We are one big family pulling together for donkeys, and we are looking towards a brighter new year with you by our side.

With heartfelt thanks from all your friends at The Donkey Sanctuary.

Your support keeps donkeys at the heart of our family

Thanks to your loyal support, our donkeys have remained safe and healthy throughout these challenging times. Below are some of this year's happiest stories, where your support helped us bring joy into the life of the donkeys under our care.

Nettle, Anthony, Roger and Samuel

Nettle, Anthony, Roger and Samuel joined our family here at The Donkey Sanctuary in 2016 as part of a larger group. The group found their herd at our Paccombe Farm site in Sidmouth, and since arriving Nettle and Anthony have become good pals and spend a lot of time together. Samuel is a nervous boy but is coming out of his shell more and more.

Meanwhile, Roger has found a new place to call home with our wonderful Donkey Guardians Wendy and Mark Lockett. Roger is enjoying all the love and fuss he receives in his Guardian home, and has bonded with two other donkeys, Chocolate and Cocoa, who he lives with.

Wendy says: “Roger has benefitted so much from The Donkey Sanctuary's wonderful care by teaching him to feel safe and letting him gain people's trust. Nothing phases him now. If anyone comes to visit, he is so inquisitive and just has to meet them. He is a healthy, happy donkey and he loves grooming and a good ear rub now and then. He loves Milo, our Jack Russell and carrots”

The homely atmosphere has helped Roger form a close friendship with Cocoa, who is a very clever and gentle donkey. Together with Chocolate, the trio spend their days tussling over welly boots and lapping up the love and scratches offered to them by their Guardians. Nettle, Anthony and Samuel have now fully settled in at Paccombe Farm family and spend their days spreading joy to all they meet.

From the donkeys at our sanctuaries and Guardian homes, through to our supporters, visitors and Donkey Guardians, we are so lucky to have such a wonderful family by our side.

Lockie the foal

Lockie was born on Easter Monday at The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland’s Hannigans Farm in Liscarroll. After his birth, talk quickly turned to name suggestions, and with the first coronavirus lockdown in place, staff decided to call him Lockie. While we have a no breeding policy, all foals born into our care are guaranteed a home for life, either at one of our sanctuaries or in one of our Guardian homes.

Lockie has been full of energy since his birth. Declan Sexton, our Head of Farms for Ireland, noted early on that Lockie was always full of beans and often found bounding alongside his mum, Honeybee. Initially, Lockie was a little bit shy and stayed close to Honeybee as he skipped and ran around their barn and yard.

Several months on and Lockie has grown in confidence and now regularly approaches the farm staff for rubs and cuddles. He still stays close to Honeybee, but they have now been introduced to another mare and foal pair named Lovage and Dinky.

Dinky was born within weeks of Lockie, and the two have quickly become the best of friends, galloping and playing around the paddock. It is hoped that with your loving support they will continue to grow as part of the main herd and eventually be sent to a loving Guardian home as forever friends.

Connie, David and Theo

Connie, David and Theo were rescued from bleak conditions on a wintery New Year's Eve morning. All three had visibly overgrown hooves and were so skinny that their bones were visible through their winter coats. It was clear that they needed help especially urgent farrier attention to relieve the pain caused by their overgrown feet.

Adele Crompton, one of our Welfare Advisers who was part of the rescue team, said: “It was heart-wrenching to see the donkeys so clearly undernourished and suffering outside in the harsh winter weather.”

They were relinquished into our care and quickly adapted to their new surroundings. Thanks to your support we have been able to give them a new start in Yorkshire and have helped introduce them to some new loving friends for life.

David and Theo now live together at our Leeds sanctuary where they are being prepared to be rehomed as a pair. Connie has found a forever friend in Jelly who she loves to spend time with and groom daily.

From us, and them, thank you for all your support this year.