Brian’s learning to be a donkey again

By Patrick Barnham

Irish donkey Brian had a rough start in life but was rescued by big-hearted Christine who gave him a loving home.

Christine took him to England to live with her horses and ponies where Brian stayed for 10 years.

But last year poor Brian was lonely and sad once again after his pony pal Norrie passed away.

Then more sadness rained on the dark brown gelding’s life when his loving protector Christine was struck with ill health.

Devoted Christine was just unable to care for Brian any longer and had to make the heartbreaking decision of asking the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary to take him in. 

Although Brian spent 10 happy years living and playing with horses and ponies he never got the chance to live with other donkeys.

But now with the support of Welfare Adviser Justine Thomas, Brian is learning to be a donkey again.

Justine said: “Since he arrived in our New Arrival Unit, Brian has been gradually introduced to other donkeys. 

“At first, he was living next door to a small group, and was able to meet them over the fence. 

“As they’d had the opportunity to get used to each other gradually, the next step was to mix them together.

Sara Blair Salter, New Arrivals Manager, added: “When introducing new donkeys to each other, we make sure to monitor them closely and take time to do things at their pace. They also need plenty of space and turnout when being introduced.”

Since being mixed into the group, Brian has been regularly playing with a nine-year-old gelding called George, and grooms have noticed they are forming a close friendship.

Devoted pals Brian and George

In just a few weeks, the group are expected to leave the unit to start new lives on one of the sanctuary’s farms, where Brian will be surrounded by his friends.

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