A trio of donkeys are looking to spend their first Christmas in their new home in Wales as part of The Donkey Sanctuary’s rehoming scheme.

Crixus, Edric and Ferguson have landed on their hooves, and now live with their new guardians in the Denbighshire countryside.

Jo Meehan and Vinny Forde had been supporters of the charity for many years, although their only experience of donkeys had been meeting some that lived near their previous home in Lancashire, and they would stop and see them whenever they passed their field.

Edric (fore), Crixus (left) and Ferguson (right) in snow. Credit: The Donkey Sanctuary

They also read in the charity’s newsletter about how the experience of rehoming a pair of donkeys had been life changing for both the donkeys and guardians, and when they decided to move to Wales, the idea of rehoming donkeys began to form.

Before joining the Rehoming Scheme, Crixus, Edric and Ferguson were part of the herd at The Donkey Sanctuary’s regional centre in Manchester, where they supported vulnerable members of the community through a range of donkey-assisted activities.

The ground-based activities support the development of people’s life skills and wellbeing, helping individuals to better deal with challenges in everyday life, while also promoting positive attitudes towards donkeys.

Ferguson. Credit: The Donkey Sanctuary

With no previous equine experience, Jo and Vinny’s journey began with The Donkey Sanctuary first assessing their suitability. They were then given an idea of the commitment they needed in order to provide a guardian home for the charity’s donkeys.

After being identified as suitable rehomers, the couple undertook the first part of their training online due to the lockdown. They also used this time to get their land and shelter prepared for the donkeys.

Once restrictions were lifted, Jo and Vinny were able to visit the Manchester sanctuary and meet the donkeys. Over a period of time they received further hands on training and in July, the donkeys left the sanctuary to join Jo and Vinny in Wales.

Jo stroking Ferguson, with Edric (middle) and Crixus/Spud (right). Credit: The Donkey Sanctuary

The donkeys are thriving in their new home. Crixus, who Jo has renamed Spud after her father’s pet name for her, spends lots of time with Edric, often grooming each other and sharing playtime with a hula-hoop or a welly boot, while Ferguson enjoys a run around with Spud.

“We can’t imagine life without them now,” Jo said. “They are really settling in and every day we see a little more progress with them. It is a lot of work, but we honestly love every minute of it. I never realised just how therapeutic and good for the soul poo picking could be!”

Jo said plans were being made for the donkeys first Christmas with them.

Ferguson and Vinny. Credit: The Donkey Sanctuary

“I’m sure there will be some special Christmas vegetable themed enrichments for them, and they like to play with empty cardboard boxes, so they will have lots of fun,” she said.

“I think they are all hoping that Father Christmas brings us some new wellies, as they have been eyeing up the ones we wear now. They seem to like us singing, so I’ve started singing some Christmas carols to them – Little Donkey obviously, to get them in the festive mood!”

To fond uot more about The Donkey Sanctuary’s rehoming scheme, click here.

Jo, Crixus (Spud) and Vinny. Credit: The Donkey Sanctuary

Lead image Edric (left), Ferguson (Mid) and Crixus (Spud). Credit: The Donkey Sanctuary

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