The main work for donkeys in the UK now is for those working on the beaches, giving pleasurable rides to thousands of children every year. We monitor these donkeys very closely, and are delighted when the beach operators retire them to the Sanctuary when they grow old or no longer enjoy their work.
Working on Blackpool beach, the Clews family is one of the best beach donkey operators in the UK. The family has been retiring its donkeys to us for literally "donkeys' years", and we welcomed Pru and Bobby Clews to the Sanctuary almost two years ago. They have been living happily at Paccombe Farm, but unfortunately Pru recently became unwell - she developed a high temperature and, despite the tender loving care of the vets and grooms, she began to go downhill fast, refusing to eat, and not even wanting Bobby to be in the stable with her. Knowing that her previous owners would be concerned, one of our vets, Elena Barrio, rang Mrs Clews to tell her the situation, and to see if she had any suggestions. Elena was told that Pru used to love drinking coca cola, which had to be in the bottle rather than in a bucket! A bottle of her favourite tipple was produced straight away, and Pru's condition immediately started to improve! Mrs Clews rang every day to see how she was and, on one occasion, Elena switched on the speaker on her mobile phone, enabling Mrs Clews to speak directly to Pru, which not only provoked a response from Pru, but also from Bobby and all the other donkeys nearby!
Now that Pru is much better she has gradually been weaned off coca cola, as this is not something we would normally recommend as part of a donkey's diet!