Friends for donkey’s years

 Left to right: Pearl, Mary and Alan on their monthly visit.

Alan Gribbon (86) a client of Home Instead Senior Care in Stockport, is an avid animal lover with a particular soft-spot for donkeys. He has supported The Donkey Sanctuary in Abbey Hey, Manchester for 3 years. He has taken a real shining to recently retired donkey Mary and since adopting her in 2011 the pair have become the best of friends. 

Mary joined the sanctuary 8 years ago with her daughter Sarah when their owners became too ill to look after them. Having previously worked as a therapy donkey at the sanctuary, giving rides to disabled children, Mary retired earlier on this year at the age of 20.  

The emotional and physical benefits of companion animals are now being well recognised and there is extensive research suggesting that spending time with animals can have a direct calming influence. The centre not only rescues donkeys, it also works closely with physiotherapists, speech and language departments and other professionals. 

Along with his CAREGiver Pearl, who looks after Alan in his own home, he visits the sanctuary every month when they get to walk Mary around the paddock, talk to her and have a little cuddle.  

The charity which cares for thousands of neglected donkeys all over the world, also provides assisted donkey therapy for children with additional needs, and therapeutic visits for elderly people in the local community.  

To find out more about the The Donkey Sanctuary in Manchester please call: 0161 301 4051 or visit:

Alternatively, to find out more about the services offered by Home Instead Senior Care in Stockport please visit or contact the office on: 0161 491 2925.


A group of Home Instead CAREGivers talking
Family welcoming a Home Instead care manager into their home