Donkeys are incredibly social, often forming strong bonds with humans and other animals - here at the sanctuary, we have been lucky to see this firsthand with the wonderful donkeys we have known who have had loving friendships with each other, our team, and even some of our goats and sheep!
As well as companions, donkeys have been utilised by humans across the globe for centuries as work animals as a form of transportation, to carry goods and supplies, and to work in fields, amongst other hard work. They are incredibly strong animals and are known for their loyalty and intelligence, and sadly these traits have often been abused by humans, and one of the reasons that so many donkeys need support from sanctuaries and other rescue organisations.
Duke joined us in 2013 after we sadly lost Jess, one of our older Donkeys. He was just four years old and had been ridden by children for most of his life until then, so we were very pleased to give him a rest. He was very nervous when he first came to us and it took him quite some time to begin to trust us, but with lots of reassurance from us, he soon settled in and became part of the family!
He began to show quite an interest in Callum the pony next door and as he was on his own, we decided to see how they would react to being put together - it was a "bromance" at first sight; these two are now the very best of friends and completely inseparable! We couldn't be happier for them both.
Duke can be quite nervous at times (you’d never think it to look at him, but Duke is quite the sensitive soul and unfamiliar things can scare him quite easily, and this can sometimes be as simple as a stick on a path that he needs to walk past, something blowing past his paddock in the wind, or even a new toy - yes, these are often terrifying until Callum convinces him that they’re lots of fun! Callum can be very good for Duke, helping to bring out his confidence and show him that things are safe. Another somebody who’s been very good for Duke has been our fantastic farrier, who has been so patient, understanding, and gentle with him.
Duke doesn’t like to have his feet touched and so farrier day, when his hooves are checked over, gently trimmed and shaped, has always been quite an ordeal for this nervous boy. Duke has made such amazing progress and we are so proud of our brave lad! Hopefully, with continued patience and extra TLC, Duke will continue to come out of his shell and become more comfortable with both these important health checks and the other things that life throws at him (such as those scary leaves on the path that weren’t there when he last walked past!). Baby steps!
Forever in Our Hearts
Although these beautiful donkeys are no longer with us and are missed so very much, they live on always in our hearts and minds. As long as we continue to speak their names and tell their stories, they are still with us and will never be forgotten!