injured and needed help. It was Twiggy who alerted the night shift staff to Brandy’s situation from her constant, loud braying. Staff were sure that Twiggy was calling for them to come and help her friend. Even today, the pair are never far from each other’s side.

If you are visiting The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, do stop by Beach Boxes to meet our miniature donkey herd and say hello to Twiggy, Brandy and Gem. You might also be able to spot them on our webcam.

Your support can help give life-long sanctuary to donkeys like Twiggy, Brandy and Gem.