The next morning I met with Fabry who informed me that everybody was agreed that the pair should come in to the Sanctuary if the owner would contribute towards the cost of milk for Viola.
We could do nothing that day as were off to visit a donkey milk farm with a vet from Milan. This was fortuitous in one way as meant we could obtain a supply of milk for Viola. However, both Fabry and I were anxious about the foal throughout the day but it was agreed that we would pick her up the next day after delivering two donkeys to a Guardian home the other side of Genoa.
The two donkeys were delivered to a lovely new home in Lavagna with a fabulous view of the sea after a three and a half hour drive. This part of the coast is known as the Italian Riviera but I doubt the donkeys will appreciate the stunning vista, only the grass in their olive grove!
On our return journey we collected Viola and her mother to take back to Il Rifugio and Fabry took the opportunity to discuss with the owner the unsuitability of Ginger for future breeding, given her inability to provide milk and the death of her three previous foals.
Viola was first in the trailer but mum was a little more reluctant! At the Sanctuary our vets checked the foal and found her in good health although underweight due to the lack of nutrition. Weighing a donkey is easy when it is so small! A bottle was prepared and little Viola abandoned sucking my collar in favour of her feed. She will be fed every two hours by members of the dedicated team at Il Rifugio and as I write, she is gaining weight and will hopefully continue to flourish.
We have kept our promise to Viola and hopefully her owner will tell other people about the work of The Donkey Sanctuary Italy and how the wonderful team at Il Rifugio saved the life of his bella puledra!