When Amber and her twin sister, Hope, were born 26 weeks premature, Amber was rushed to hospital for an emergency tracheostomy. Their parents, Julian and Tracy, were given the devastating news that Amber was unlikely to ever walk or talk, followed by a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy.
As Amber grew up and underwent painful medical tests and operations, she became increasingly withdrawn. Julian and Tracy were beside themselves with worry. They thought she’d never live a normal life like her twin sister, Hope. After several attempts at therapy, they sent Amber to our donkey assisted therapy centre here in Birmingham. It was a last-ditch attempt to help their beloved daughter.
When Shocks the donkey was found barely alive on a farm in Ireland, nobody expected him to survive. He was taken into The Donkey Sanctuary's care in 2010 and it was the worst case of neglect the welfare team had ever seen. Shocks had a skin infection in his neck and rather than seek treatment, his owners had poured industrial-strength bleach into his wounds, tethered him to a pole and left him to die.
When Amber and Shocks first met, it was as though they had known each other for ages. Despite having a fear of humans due to his maltreatment, when Shocks saw Amber approaching, he lowered his head so that she could wrap her arms around his neck.
It was as if they understood each other’s pain. Like two broken beings, helping each other.
Riding Shocks helped develop Amber’s muscles, defying all the doctor’s predictions. In turn, we were amazed to see the gradual change in this timid donkey, as he blossomed and became friendly and confident.
As Amber’s mother, Tracy said "It was as if they understood each other’s pain. Like two broken beings, helping each other".
Animal Hero Award
Because of his past, and because of his amazing turnaround from a terrified abandoned donkey in Ireland in 2010 to an incredibly calm therapy donkey today, Shocks was named Rescue Animal of the Year at the 2013 Animal Hero Awards.
Become a hero today
If ever there was a story of overcoming the odds, then that of beautiful, loving Shocks is it.
With love, kindness and patience, Shocks is well on his way to recovery. You can make a difference to this beautiful donkey too.
Be part of his story and help him continue to recover from his ordeal by adopting him today.