Blog Archives

Happy New Year

It has been another busy year at El Paraiso del Burro with several new donkeys to care for and a lot of ongoing maintenance around the land. We have had a steady stream of Volunteers over the year whose contribution has been greatly valued and appreciated.

"That feels good"

A great big thank you to all our supporters and volunteers not only to those here in Spain and the Netherlands but also to those who continue to support us from other parts of the world. There is no doubt that 2010 will bring yet more challenges for us here but with good health and hard work we will continue to be happy and content in our work caring for older and retired Donkeys. We wish you a prosperous and healthy New Year, best wishes, Marlene and the team…….and not forgetting the Donkeys!

2010 is going to be a good year!


Paradise……:-) by Sarah

Sarah and Todd from Australia recently spent several weeks here at El Paraiso del Burro – here is Sarah’s story of their stay:  Part 1.

What a beautiful part of the world….And I don’t mean just for the donkeys!!! Are you a animal activist? An environmentalist? Because in reality you only need to be someone who knows someone who knows Marleen and you could help out a little around the Paradise.

Time to relax in Paradise.

She really isn’t fussed, Marleen is just doing what she can to help the world be a better place, and she‘s doing a bloody good job. Marleen makes you feel part of the family and a worthy volunteer of the inner workings of her home!

When we arrived we were shown our caravan and just told to relax – A wine while watching the sunset helped us do just that!  By the way – that isn’t just a one off either! And of course we can’t forget the Donkeys – so cutting up their dinner while having a wine isn’t too taxing and I guess that’s why we’re here J But Marleen wanting us to feel right at home said – “if you don’t feel like helping right now that’s ok” As far as we’re concerned it’s the perfect attitude that encourages you to help where you can!

So for our first couple of days here we were collecting chestnuts because apparently Donkeys, like myself, don’t know when to stop eating something that is bad for them! We obviously weren’t quick enough and Marco was on the ground with his stomach sounding like an approaching thunderstorm – Marleen administered some drugs and Marco was up on his feet again searching for Chestnuts…..I’m sure of it!


Did you know that El Paraiso del Burro has its own page and group on Facebook? Tanja Hedman and Carla Pertejo Nystrom from Sweeden who have just recently spent several months here working as volunteers initially started the group. Hurry back Tanya and Carla – everyone misses you. Why not contribute to the message board on Facebook and join the group? Details are also available of how to make a donation – all contributions are greatly received and used to care for the Donkeys. To find the Page and Group search for Paraiso del Burro.Lola_1.jpg.w300h225


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Michael and Marleen

We rely heavily on volunteers to help us here at El Paraiso del Burro. With 17 Donkeys, 2 horses, 4 dogs, 2 cats, 8 hectares of land and extensive apple orchards there is always plenty of work waiting to be done. Some of our volunteers live locally in Asturias and help us out on a regular basis and many come from further a field, in fact from all over the world. We get some of our volunteers through a programme called WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Last week we were really pleased to see the return of our first ‘wwoofer’  Michael Anton from France who came along to help us again for a few days this time accompanied by his girlfriend Lisa Faller. It was really good to see him again and their help was much appreciated. More about our other volunteers another time. You can find information about ‘WWOOFing’  by accessing the link on the sidebar or if interested in working with us contact us through the information detailed on the ‘About’ tab.

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Michael and Lisa hard at work

Hello world!

Welcome to our new Blog about a Donkey Sanctuary based in Asturias, Northern Spain – known here as ‘El Paraiso Del Burro’. We will be developing this over the next few months and hope it brings of the much needed exposure to encourage volunteers and sponsors. We would love to hear from you so please leave comments – or if you travelling through Asturias, why not come along and see us?

El Paraiso del Burro was established in 2007 by Marleen Verhoef with the aim of giving care and sanctuary to donkeys that can no longer be looked after by their owners or that required a peaceful and caring environment in which to retire. The Sanctuary is currently developing a programme of education that will see opportunities for children, adults and children with disabilities and families to visit the Sanctuary and learn about its important work. El Paraiso del Burro works in Association with the organisation Animales de Oriente. We will tell you more about Marleen in the near future. In the mean time please bookmark this page or subscribe to our posts.


Lola enjoying the warm summer evenings