A mourning donkey who lost his companion has been given a new lease of life thanks to being introduced a rescue donkey from The Donkey Sanctuary.

Lewis (pictured top) joined the herd at Woods, one of the Donkey Sanctuary farms near Sidmouth, Devon, a number of years ago, along with a donkey named Calmer. Lewis was the more confident of the pair and enjoyed human interaction, while Calmer, a larger donkey was much more wary, and would stand behind Lewis for reassurance.

Over time, Calmer developed a bond with another donkey, which left Lewis on his own. Staff at Woods waited to see if Lewis would make any new stablemates, but sadly he didn’t. However, it became clear that Lewis had the potential to join the Rehoming Scheme, so he was put through for consideration and was selected for rehoming.

To help build his confidence and get him used to being in new surroundings before moving to a Guardian home, the 16-year-old gelding was moved to the sanctuary’s Donkey Assisted Activities centre at the Sidmouth sanctuary. Here he spent some time among the herd who support members of the community through the DAA programmes before he was ready for his new home in Suffolk, with donkey Barney, and Guardians Jo and Paul Willis.

A new start for Lewis and Barney

Barney had lived with his close companion Daisy and their owners at their home near Ipswich for just two and a half years, after Daisy had lost her own companion Bella.

Barney and Daisy were “inseparable”, but sadly their friendship was short-lived as Daisy became very unwell, and on veterinary advice her owners made the difficult decision to put her to sleep.

Since being introduced, Lewis and Barney have started forming a close bond. After having owned donkeys and horses for more than 30 years, Jo is delighted to see Barney and Lewis developing their friendship.

“Lewis is very forward and inquisitive, very much in your face, while Barney is much more reserved,” she said. “He is a typical boy, always wanting to find a muddy patch to roll in, whereas Lewis is the opposite and keeps himself as clean as possible!

“Both like being groomed, although if Barney is being groomed, Lewis will get in the way in order to get his turn with the brush.

“I think what I love the most about donkeys are their ears, and the fact they like to rest their heads on your shoulders, they are so much fun to be around.

“I often see them cantering around the paddock and think that Lewis has finally given Barney a spring back in his step.”

Jessica Bush, Donkey Welfare Adviser, was delighted to see how well Lewis has settled in and how much of a bond these donkeys already have with each other.

“They both have a fantastic home and are very well loved – such lucky donkeys,” she added.

If you are able to offer a loving home to donkeys like Lewis and Barney, visit the Donkey Sanctuary’s rehoming page.

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