Since my last blog the weather has changed as have the clocks and we’re all thinking, “How bad is this winter going to be?” My working hours of daylight has been seriously cut short, my poor horse is feeling neglected and when I did get a chance to ride this week, he gallops around in the field and half pulls his shoe off making this impossible until my farrier can come and nail it back on.
One of my foster homes closed a month ago as they were unable to dedicate enough time and resources to the donkeys, so they handed them back and Marcus and Muffin moved in with me. As much as I love them dearly, it has also taken a lot of my time looking after them as they were both lame with foot abscesses needing dressing twice a day and quite a few visits from the vet. My friend Jools and I had a small production line of dressings, Vetwrap, Jaf patches, hot water and Epsom Salts for about 2 weeks not to mention pain relief (hidden in jam sandwiches) and mucking out.
Work wise In the last 2 months I have had 21 donkeys, a mule and a hinny all being given up to The Donkey Sanctuary in my area. 11 of these have already been collected, 7 yesterday, 6 of which were difficult to load.
There are various reasons given, including a naughty youngster, loss of grazing, too elderly to look after them anymore, children growing up and losing interest, wanting a better quality of life for them, financial, family break ups, etc.
In a straight forward case there is a lot of paperwork to complete (my printer has been going crazy and drinking cartridges like they’re going out of fashion). We also photograph and physically examine each donkey.
If a donkey is over 20 or has past medical history a veterinary examination is necessary. If the owner has had the donkey less than 2 years specific blood tests are done that screen for exotic diseases. If these weren’t carried out the new arrivals unit in Sidmouth could be shut down for weeks preventing anything going in or out causing a backlog.
When donkeys are ready for collection, it is the task of Carole and Vanessa in our welfare team to group similar types as these will stay together for the isolation period. Our drivers drop donkeys off on the way up, stay overnight and then do collections, usually very early in the morning on the way back down to Sidmouth.
Happily I have had 3 new foster homes open recently and all the donkeys are settling in really well.
Anyone would think I was due a holiday! Well I am, a week on Sunday. All I have to do now is cram in 10 foster visits, a new home check, collect 6 donkeys at 3 different homes, deliver 1 donkey to a new home, get Marcus and Muffin seen by the vet before they travel, send my horse off on his holidays, pack... and hope nothing too serious comes in in the meantime!