Monday, 9 August 2010

Walter Bailey

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

While we were on holiday my daughter,Deb and my grandsons, Harry and I visited the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary.

Although I have always seen this sanctuary advertised while visiting Devon and Dorset in the past, I have never been with anyone else who was interested enough to actually visit it.
All of us had a turn in choosing where we would like to visit for the day, on this holiday, so the sanctuary was my choice.
I found the whole place was a lot bigger than I had ever imagined it to be and was surprised that coaches brought people to visit as there are over 600 rescued donkeys there and most of them over the age of 25. Some have been cruelly treated but some have come from good homes where their owners cannot now look after them. Some are retired beach donkeys and some have had treatment and operations in the enclosed hospital block and some are lame and some blind.
There is a riding ring under cover, where disabled children come to ride certain trained donkeys and the less able children can be pulled in a little cart that caters for their wheelchair and led by a specially trained donkey and assistant.

As well as a lovely restaurant and outdoor eating area, there are walks all round the sanctuary. You can choose a short, easy walk or a long complicated one, with many in between. In fact my daughter, husband and I were so interested in the donkeys and the walks that we decided to come back the next day, foregoing an intended boat trip.
It was while we were on one of the walks round the donkey fields, that I noticed the rows of newly planted and established trees lining the paths. Then we noticed the dedication plaques to people who had died and wanted to be remembered. I suddenly realised that this is what I want my family to do when I have departed this world. (Not that I intend to go just yet). I like the thought of a tree being planted because of me though, with a plaque to remember me by.

While we were there, Deb and I decided to adopt a donkey each. For £16 a year we could choose from four different donkeys that are used to give rides to the disabled children. Obviously that amount of money won't even get me to own an ear or a hoof and many others will be adopting the same animal.
I chose the donkey in the pictures who was named Walter Bailey. Walter was the name of my grandfather so I thought it seemed appropriate to choose him, even though there were more attractive donkeys that I could have chosen instead.
I went to see him to take photos as he was tethered to some railings so his sponsors could pat him. He stamped a lot and didn't seem to be the best tempered one there. When I went to stroke him, he pushed my hand against a fence, bruising it. Whether I will choose him again next year is not certain as he seems to be the type that *bites the hand of the one that feeds him*, as the saying goes.
Anyway........ here is Walter Bailey my adopted donkey, though I won't own even a hair on his head, I have the adoption papers to prove he is *mine* for a year!
Considering that the Sanctuary's entrance is free for a whole day, I feel it is well worth sponsoring and helping this worthy cause. I used to work in a special school where the children went riding and I know how much it meant to them. I also like the idea of saving unwanted animals and I love the idea of planting trees....... so all in all it seemed a great place.
Has any one else been there? If you can go, I do recommend it.





25 comments:

Twain12 said...

what a great cause, a place i would love to visit

Nessa said...

I have always thought donkeys are cute.

Teri said...

That's a great sponsor fee! It would be a great teaching tool for children. Let them sponsor a donkey and earn the money to make the payment. That is an achieveable amount for kids.

Teri said...

Back again... just adopted "Donk Dean".

Akelamalu said...

I would love to visit there, I love donkeys :)

Jeni said...

Perhaps Walter Bailey was a wee bit on the tired or cranky side when you visited him. He is a cute thing though.
And I do like the idea of a tree, with a plaque on it that holds your name as a permanent type of remembrance of yourself into the future.

secret agent woman said...

I love the idea of animal sanctuaries. There an elephant sanctuary in my state!

Eddie Bluelights said...

A great idea Maggie. I expect "Walter Bailey" hads been ill treated as well which may explain his mistrust of you. Hugs ~ Eddie

lakeviewer said...

I guess we have no use for donkeys any more. How sad, to have these donkeys with no jobs, no usefulness, waiting to be adopted. Glad you could sponsor one.

Mary G said...

I've never seen a cleaner animal - they must be very well cared for.
What a lovely place!
In Canada we are developing a cross country trail, called the Canada Trail, what else, and you can dedicate a chunk of it in the name of someone. The names are put onto benches under little wooden roofs at the resting spots.
I had an aunt who loved paintings done in Algonquin park and so her name is on a bench on the trail as it passes through.
Planting trees is a lovely idea as well; my old home church does that.

Ayak said...

I love donkeys. We have a fair number in our village of course, but they are all working animals. They seem pretty well looked after though, especially my neighbour's donkey, with whom she has lengthy conversations!

Nora said...

I like the fact that you adopted a donkey. It is a kind thing to do and it's nice that you can pick out a new one every year, though I hope you'll stick with Walter until his demise. Since he's so ornery he probably needs it.

I've thought of adopting a free range chicken with the benefit of getting the eggs. I still may do that. You reminded me of it.

ladyfi said...

Oh, Walter Bailey is just adorable! The sanctuary looks like a gorgeous and worthy place to visit. Good for you for adopting a part of the donkey! ;-)

gaelikaa said...

What a coincidence! I've just been over to that other lovely blog "Life in the Preseli Hills (preselimags.blogspot.com) and she had a post on Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary too. Dated 5th August.

Seems like a wonderful place. One thing I truly admire about the British is their love and concern for the welfare of animals....

Joey said...

God bless you!

I could give that donkey the biggest kiss ever!

You are the sweetest person!

Brian Miller said...

that is way cool. we have a horse riding place here that works with kids that are disabled or struggling. i have taken kids there and it is amazing how much it helps the kids...so thank you...

Mimi said...

Looks and sounds like a good day out, Maggie. And free in? What's not to like. You were right to sponsor him, even if he doesn't appreciate it!
I'm delighted that you're in such good form, and that you're having such a good summer.
I was relieved to see this line:
"(Not that I intend to go just yet)."

Cheryl said...

What a wonderful place. I have never heard of a Donkey Sanctuary, but now that I think about it, they must exist. Or at least I'm very glad they do. I've alway loved to watch and interact with donkeys. They make me laugh because they do live up to their reputation of being stubborn, but I've come across some really sweet ones too, once you establish trust. I would love to go to a place like that. How wonderful for you and your family.
I think Walter is a fine looking donkey. If you got to see him more, I suspect, he would come around.
Once again, thank you for taking me to a place I never knew existed and made me smile.

Hope you are feeling well. You have been on my mind. Thinking of you.
xxxxxxx

Dimple said...

I enjoyed this post very much. I think Walter is fortunate to have you for a sponsor and a place in the sanctuary.

Bernie said...

What a lovely day, I love donkeys. I think you have a wonderful idea, I am so happy you had such a great week with your family and especially your grandsons.....be well my friend.......:-) Hugs

Mickle in NZ said...

I like Walter's face, and that he has a definate character. I had a Great Uncle Walter.

Rose said...

What a wonderful place! It's nice to know that these donkeys have such a beautiful place to enjoy their retirement. Walter Bailey doesn't sound like the best-tempered creature, but I'm sure he appreciates your support nevertheless, Maggie. Enjoy the rest of your holiday!

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

What a wonderful place Maggie. I have never visited a doney sanctuary but it will go onto my "bucket list". Lovely to meet Walter Bailey too. A

Suldog said...

That's a wonderful story, Maggie, and it sounds like a truly interesting place to visit.

MY WIFE once bought me sponsorship of a bobcat for my birthday. I'd always gone on about how I wanted to own one someday (while knowing it was a lunatic idea) so she made a donation in my name, to an animal sanctuary nearby, and I was mad "owner" of the bobcats for a year! So, I can certainly appreciate your new "pet"!

imbeingheldhostage said...

That is a great cause! It would make a nice gift for someone who has everything. Your donkey is lovely :-)