The sun may not be shining, but that hasn't dampened the spirits of our first group of supporters this year who have joined us today for their "Donkey Experience Day".
The lucky donkeys being pampered were Daragh, Groucho, Barney, Shirgar, Dennis, Huwie, Joseph, Tierra, Abbie and
Benny - a great bunch of donkeys that are part of our events team. These donkeys have been carefully chosen for their calm and patient temperament and impeccable behaviour.
Among the group of donkey carers was Eve from Swindon who celebrated her 60th birthday yesterday. It was because of the donkeys that Eve and her husband both visit the Sanctuary at least a couple of times a year. What stood out for Eve was that all the staff seem so happy here and all the donkeys are lovingly cared for.
A lifetime's friendship brought Pauline from Chepstow and her friend Bunny from Pembroke to enjoy their day with the donkeys. Together they helped muck out Daragh and Joseph and take them for a walk around the Sanctuary before lunchtime.
As a 50th birthday present from her husband, Sandra was spending the day looking after Huwie who easily stood out from the other donkeys, because he is the only white one among the others. Not to miss out on the day himself, Sandra's husband, Tim, was clearly enjoying looking after Dennis who has recently joined the Education and Activities team and is settling in very well.
Natasha from Melton Mowbray was delighted to be paired up with a donkey called Barney who has the same name as her dog. Back home Natasha and Barney regularly take a walk to go and see two donkeys in a paddock. Knowing her love of donkeys, Natasha's parents gave this Donkey Experience Day as a Christmas present which had gone down a real treat!
Rachel from London clearly has a boyfriend who knows how to impress ... her Christmas present this year coming true today. As with all the other donkey carers, Rachel will be taking home a donkey collar she made herself saying "Benny" (the name of her donkey for the day).
Chris from Aylesbury was looking after Tierra, the tallest among this group of donkeys. As a supporter of the Sanctuary for many years, he was delighted to receive this special day as a birthday present in November last year.
Also enjoying their belated birthday presents were Louise from Worcestershire who spent the day with Abbie and another Louise from London who spent the day with Shirgar. Both will be taking home framed photos of themselves with their donkeys to show their friends and family and to remind them of their very special day.