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Donkey ‘finishing school’ students make great strides towards new lives 

The first students in the first “finishing school” for donkeys are making “great strides” towards their new lives.

While finishing schools for young ladies may teach deportment and social graces, the Donkey Sanctuary’s new unit is similar in that it aims to provide education that will benefit its students for life.

The aim is to prepare donkeys for new lives with guardians, who are supported by the charity’s welfare advisors.

Unit supervisor Kerry Layton-Hill said: “It’s a bit of a finishing school for donkeys; we will expose them to things that they would find in their new homes and can tailor the training to a home’s needs too. We help the donkeys grow in confidence.”

The “school” comprises three shelters, each housing 12 donkeys. Through specialist training and exposure to new experiences, donkeys can be “primed for graduation into their new guardian homes”.

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A sanctuary spokesman said: “Most donkeys would be suitable for rehoming at some point, though they have to pass a certain set of criteria to make the grade. Grooms look at the fitness, health, behaviour and experience of donkeys to ascertain whether they are ready for a home.

“Donkeys at the unit are exposed to new experiences, from walking on tracks alongside noisy roads to meeting someone carrying an umbrella – seemingly trivial, yet potentially unnerving things they won’t have come across during life at the sanctuary.”

Ms Layton-Hill added. “It’s brilliant to see the donkeys make such great progress, from being a little nervous to gaining confidence before going out to their new homes – it’s just amazing.”

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