Sweet Pea, the donkey named by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to The Donkey Sanctuary last year, has celebrated her first birthday.

Her Royal Highness visited our Sidmouth sanctuary in Devon in July 2019 to celebrate our 50th anniversary. As part of her visit, the Duchess was delighted to name Sweet Pea, a three-week-old foal born at the sanctuary

A year later, our grooms have shared some adorable new pictures of Sweet Pea and described how she has formed a special friendship with another foal called Sam, who was orphaned at birth.

Friends forever

Sweet Pea and Sam are of a similar age and temperament, and the two young donkeys bonded almost instantly when they were introduced in early June. Lisa Coles, one of Sweet Pea’s grooms at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “It was so sweet because never having been in such close proximity to other donkeys before, the usually confident Sweet Pea became slightly coy around Sam, peeping out from behind her mum to check him out!”

Grooms’ firm favourite

Farm Supervisor Liza Macmaster added: “Sweet Pea has been a delight to look after from day one. She has a warm personality and always enjoys extra, loving cuddles and scratches. She also enjoys being around people and is a firm favourite with the grooms.”

Sweet Pea’s mum, Poppy, was in foal when she was relinquished to The Donkey Sanctuary after her owner could no longer care for her. Ever since she was born on the summer solstice (21 June) last year, Sweet Pea has been the darling of the herd at our Paccombe Farm site near Sidford.

Poppy, Sam and Sweet Pea
Sweet Pea with groom Lisa
Sweet Pea royal foal neighing
Main photograph: Poppy (left), Sam (middle) and Sweet pea.

Sam’s sad story has a happy ending

Sam came into our care in December 2018, after being orphaned at birth. In the company of Sweet Pea he has grown into himself and become a dependable companion, encouraging her to play with wellies and toys, which she was previously reluctant to do. Our staff use wellies, toys and foraging for food as enrichment activities to ensure the mental and physical wellbeing of the donkeys.

Rehoming donkeys

Ultimately, the pair are ideal candidates for our Rehoming Scheme due to their calm, friendly nature. But they are still very young and will require further training. So, for now, they will continue to thrive in the dedicated and professional care of The Donkey Sanctuary.

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