Christmas is a special time for our donkeys and we were thrilled to hear from one of our vets, Vicky Grove, how much fun two donkeys called Snoopy and Joe had on their visit to a local Christmas Fayre. Vicky takes up the story...
Each year at the St John’s school planning meeting for the Christmas Fayre the request for donkeys gets passed to me. Everyone expects me to be able to rustle up a donkey seeing as I work here at The Donkey Sanctuary in the same town!
Paccombe Farm came to my rescue! Neil, the manager, allowed me to have two donkeys for the afternoon. The grooms, Gemma Lane and Jen Littley, offered to prepare the donkeys and bring them and I was to be the driver.
I had chosen Snoopy and Joe, partly because they are handsome, well behaved and white so would look dashing in red rugs, but also through favouritism... Joe has always been a particular favourite of mine. In years gone by when Paccombe was home to mainly geriatric donkeys, Joe came in as a yearling with his mother, Amanda. He certainly livened up my vet rounds as he was (and still is) full of mischief! The grooms made efforts to make them as white as nature intended; this is no mean feat as Snoopy attracts muck like a little child.
As soon as we arrived an excited ripple went around the school and children rushed out onto the patio to greet the donkeys; Gemma and Jen were bombarded with questions! Joe and Snoopy were so unperturbed by the noise and kids it was as if they did it every day. However the pricked ears and twinkle in their eyes gave away their own excitement at the new situation. Talk about adding enrichment to the donkey’s lives!
Joe was leading me around on the end of his rope wanting to investigate everything. He was very keen to join in with the boys blowing bubbles; the picnic tables at the edge of the patio looked inviting and were giving out plenty of pats, and the open dining room doors serving mince pies nearly had a couple of unexpected long-eared visitors.
They both lapped up the attention. Acting as two handsome celebrities, they had their photos taken with endless fans. They were a wonderful advert for The Donkey Sanctuary. At least one parent is now hoping to become a foster owner and another plans to volunteer as a Quality Time Volunteer. I would like to thank Jen and Gemma for being such professional carers and showing great patience with all the questions.
After returning to the farm, Gemma reported some very lively behaviour from the pair as they chased around the barn. Far from being tired by the trip out they were energised and excited. I hope they don’t have to wait until next Christmas for another day out!