Five years ago the cattle-dealers of Arriondas came to drop off a friendly little donkey with curly hair. As this happened the day before our great helper Leo went back to Holland, the donkey was named Leo after him. Leo immediately adopted him and has done so ever since. Last Saturday night little Leo left us and his fellow donkeys forever.
Leo had the most piercing bray imaginable; when he started braying we all ran out to see what was happening. But he soon gave up braying and became one of the quietest, friendliest inhabitants of the Donkey Paradise.
Last Saturday he seemed a bit feverish and was given penicillin twice. He hardly touched his food. In the evening he lay down and he died very early the following morning.
Rest in peace, little Leo. If there exists a donkey heaven, you will most certainly be there. The people that have known you while you were here, will always remember you with love and affection.
For more photos of Leo and to see a lovely photo of Leo with Leo his sponsor follow this link: http://www.paraisodelburro.com/pictures/animals/donkeys/leo/index.php
A yearly recurring event is the autumn apple harvest, as the land of the Donkey Paradise has lots of apple trees with cider apples.
It’s not always easy to carry out all the donkey-related tasks ánd collect all the apples, but this year we were fortunate enough to have a lot of helpers. They had to shake the apples from the trees and put them in 30-kilo bags. These bags will then be taken to the village, where they are collected by the truck from a cider factory in Nava.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of the helpers and the warm weather we were able to collect 10.000 kilos! The money is used for necessary reforms of the buildings.
The pictures below will give you an impression of this year’s apple harvest and the amount of work done by a lot of wonderful volunteers! Marleen
Friends of the Donkey Paradise spotted an old little donkey in a country lane, in the blazing sun without water or anything to eat. So they stopped to give him some water. Only then did they see that his hooves were extremely long – too long for him to walk. So they contacted us and asked us what could be done.
One of our volunteers went to see the animal straight away. He also contacted our farrier, who came and cut the donkey’s hooves. Fortunately little old Alfredo was then brought over to the Donkey Paradise, where he will be taken good care of from now on. Little by little he is settling in.
On the photo: Nico (brown), another very old donkey, has come over to welcome Alfredo (white) in the Donkey Paradise.
Most of our donkeys are elderly and require a lot of car. We are a small charity and we depend upon donations to continue our work. If you would like to sponsor one of our donkeys you can find more details on this blog or on our website. Your help is needed and is greatly appreciated.
The majority of the donkeys we welcome to El Paraiso del Burro have problems with their hooves, many of which are severe, as they have never been seen by a farrier before. Donkeys naturally live in dry, stony conditions and are not used to the damp atmosphere and green pastures of Asturias. Their feet absorb more water than a horse’s hoof and they are prone to Laminitis and to wounds and infections of the foot. It is therefore important to check the hooves of the donkeys on a regular basis in order to be able to act quickly to stop infection from spreading and to keep the hoof as clean as possible.
The donkeys at El Paraiso del Burro are seen by a farrier four times a year and, in between, we check and clean the hooves of all the donkeys. Frieda has some severe problems due to poor care in her past. Here we can see Frieda’s foot being cleaned by Simone to remove dirt and stones; the foot is then washed with sterile water, a “frog” antiseptic is used to prevent the spread of any infection and Simone then covers her foot with a pad to help support her legs and to keep her feet clean during the day. At night, when Frieda returns to the clean, dry stable, her pads are removed so that the air can circulate around the foot.
Frieda is a good donkey. She is used to standing quite still whilst her feet are cleaned. At first she is not too keen to walk on her “pads” but very quickly she adapts and seems to walk better as the foot is less sore.
The t-shirts we now have for sale to visitors of the donkey sanctuary are a great success. In less than a month we have already sold out some of the models and colours! In the photo the volunteers at our August Open Day are wearing some of the models. The print was designed by Lidia Fanjul, a young Asturian artist who gives art workshops.
It has been a very busy couple of months at the Donkey Paradise, but luckily there have also been lots of wonderful volunteers from all over Europe, and beyond, to help with the work and activities. Also, Marleen was happy to have her daughter, Grietje, and her family over for a holiday with her and the animals.
We have a lovely new donkey called Matias. He is quite old and unfortunately has not had a good life so he will need some care and attention but he already has a kind sponsor – Ria. He was very wary at first but he is responding to love and attention and he has the loudest bray which Marleen likens to the siren of a boat in the fog!
Some dear friends of the Donkey Paradise, Frank and Helma came again from Holland for their summer holiday, which is more like a working holiday. This time they brought with them an enormous trailer loaded with goodies – a beautiful wooden house and a car port. The car port will be used mainly as a shelter for the dogs as it can get extremely hot here in the summer months. Thank you to Helma and Frank and to those who helped them in the erecting of these buildings. The summer house will have a special use – more about this in a later blog.
At the beginning of August we held our Open Day and this was well-attended and enjoyed by donkeys and visitors alike. Perhaps you can pick out some of the donkeys you know in these photos.
Last week, a well-loved donkey, Norbert, passed away naturally of old-age. Everyone loved Norbert. He was the gentle giant and we will miss him dearly as he has lived at the Paraiso practically since the beginning when Marleen had only a few donkeys. Norbert was very old, as are most of the donkeys here, but up until the end he enjoyed his food and he liked to go outside in the fresh air for a few hours each day. He had great patience and a calm manner. His great friend was Jelle and they were always together until Jelle died a few years ago now. In memory of Norbert, of Jelle, and of all the donkeys who have been with us for a while but sadly are no longer with us, here are some photos of various corners of the Donkey Paradise that they will have passed by over the years.
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.
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.
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!