You’ve heard the old adage never work with animals or children. What springs to mind? Is it a funny clip for a TV outtake programme or one of many Blue Peter animal-related moments – the famous episode, which saw an elephant defecating on camera, walking out of the studio and standing on presenter John Noakes’ foot, comes to my mind.
It was with this at the back of my mind that we (cautiously) set-up a media opportunity for orphaned horse Fallabella to celebrate her first birthday with a class of primary children. Never a team to be phased by a challenge, we set about making her friend Dayzee a media star to raise awareness of the funding shortfall at Scotland’s largest equine sanctuary, Mountains Animal Sanctuary, near Forfar.
And, what a star Dayzee was. She wasn’t fazed by the cameras of Daybreak or STV or for asking to pose with the children from Tannadice Primary School who popped by to join the birthday celebrations. She carried on regardless munching on the grass, eating carrots and even trying to get her teeth into her poor unsuspecting birthday rosette.
But underlying the cute pictures of Dayzee and her new friends was the sanctuary’s urgent fundraising message. Each week the sanctuary turns away five horses as it struggles to secure long-term funding and recruit volunteers to look after its 140 horses, ponies and donkeys.
What struck me while I was there wasn’t how well the children and Dayzee got on or how we survived the party without rain, it was the abundance of support from the sanctuary’s friends and family and the dedication of the grooms and carers – they do such marvellous work.
If you’d like to donate to The Dayzee Appeal, visit the Mountains Animal Sanctuary website here