Sweet! Royally named donkey foal celebrates first birthday

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Sweet Pea, who has just turned one, was named by the Duchess of Cornwall. © The Donkey Sanctuary
Sweet Pea, who has just turned one, was named by the Duchess of Cornwall. © The Donkey Sanctuary

The donkey foal named Sweet Pea by Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, during her visit last year to The Donkey Sanctuary’s international headquarters in Devon, has celebrated her first birthday.

A year ago today, on July 17, the Duchess visited the Sidmouth based charity to commemorate its 50th anniversary year. It was also Camilla’s birthday, and she was honoured with naming the new arrival. A year later, grooms at the animal welfare charity have shared some new pictures of Sweet Pea and revealed that she has formed a special friendship with another foal named Sam, who was orphaned at birth.

Sweet Pea as a foal. © The Donkey Sanctuary

Sweet Pea and Sam are of a similar age and temperament, and the two young donkeys bonded almost instantly when they were introduced in early June. Lisa Coles, one of Sweet Pea’s grooms said: “It was so sweet because never having been in such close proximity to other donkeys before, the usually confident Sweet Pea became slightly coy around Sam, peeping out from behind her mum to check him out!”

Liza Macmaster, Farm Supervisor, The Donkey Sanctuary said: “Sweet Pea has been a delight to look after from day one. She has a warm personality and always enjoys extra, loving cuddles and scratches. She also enjoys being around people and is a firm favourite with the grooms.”

Sweet Pea’s mum, Poppy, was in foal when she was relinquished to The Donkey Sanctuary after her owner could no longer care for her. Ever since she was born, on the summer solstice  (June 21) last year, Sweet Pea has been the darling of the herd at the charity’s Paccombe Farm near Sidford.

Sam came into The Donkey Sanctuary’s care in December 2018, after being orphaned at birth. In the company of Sweet Pea he has grown into himself and become a dependable companion, encouraging her to play with gumboots and toys, which she was previously reluctant to do. Staff at The Donkey Sanctuary use gumboots, toys and foraging for food as enrichment activities to ensure the mental and physical well-being of the donkeys.

From left, Sam, Poppy and Sweet Pea.
From left, Sam, Poppy and Sweet Pea. © The Donkey Sanctuary

Ultimately, the pair are ideal candidates for the charity’s Rehoming scheme because of their calm, friendly nature. But they are still very young and will require further training. So, for now, they will continue to thrive in the dedicated and professional care of The Donkey Sanctuary.

The Donkey Sanctuary is a global leader for equine welfare, research and veterinary care. The charity operates programmes worldwide for animals working in agriculture, industry and transportation.

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