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Special Support from Enoch the Donkey

Enoch the Donkey

As well as our sponsored riders, we also support some smaller organisations which aren’t always so well-known. One of these is Bryndaffyd Animal Assisted Therapy which is based in Wales and uses donkeys to provide therapy to those in need.

Ann Slater, who runs the organisation, is often asked ‘Why do you believe in animal assisted therapy? And this was her very touching answer…

“I took Enoch (my best ‘pal’ donkey) to a nursing home we regularly visit near Carmarthen. After spending some time with his regular friends (residents at the home), we were heading along the corridor to the day room. The nurse asked us to stop by a closed bedroom door. She explained that the gentleman in the room had closed down on his life and had instructed to be left alone for all but essential care. The nurse came out, surprised that this gentleman had agreed to see us.

“Enoch the donkey and I entered his room and the man gestured for me to sit near his bed. He sent the nurse out and requested the door be closed. I introduced myself and Enoch. My – how this donkey knows his job! He came to the side of the bed and stopped just close enough to put his nose into the crook of this man’s neck. After some silent time the elderly gentleman began to speak. He asked me to help his hand and arm hold my donkey’s head close to his face.

As he was head to head and hugging Enoch from his bed, he said: “Since my wife died, my life has had no point. Since my legs and arms stopped working, my life has had no point. Since I need help to do basic life tasks such as eating and going to the bathroom, my life has no point. Since my son moved abroad and all my friends left this world, my life has had no point. In fact, since my wife died, not a single day has had a purpose… not a single day…until today! Thank you!”

“We were both crying.

“After an hour, I asked if he would he like us to visit again?

“Yes please”, he said, “but the thing is, I don’t think I’ll be here much longer. If I should still be waiting to be called , I would gladly spend some of that time with this very special animal.”

“And that’s why we do it! That’s why I believe in animal assisted therapy.”

Said Ann: ““Almost anyone can benefit from donkey therapy, young or old. We have had some especially positive outcomes from young people with autism and older folk with dementia following Enoch’s visits.

“Enoch is currently undertaking an Active Donkey Award which means he has to succeed at eight activities. If he keeps that up for five years, he is short-listed for the prestigious ‘Donkey Ambassador for the UK’ award.”

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