Kate’s pictorial memories of El Paraiso del Burro

Many of the volunteers, who come to El Paraíso del Burro to work, enjoy taking photos of the animals and the environment to remind them of their stay.  Such photos often give us a different perspective on life at the refuge and are greatly valued and enjoyed for this reason.  

These beautiful photos have been shared by volunteer Kate who came here in the springtime. Kate was happy for us to share her photos with you and we hope that you will enjoy them as much as we do.

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Adios, Lua……………………….Marleen

It was love at first sight, Lua. When I looked into your eyes, I knew your place was with me.


You settled in well with the dogs, cats, donkeys and horses. After years of being tied down, you enjoyed your freedom here and even jumped and played around like a giant puppy.


And then the limping started. I didn’t think much of it at first, but it turned out to be the worst of the worst: bone cancer in your shoulder – very painful, very fast growing. You lost your regained joy of life and even stopped liking your food. So the vet came to end your life in the best possible way, given the circumstances.


I had to let you go but I think of you each and every day.  I will love you always, Lua ……….adiós.Image

Donkey Care International………………….by Marleen

Love for donkeys is not just a Dutch thing, judging by the volunteers in our Donkey Paradise who come from all over the world.
At this moment for instance we have volunteers from Spain (of course!), England, Sweden, Hungary, Belgium, Italy and Venezuela. In the past we also had helpers from Australia, United States, New-Zealand, Lithuania, Finland and even China!

It’s always a great experience to get to know people from other countries and cultures, although the language that we speak in the Donkey Paradise is sometimes a strange mix of everything!

Front left to right: Alice (Sweden), Simon (U.K.), Isabel (Spain), Daniel (Venezuela) Back left to right: Chiara (Italy), Kim (Belgium), Rita (Hungaria), Lisa (Sweden)

Front left to right: Alice (Sweden), Simon (U.K.), Isabel (Spain), Daniel (Venezuela)
Back left to right: Chiara (Italy), Kim (Belgium), Rita (Hungaria), Lisa (Sweden)

Dogs running for donkeys………………………….by Marleen


It was the last Sunday of March in Celorio, Llanes, in cold and sometimes rainy weather, when about 50 dog owners and their excited dogs ran the first CANICROSS of eastern Asturias. The couples ran over different distances and one event even involved cycling with a dog. The event was closed after the final run, in which children ran with their pets over a distance of about half a kilometer.

The “Llanes Canicross” was a charity event; the money paid for participation was destined for the donkeys of the Donkey Paradise. For this great initiative and the fantastic result, amounting to 350 Euros, we would like to thank the organisers and the participants – humans and animals – from our hearts!





Thank you to Anuska for taking the photographs.

Our first Art Workshop

Sunday 30th March was a beautiful sunny day for the first “Art Workshop” to be held at the Paraíso del Burro.  The event was a relaxed and happy affair with a mix of adults and children taking part.  The event leader was Lydia who demonstrated the techniques needed to create and print some wonderful pictures, mainly relating to animals and nature but totally personal and without the need for any previous experience. 

In the morning we learned how to create our pictures using a variety of materials which were glued into place onto thick card.  Almost any material can be used: card, fabrics, ribbon, flowers, tea, coffee…  You are totally free to let your imagination flow.

All work stopped for lunch and everyone enjoyed a picnic in the open air with a variety of food provided by all in attendance and shared between everyone – both volunteers and those attending the workshop.

The afternoon session involved the printing of the prepared work and the revealing of the finished article.  Once your picture has been created it has to be painted over with a water-based paint and prepared in readiness for printing.  It is then covered with dampened printing paper and passed through the “press”.  This was the most exciting part of the day for everyone as they peeled back the paper to reveal the finished article to gasps of amazement and joy. 

What a fabulous day we all had and grateful thanks go out to Anuska for organizing the event and to Lydia for supplying all the materials and demonstrating the techniques in such a clear and patient manner.

The artwork will be on display and available for purchase at our next Open Day on Sunday 6th April from 12pm.ImageImageImageImageImage

ALL ABOUT AISHA By Catherina Davis

AISHA, is one of the dogs that i met and spent time with every day during my time at paraiso del burro. When i left the sanctuary after being there for nearly two years the memory and the love i felt for aisha was always with me.Through conversations with Marleen and planning, my friend  Christian and i made the epic journey from Ireland by boat to collect Aisha and it was worth it .

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Thank you Aisha for being in my life. You show me the way and shine the light with your open heart and gentle energy..I will forever love you.

Below is a slideshow of photos from the time we spent in Spain along with other volunteers, our journey by boat with my friend Christian and some photos of AISHA in Ireland.


Sun and snow-capped mountains

It has been a while since I wrote my last blog.  January was rather wet here in Northern Spain and the donkeys spent a lot of time indoors.  Fortunately, February has been a lot better.  Yes, we have had a lot of wind but there has been less rain and we have had a lot of sunny days.  Everyone feels much better and the donkeys can go outside more and they are so much happier.

Picos de Europa

Picos de Europa






Today was a beautiful sunny day.  The sun was shining upon the snow-capped peaks of the Picos de Europa mountains which can just be glimpsed from the Paraiso del burro (Donkey Paradise) but the best views are to be found just along the lane when you turn right into the village of Arobes.






Feeding bowls

Feeding bowls





At the Paraiso del burro, the care of the animals is of the greatest importance and key to their wellbeing is the work of the volunteers who rise early in the morning to feed and water the animals and clean out their stables.  Daily routine is important here and volunteers need to quickly learn the routine tasks such as cleaning the stables, replenishing the water buckets, washing the feeding bowls and cutting up the carrots and apples for the donkeys’ me






Donkey brushes

Donkey brushes





Today, the donkeys’ brushes needed to be cleaned and disinfected – not part of the daily routine but one of those tasks that need to be done regularly.








New pathway

New pathway





After the routine work, the volunteers might like to work on a project.  At the moment there is an on-going project to lay a gravel path from the stables down to the stream as this area is very slippery for both animals and humans in wet weather.  The projects are many and varied to suit a variety of interests and skills from animal care to gardening and building skills and anything in between, in fact the volunteers often come up with their own ideas for projects.






Alina and Chulo

Alina and Chulo







But it is not all work at the Donkey Paradise and everyone has time to relax and unwind and enjoy all that this beautiful area of Asturias has to offer.

The large barn

The large barn

Work has started again, after the Christmas break, on installing a new roof on the large barn which houses the food-store for the animals and the utility areas. During the holiday this area was covered by a large tarpaulin which thankfully withstood the high winds of the period. What a useful area this will be when the roof is finished and we will have a dry area for a change with no leaks in the roof. This work is funded by the sale of the apples from the apple trees on the land for the production of cider. Thank you to Martin, the builder, and to volunteer Steve for all the hard work they are putting in. It is really appreciated.

The Horses’ Shelter

The Horses' Shelter

Did you know that we now have a shelter for the horses at “El Paraíso del Burro”? This was started some time ago but never quite finished. Before they left, Michael and Maria put in a lot of time and effort to finish it. Doesn’t it look good? It is now a fine place for the horses to shelter from the wind and rain.

Not only a paradise for donkeys…………..by Marleen Stroes (a volunteer)

The “Paradise” in Arobes isn’t only a paradise for donkeys. The first morning of my visit I found these two beautiful cats Pepper and Canela lying very comfortable on my bed.Image

After a gorgeous lunch I sat down in the field and looked into the happy faces of Kari and Mara..


Then I felt something sitting beside me making a very happy sound..it was Arvo snoring.  



Running out of her space in the stables came Ronja and the sound of a purring cat joined Arvo. 



But of course do not forget the donkeys…here Rosie is taking Ronja for a ride though the garden..



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