Monthly Archives: March 2012

The donkeys at “El Paraiso del Burro”

These are the donkeys that are currently living at the Donkey Paradise (“Paraiso del Burro”). However, we also care for a few horses, mules, dogs and cats. You can come to visit the animals by attending one of the Open Days (more details on the blog, the webpage and facebook) or by coming to stay and working as a Volunteer helper. Lynn

Marcelo the Magnificent… Catherina

Out of the sunny blue sky you arrived here,
As you needed a home to be safe and warm,
You came from a rubbish dump which was quite near,
But your past situation was far from the norm.

You had suffered a great deal and had a lot to bear,
The wounds and scars from the past were clear to see,
Then the light shone through kind hands that care,
And this is how it came to be.

A beautiful lost soul appeared at donkey paradise,
Food, water and love in an environment to nourish,
Your road to happiness was starting to look nice,
This was the place where you could flourish.


Marleen and Marcelo

Marcelo arrived here in September 2011 from Gijon. The age of Marcelo is unknown but we know he was an old donkey. A woman called Leo, who lived in an apartment overlooking the dump had noticed Marcelo and was concerned for his welfare. Leo had been so kind and gave him food and water as no one else appeared to do so. She witnessed a few people that would pass by and beat him. She had no space to keep Marcelo herself and did not want to leave him there. Leo found out who owned Marcelo and bought him off the farmer. Leo contacted Marleen to come and collect him straight away in order to give him a good home.
In mid January 2012 Marcello became ill with bronchitis and fluid in his lungs. His breathing became heavier and in spite of all the help form Marleen, the volunteers, vet visits and medication Marcello died naturally on Saturday 25th February 2012.

Dean and Marcelo

Curious Calimero……by Catherina

I Love to jump,
I love to play,
The fields are so plentiful,
And there’s lots of hay.

There is a lot to see,
And lots to do,
I run around,
And Chulo joins in too.

I was on my own,
Where I was before,
I like it here,
And will stay forever more

Calimero is a donkey who arrived at Paraiso Del Burro in January 2012. He is 29 years old. His previous owner Jose had Calimero as a working donkey but more so as the family pet. His children were all grown up and felt Calimero needed the company of other donkeys. Jose was unable to care for Calimero due to his own health and was happy in knowing that Calimero would be going to a good environment and would be well looked after.
Catherina Davis

Sammy’s Straw Shower………………….by Catherina

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Sammy’s straw shower

Each day when we awake,
Through the beauty of the mist,
The silence is awoken,
Hungry donkeys we assist.

In turn they are all fed,
But wee Sammy’s perfect ideal,
Is to have a straw shower,
This has a certain appeal.

If we are not quick enough,
And wee Sammy is waiting there,
He takes it upon himself,
As its straw he likes to wear.

Wee Sammy the adventurer,
Who wanders the fields all day,
Straw showers are his favourite,
And he also likes to play.

By Catherina Davis

It’s almost spring at the Donkey Paradise…………by Lynn

Spring has almost arrived at the Donkey Paradise (Paraiso del Burro) and as usual Marleen and her team of volunteers from around the World are all kept very busy. Peter and I live in Asturias and we go to do some voluntary work almost every Monday morning and there is always a lot to do. By the time we arrive, the resident volunteers have usually finished the morning feeding of the donkeys and cleaning of the stables.

This week, Marleen introduced us to the beautiful new donkey, Rosie who has only been there for a few days. Marleen went to see her after a neighbor had telephoned to report a donkey that was not being looked after properly. Marleen then decided that Rosie would come to live at the Paraiso as she was in a rather sorry state with severely deformed front hooves and sores on her back. She was living in a small field, high up on a hillside with no extra food or water.

Rosie is now settling in well and is sharing a small stable with Calimero another recent inhabitant at the Paraiso. During the day, she spends her time browsing on hay and grass in the garden with Hannah. I started work brushing both Hannah and Rosie, who was a joy to brush. Later, I was joined by another Volunteer called Rachel who comes from Switzerland and together we brushed all the other donkeys.
Calimero was standing in the yard outside stable number one. He too loves to be brushed and he’s a friendly and sturdy animal. He came to the Paraiso a few weeks ago because his owner could no longer keep him. He had been well looked after, although he is a little overweight, and he seems to enjoy human company.
There was a lot going on around the grounds on Monday. All the volunteers got together for coffee and cake at around 11.30 a.m. and this gave us time for a chat and a time to relax a little.
During the day, other volunteers were working on various projects. Bob has been working on a project to build a compound for the dogs as they are growing in number and now need a place of their own to run about in. This will mean that they do not need to be tied up for part of the day to ensure they don’t stray onto neighboring land and it will be a great place for the them all when it is finished. Bob has been helped throughout the project by John and Alan from the U.S.A.
Luke and Helen, from Belgium, are back at the moment too. They first came to the Paraiso around Christmas time 2010 and have since been touring through Spain and Portugal and doing other voluntary work en route. They are working on building a compost toilet and are being helped by Patrick from Switzerland. Helen and Luke have two donkeys of their own and they travel around with them in their own horse box. How wonderful for them.
Peter and Wim, a volunteer from Holland, were carrying out various small but necessary tasks around the house and grounds. There is always something that needs to be repaired such as a gate or fence, lamps need to be changed and shelves to be built. This list is endless. Peter was recently involved in the provision of music for the stables and the music centre was kindly donated by Christian, a friend of Catherina’s from Ireland. The music is aimed at calming the donkeys and making them feel more at ease. We are not sure if it works on the donkeys but it certainly helps the volunteers.
Catherina was exercising the dogs and taking them for walks around the finca (the grounds). Later she prepared a wonderful feast for the volunteers’ lunch. Often Marleen will help with the food preparation and she is always around to check on the health of the donkeys and other animals and to ensure the smooth running of the refuge in her calm and caring way.