Meet the Wearnes: Donkey Guardians since 2001
Animal lover Des Wearne has kept donkeys through our Rehoming Scheme since 2001. When the last of them passed away, he and his wife, Celia, spent a winter without animals.
“We weren’t going to have any more,” says Celia, “but we just couldn’t bear to be without donkeys.”
“It was so quiet!” adds Des. “Both of us suffer ill health and we thought we’ve got to do something just to get us out of the house.”
They rang The Donkey Sanctuary and were told about two young donkeys called Nicholas and Jacques. “We went up to take a look and we fell in love with them,” recalls Celia. “Des and I are not youngsters and there’s a definite chance that our boys will outlive us. But the Sanctuary assured us that if anything happens to us, or the land, the donkeys will have a place to go back to and won’t ever be abandoned.”
When the donkeys arrived, Des and Celia took a garden bench into the field and sat with them so the donkeys could get used to them and the sound of their voices. “Of course, being nosey animals, they couldn’t resist coming over to see what we might have for them!” says Celia.
Once they settled, The Wearnes began spending much of their spare time with the donkeys, even taking their boys for walks up the lanes. “ “We try to be with them as much as we can, and they follow us around. We just have fun with them, brushing them, walking them. They get a lot of attention” says Des.
“They’re such lovely creatures,” said Celia. “They ask for so little and the more affection you give them, the more they lap it up.”
The couple’s five-year-old granddaughter, Aimee, has cerebral palsy and behavioural issues, and Nicholas and Jacques have been a turning point in her life. “She can walk in the field and the donkeys are so good with her,” says Celia. “She is much calmer when she’s with them.”
“They have the freedom to walk away but they choose to stay with her,” adds Des. “These are two young, playful boys, but they know when to behave.”
Local children often knock on the door to see the donkeys, too. “We have so many more visitors than ever before, which we really enjoy,” says Des.
Seal of approval
The Wearnes value the support they receive from The Donkey Sanctuary, and would thoroughly recommend becoming Donkey Guardians.
“It’s not cheap and you have got to put the time in,” says Des. “You can’t just up sticks and go away for a while. But whatever you put in, you get back 100 times over.”
“Keeping donkeys is the best thing we’ve ever done,” says Celia. “You never know what they’ll do next, which is good fun. They are just so loving and you get so much back from them. They’re wonderful. They give us a reason to get up in the morning.”