We say a sad farewell to Twiggy and Gem, two of our much loved miniature donkeys.

Twiggy and Gem were two of our most vibrant personalities, popular with webcam viewers and grooms alike. They arrived into our care in 2008 alongside Brandy and Star, quickly establishing their place in the hearts of all who knew them.

Sadly, they lost Brandy earlier this year after which they began to bond more closely. The dedicated farm grooms noticed that they both seemed to be missing Brandy but had been coping well until recently.

Unfortunately, miniature donkeys are prone to having dental problems and over the last month, Kelly Bramley, Twiggy's Groom, had noticed that Twiggy was quidding (dropping food) when eating her special short chop diet and was a lot quieter than normal. Twiggy had a blood test to check her overall health and, unfortunately, she was anaemic. The grooms continued to give Twiggy excellent care and attention, all the time they were working closely with our veterinary team.. Her condition continued to deteriorate, so the difficult decision was made to put Twiggy to sleep. She enjoyed her favourite food of ginger biscuits and spent a lovely evening in the field with Gem and the other miniature donkeys the night before crossing the rainbow bridge.

Caroline Branfaux, one of the Grooms at Slade House Farm, remembers Twiggy’s calm demeanour and remembers how she was “so gentle” when asking for cuddles from the farms team.

While Twiggy was becoming unwell, Gem was also struggling with her health, with teeth problems, weight loss, she was also causing concerns about her quality of life. With both Twiggy and Gem’s health deteriorating at the same time, the team decided that it would be kindest if both friends were put to sleep separately, but on the same day, after saying their goodbyes in the field.

Making note of Gem’s slightly more playful side, Caroline remembers when Gem accidentally locked her in the Beach Boxes feed room:

“It still makes me laugh! It was last year on a warm summer’s day, and the temperature was high in the feed room. Gem used to push on the door to try to go in when someone was inside. On that day, she managed to push the latch outside, and I had to call my colleagues on the radio to rescue me.”

Kelly rounds off the tributes noting that: “They were small but full of character and loved by all.”

Twiggy and Gem lived a fulfilling life at The Donkey Sanctuary, among friends, family and supporters. Your support helps give thousands of donkeys across the UK and the globe the same opportunities.

Your support gives life-long sanctuary to donkeys like Twiggy and Gem.