Last month a group of supporters from the UK spent a week at Il Rifugio degli Asinelli, our rescue centre in Italy located in Sala Biellese, deep in the green woodland of the Serra hills which run between the provinces of Biella and Ivrea.
For a second year running Il Rifugio have held their own mini version of Donkey Week.
After a welcome evening dinner on arrival, the following morning the Donkey Weekers enjoyed a guided tour of the centre. They met all the donkeys who were very happy to receive some extra attention. One of the elderly donkeys, called Baby, wanted all the cuddles just for herself and got a little jealous when she noticed that her favourite person in the group started paying attention to another donkey! All ended happily with everyone sharing cuddles with all the other elderly donkeys.
Later that day, the Donkey Weekers enjoyed a typical Italian pizza at Il Rifugio followed by a theatrical performance by Carmina Gaelica, a local group of artists who rehearsed an original play based on local legends. They also created a multimedia set where everyone could have the chance to live like a Middle Ages witch! Several Italian supporters also joined the event too, both for the performance and for seeing Il Rifugio and all the donkeys under a starlit sky.
The following day, the Donkey Weekers spent time following Luca, Il Rifugio’s vet, during his routine checks and asking him questions about donkey care and treatments. It was a stimulating morning both for Luca and for the Donkey Weekers, who, after a good lunch, spent a whole afternoon donkey grooming.
On their last day at Il Rifugio the Donkey Weekers spent a full day in the Pre-Alps around Biella, where they visited Oropa Sanctuary (the most important and largest sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary to be found in the Alps) as well as visiting Mucrone Lake after a breath-taking trip by cable car.
Four days were spent full of events and emotions with the Donkey Weekers - but the week hadn’t finished! Around 300 people visited our rescue centre for their Autumn Grooming Day also held in September to learn how to groom donkeys and of course to have a chance to cuddle donkeys – always a great favourite pastime for visitors.