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 .

Doggy Pics 482

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..


Our October Open Day

This lovely video was taken by a visitor to the Open Day.

Frieda…………..Our latest arrival

A short while ago, a new donkey arrived at the “Paraíso del Burro”.  Her name is Freida and she came from a loving family near Aviles, one of the main cities of Asturias.  She is a rather shy lady and is settling in slowly, getting to know her donkey friends.  Of course she probably hasn’t seen so many of her own species in one place before now.  As is often the case here in Asturias, her elderly owners could no longer manage to look after her and they were sad to see her go.  Like many donkeys of her age, Frieda has arthritis in her legs and her hooves will also need some attention.  To me, she looks very much like Flora and she has a sweet and surprised look about her.  What do you think?Image

Walking with Donkeys

This year, for the first time, “El Paraíso del Burro” has acted as a host to people who wish to “Walk with donkeys”.  The walks are organized by Astrid and Thomas at Camping Fontebona , a tranquil camp site for nature lovers near Infiesto, and the protagonists of the project  are the lovely Añes and Lola, formerly of the Paraiso but now adopted by Astrid and Thomas.

The “Walking with Donkeys” project is open to anyone, but particularly to people who are camping at Fontebona camp site, and consists of a 4 day walk of around 14 km per day from the campsite to the Paraiso and back, mainly via green routes and tranquil country lanes.  At the end of each day the walkers, accompanied by Añes and Lola, are accommodated in guest houses (nights 1 and 3) and at the Paraiso (night 2).   This gives the participants a chance to meet the donkeys and other animals here at the Paraiso and also, to enjoy some local hospitality.  Along the way, there is never a dull moment as many local people get to know about the donkey walking and will help out with directions and “advice”.  On the day before the start of the journey there is a familiarization walk of 5km so that walkers can get to know their donkey friends and gain the knowledge they will need for their journey.

The photographs, taken by Astrid and Thomas, show some of the first families to enjoy this new experience as they set off on their journey.

For more information:  www.fontebona.es


The Music of Brian Smith at the “Paraiso del Burro”

On Friday 20th September at 5 p.m. the “Paraiso del Burro” will be the location for a performance by Brian Smith – a singer-songwriter from the USA.

You are invited to come along and enjoy his music in a peaceful and beautiful location and to bring with you some food and drink to share.
You are also invited to bring along family and friends. There is no entry charge and the hat will be passed around after the performance.




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