Recently I was invited to attend Hillsborough Parish Fete to promote our foster scheme with the invitation eagerly requesting some donkeys to be in attendance as well.
I decided to take potential foster donkeys Jill and her best friend Katie along. Although relatively young they thrive on human interaction and are confident, well behaved donkeys. This was their first ever outing and it proved to be a positive lesson for them. They were not daunted in the slightest by all the sights and sounds around them and relished the attention shown to them by the public. They will make the most rewarding, fun loving and loyal foster donkeys for the right home. We received a lot of foster enquiries during the day which was extremely positive and some wonderful comments about Jill and Katie’s good behaviour and kind disposition.
Jill was born into a world of comfort and security being fortunate to start her life at one of our holding bases in Northern Ireland.
Her mother Pauline, however, was not quite as fortunate having been abandoned on the roadside in Armagh one severe winter a few years ago. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) had alerted us to Pauline’s plight and asked us to intervene as the donkey had been found in a dry ditch trying to shelter from the winter blizzards sweeping over the country. The snow drifts were severe and heavy - halting us from getting through the conditions for 3 days. Naturally we were eager to get to Pauline’s aid as soon as the roads were passable. When we eventually did manage to get to her we discovered that she had been caringly taken in by a local lady who was concerned about her situation. She explained that she had no equine experience but could not stand by and see the donkey suffer in the unforgiving weather . She had no stabling but simply kept the donkey in the garage alongside her car for the 3 days and acquired a bale of hay for the donkey from a local farmer. The donkey was certainly none the worse for this improvised care and when I moved in to examine the donkey further I found that she was heavily in foal. We decided that it would be appropriate to name the donkey Pauline after the kindly lady who had give her refuge – she was delighted with this. We also agreed that if the foal was a filly foal that she should be called after Jill, the PSNI officer who had called to assist with her abandonment. And so Pauline travelled to my holding base where she underwent veterinary management and care for her poor condition and long hooves. She foaled little Jill a few months later much to everyone’s delight.
Jill now rising two grazes happily by Katie’s side, her mother Pauline and other donkey companions graze close by.