A few weeks ago I went to see a man who won’t mind me saying is “getting on a bit.” He is leaving his home of 25 years after losing the tenancy on his cottage in beautiful Rosedale, near Pickering. He is unable to take with him his mule “Jump” and donkey “William” so he decided to sign them over to the Sanctuary. To help raise funds for their keep he was to donate some driving traps and a carriage.
This all sounds straightforward on paper, but access to the property was difficult to say the least. From a farm track I was told to “turn right at a chicken hut” and down a bumpy, twisty lane of about half a mile to his property. My first visit was on a glorious sunny day and Jump was enjoying it to the full laying in the sun admiring the far reaching views. Jump was imported from France so translating the paperwork strained my limited French.
Because of their history and long hooves, a medical with x-rays was requested by our veterinary team before they could be collected. This also created problems. We had to transfer all of the vet’s equipment into my 4x4 so we could complete the medical. X-rays require animals to stand still and Jump was such a good girl we were able to take the x-rays easily. The vet said she was the best behaved, unsedated animal he had ever seen. So much for being “as stubborn as a mule!”.
The x-rays and blood tests all came back fine so the next trip was with my farrier last week to give William and Jump a good hoof trim.
Yesterday, (Wednesday) I met with Mark (one of our lorry drivers) in Wrelton at 7.30am with my husband Paul in tow and off we set to collect William and Jump. We almost never made it as Paul had somehow turned the volume down on the radio alarm clock and only by some stroke of luck I woke up just after 6am!
Another lovely sunny day and we had a little trouble catching William who is a bit nervous, but Jump as ever was as good as gold. We had to leave the lorry on the farm track so led them about half a mile down the lane. Mark’s expert skills shone as he held onto William who was very strong and skittish, but came good at the lorry and walked straight on. Jump followed in and off we went to collect Ozzie and Robin near Pocklington.
Ozzie and Robin were relinquished as their owner was moving house and downsizing with her parents. The donkeys belonged to her husband who had died very suddenly after being diagnosed with cancer. This was an upsetting time for her and Ozzie didn’t help matters by not wanting to leave home when it came to loading. Again Mark was amazing and got Ozzie loaded who was quite “portly” and very strong. Off they went to Devon arriving safe and well.
Up early again this morning (Thursday) to meet Robbie, another of our lorry drivers, to collect the carriage and the traps. Robbie had travelled as far as Durham the previous day before running out of driving hours and we met at Rosedale village at 7.30am. Today it was raining and you couldn’t see the house because of fog, what a difference a day makes.
Again we left the lorry on the track and took my car to the house. When we saw the traps and carriage we were both thinking ‘how are these going to fit in the lorry?’ Robbie was meant to be picking another donkey up from Oxford on the way back to Devon too. I was thinking we wouldn’t get all these in let alone another donkey and how were we going to get these down the lane?
Anyway, we managed it by performing some juggling and unique strapping with baler twine. We would have made Pickfords proud, but there was no room at the Inn for a donkey!