Lewis the donkey has a spring in his step as friendship blossoms

Lewis the donkey has a spring in his step as friendship blossoms
Lewis at Sidmouth Sanctuary - Photo supplied by The Donkey Sanctuary

By Jill Dando News

A donkey named Lewis, who was given a new home through The Donkey Sanctuary's Rehoming Scheme, has put a spring in the step of his new companion who was mourning the loss of his own close friend.

Lewis leaving Sidmouth Sanctuary - Photo supplied by The Donkey Sanctuary

Lewis joined the herd at Woods, one of the animal welfare charity's farms near Sidmouth, Devon, a number of years ago, along with a donkey named Calmer.

Lewis was the more confident of the pair and enjoyed human interaction, while Calmer, a much larger donkey who would tower over him, was much more wary, and would stand behind Lewis for reassurance.

Over time, Calmer developed a bond with another donkey, which left Lewis on his own.

Lewis and Barney - Photo supplied by The Donkey Sanctuary

Staff at Woods waited to see if Lewis would make any new friendships, but sadly he didn’t.

However, it became clear that Lewis had the potential to join the Rehoming Scheme, so he was put through for consideration and was selected for rehoming.

To help build his confidence and get him used to being in new surroundings before moving to a Guardian home, the 16-year-old gelding was moved to the sanctuary's Donkey Assisted Activities centre at the Sidmouth sanctuary, just a few miles away from his home at Woods.

Here he spent some time among the herd who support members of the community through the DAA programmes before he was ready for his new home in Suffolk.

Lewis and Barney - Photo supplied by The Donkey Sanctuary

After making the journey from Devon, Lewis slowly walked down the ramp of the equine transporter and into his new home with Barney, and Guardians Jo and Paul Willis.

 Barney had lived with his close companion Daisy and their owners at their home near Ipswich for just two and a half years, after Daisy had lost her own companion Bella.

Lewis - Photo supplied by The Donkey Sanctuary

Barney and Daisy were inseparable, but sadly their close friendship was short-lived as Daisy became extremely poorly, and on veterinary advice her owners made the heart-wrenching decision to put her to sleep.

Since being introduced, Lewis and Barney have started forming a close bond. They both have unique characters, and they complement each other beautifully.


After having owned donkeys and horses for more than 30 years, Jo is delighted to see Barney and Lewis developing their friendship. She explained: “Lewis is very forward and inquisitive, very much in your face, while Barney is much more reserved. He is a typical boy, always wanting to find a muddy patch to roll in, whereas Lewis is the opposite and keeps himself as clean as possible!

 “Both like being groomed, although if Barney is being groomed, Lewis will get in the way in order to get his turn with the brush.

 “I think what I love the most about donkeys are their ears, and the fact they like to rest their heads on your shoulders, they are so much fun to be around.”

 Both donkeys are now assured of a loving home for life, with Lewis enriching the life of his new companion Barney.

Lewis and Barney - Photo supplied by The Donkey Sanctuary

 Jessica Bush, Donkey Welfare Adviser, said: “I have been out to visit a few times and it is amazing to see how well Lewis has settled in and how much of a bond these donkeys already have with each other. They both have a fantastic home and are very well loved – such lucky donkeys.”

 Jo added: “I often see them cantering around the paddock and think that Lewis has finally given Barney a spring back in his step.”


If you are able to offer a loving home to donkeys like Lewis and Barney, The Donkey Sanctuary would love to hear from you. Please visit their rehoming page: https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/support-us/rehoming-scheme

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