How miniature donkey Teddy is proving a hit in Hartlepool
Teddy is proving to be a very popular little donkey in Hartlepool.
The one-year-old Miniature Mediterranean is the latest addition to the town’s Blackberry Donkeys team, a business set up a year ago.
But, while his fellow - much larger - friends, Bilbo, Sox, Bandit and Hobo, can be found on Seaton Carew beach providing donkey rides for children.
The 2ft-high Teddy is bringing joy by going out into the community, such as visiting care homes.
Qualified riding instructor Marie Bates set up Blackberry Donkeys a year ago and reintroduced rides on the beach at Seaton Carew after giving up her job as a primary school teacher.
She said she has been amazed by the reaction and now the weather is better the donkeys are back on the beach most weekends.
The animal lover said: “People are coming for miles to see the donkeys and for the little ones to ride them. Last weekend I had a family from Penrith who travelled here just to see them. I get people from all over.
“There are lots of people coming back again from last summer, which is lovely.
“Seaton Carew is a beautiful place, so it is nice to help bring people in.”
But, as the donkeys like to keep busy, Marie has expanded her business and the donkeys go along to summer fairs, and can be hired for a whole range of occasions such as taking part in Christmas events and children’s parties.
As a teacher, Marie is passionate about educating people about the donkeys and how they should be looked after and her pets are regularly inspected by vets and officials to make sure they are healthy and happy.
She has also qualified to run courses in donkey care, which she is hoping to get educational organisations in the town on board with.
Marie said Teddy has proved a massive hit and even goes with her to visit family and friends.
She said most donkeys prefer to be with their friends and like to be outdoors whenever possible. They need a lot of exercise and have lots of toys to play with.
However, she said: “Teddy is quite bossy with the others. He likes to be indoors and he doesn’t mind going places on his own.
“He is so cute and really gets spoiled when we take him places.
“He is so well behaved and the elderly people in the care homes just love him.”