Donkeys create ‘happy moments’ during dementia-friendly Honiton Memory Cafe visit

Donkeys helped make memories and ‘happy moments’ for a dementia-friendly Honiton group visiting the Sidmouth sanctuary.

Honiton Memory Café friends and volunteers recently returned to The Donkey Sanctuary for the first time since the pandemic.

The group ‘enjoyed some very happy moments’ meeting the donkeys and exploring the grounds, as part of the sanctuary’s Wellbeing with Donkeys programme.


Honiton Memory Cafe visited The Donkey Sanctuary.
Photo: with permission.

Heather Penwarden, Chair of the Honiton Memory Café, said: “We all enjoy creating happy memories to reflect on and to share with others.

“Sometimes however it is ‘the moment’ that is most special, and friends of Honiton Memory Café enjoyed some very happy moments with the donkeys at Sidmouth.”

She thanked the sanctuary staff for making the visit a success.

“For some, the memory of the afternoon will not have lasted long, but everyone went home with smiles on their faces and a warm feeling in their hearts,” she said.


The donkeys enjoyed the visitors’ love and attention.
Photo: with permission.


The donkeys helped the memory cafe visitors have some ‘happy moments’.
Photo: with permission.

Around 30 memory café members visited the donkeys – the first time for the group since before the start of the pandemic.

Big donkey Henry was spotted by staff ‘gently’ resting his head on a memory cafe visitor, while two of the newer animals under the care of the sanctuary, Rupert and Jericho, were seen ‘enjoying the attention’.

Marianne Steele, The Donkey Sanctuary CEO, said: “It was lovely to once again welcome volunteers and friends of the Honiton Memory Café, and great to hear how they and our donkeys benefitted from the special connections they made.”


The visitors spent time with the donkeys.
Photo: with permission.

The Honiton Memory Café was set up in 2010 and is a volunteer-led meeting place for people who have a new diagnosis of dementia, or who are experiencing difficulties with their memory.

‘They are an example of the best of us in our county’ – Honiton duo’s decades of community service is praised as pair retire


About Author