Donkeys Harry and Henry joined The Donkey Sanctuary Ivybridge in February this year. They continue to train and build their confidence to be ready to go to a Guardian home in the future.
We relinquished the pair into our care in 2020 and identified them as potential candidates for our Rehoming Scheme, which will place them into a loving home with a donkey Guardian.
After spending their initial two weeks at our Ivybridge sanctuary in isolation, we slowly introduced them to the wider herd as they took on their role as long-term Guardian donkeys.
Donkeys that we expect to stay for just a few months at the Donkey-Assisted Therapy centre live in Guardianship areas. This not only helps to reduce their stress but also that of the resident herd.
Since their arrival, the eight-year-old pair have settled in well with the other donkeys. Henry has a very inquisitive character, and both he and Harry are usually the first to come and see what their grooms are doing.
Despite this, Henry is also extremely sensitive and timid, and it has taken staff a lot of time and patience to build his trust. He can be reluctant to be caught in the yard, which forms the focus of his current training. To help develop his trust, we have reduced the number of people who work with him to gain his confidence before introducing others.
Harry is becoming more settled and confident too. When he first arrived at Ivybridge, grooms found it difficult to catch him, and he would deliberately turn around, so grooms were faced with his backside. He has made great progress and now approaches staff, allowing them to groom him, clean his eyes and pick out his feet without being tied up.
Harry also interacts well with the wider herd at the sanctuary and enjoys picking up wellie boots as he engages in enrichment sessions. Known for his loud bray, he makes sure his grooms are kept busy by taking part in his favourite pastime - rolling in the sand area as soon as we have groomed him.
We expect their training to take around twelve months, although this does depend on how well they develop. Recently the pair have been taken off the site for a walk with grooms. Henry led the whole time and was very forward going and alert to his surroundings.
We hope this is something they can do more throughout the summer as they continue training on their journey to find a forever home with a Donkey Guardian.
Can you help?
With you by our side we can continue to help Harry and Henry on their journey to a Guardian Home