Dressed in a Santa hat and red Christmas blanket, a miniature four-legged friend dropped into a Sanctuary Care home in Exmouth as residents celebrated the festive season.
Mediterranean Miniature donkey Juniper, who is the size of a Great Dane dog, trotted along to visit residents of Fernihurst Nursing Home last week.
The 14-year-old, who is from The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, is renowned for his gentle nature and loves meeting people.
The home’s activities leader Hazel Tribble said: “Our residents absolutely loved Juniper’s visit. Their faces lit up when they saw him – he was good as gold and so patient. It really put everyone in such a festive mood.”
When asked how he felt about the donkey’s visit resident Ernest Tooze, 86, said: “It was great – it was very nice of him to come and see us. He had a lovely soft nose.”
The Donkey Sanctuary is a registered charity that has sanctuaries across Europe. The charity cares for donkeys that have been rescued from cruelty and also those that have been brought in by their owners, who are no longer able to care for them because of financial hardship.
The donkeys are primarily used for riding therapy for children with additional needs but also as animal therapy for older people in care homes, particularly those living with dementia.