Hi everyone, my name is Sharon and I'm the Welfare Officer for Yorkshire and Cleveland. I have held this post now for four years. I have been a police officer and driving examiner, but this is by far the best job I’ve had.
My job is to set up new foster homes, do regular checks on existing foster homes, deal with welfare complaints, help and advise private donkey owners, go to sales and fairs, do talks, check working donkeys and organize collection of donkeys that are relinquished by their owners.
I have a large area and am kept very busy. My other “job” is as a Sports Massage Therapist for Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
My week started there on Sunday morning sorting out all the bowlers who are feeling a bit weary after the T20 series. The photograph shows me with Ryan Sidebottom who is about the only player left who has been at the club as long as me! 13 years now.
Once I’d finished there I changed tops into my Donkey Sanctuary uniform and went to check a donkey at a farm shop. She had been left there by the owners and has been taken care of by a very well meaning lady. She had long back feet and I assisted by giving her details of local farriers, feeding and general care information and advising her of our free faecal testing scheme. I also checked a potential foster home and an ongoing welfare complaint in the area. I was pleased to see the donkey’s feet had been trimmed, but advised her about the amount of ragwort in the pasture.
Monday I was in the Richmond area going to see a donkey that is to come into the Sanctuary. I take full details including a medical history and take photographs so our veterinary team in Devon can decide if the donkey needs a medical or any tests/treatment before coming into the Sanctuary. I then checked another potential foster home and fit in two foster visits in the Thirsk area before returning home to complete my paperwork and calls.
Tuesday was a sad day. A lovely little donkey called Reuben at a foster home had gradually been losing weight and when I saw him at my last visit, was concerned about the size of his abdomen, but lack of weight on the rest of his body. We had the vet come and do tests and found his belly was filling with fluid that he couldn’t cope with. This sweet little donkey had originally been rescued by his owners on a flood plain in York and we were unsure how old he really was and what he had endured before being rescued. He was relinquished to us last year after losing his friend Laddie to terrible sarcoids, but stayed in the home so that he could become part of the foster scheme and have a young companion called Nero from the Sanctuary. They had become great friends and are dearly loved by their foster owners.
The attending vet in consultation with Anna Harrison (one of our welfare vets in Devon) kept in constant contact and were very worried about him concluding that he was suffering liver failure with the outcome that he would become more and more unwell.
The painful decision was made to put Reuben to sleep and I stayed while this was done to support the family and to let Nero come to terms with the loss of his companion. It was heartbreaking to see Nero trying to process what had happened, but a very important one as donkeys form very strong bonds and must be allowed to grieve and come to terms in this way. Nero is quiet, but doing well and looking forward to getting a new friend soon.
Wednesay I went to a beautifully sunny Rosedale with my farrier (Damian Readman) to trim a donkey and a mule that are coming into the Sanctuary. Their 81year old owner is having to leave his tied cottage and wants them to come into the Sanctuary to be with other donkeys and mules. They were both well behaved which was a relief as good farriers are hard to come by, or keep for that matter!
Back home to update the admin and finish off the day with a lovely ride out on my horse Sam.