Giving up your donkey after 40 years of living, breathing and loving donkeys is a hard thing to do. Oscar’s owner, now in her 70s, decided this was best for him and also for her as it was getting harder to give him the care and attention he needed.
Oscar lost his friend William some three years ago and although Rita knew in her heart that keeping a fairly young donkey on its own was not ideal, she felt unable to take on another one. Instead she spent a lot of time with him until deciding recently that the time had come to say goodbye. Rita was adamant that he would have the best possible new home and had looked at a few options, none of which she felt were right for Oscar or herself. When she bought him eight years ago from travellers, he was a nervous wreck. The transformation to a settled, friendly donkey is all thanks to Rita.
Having sought advice on occasions from The Donkey Sanctuary, Rita decided that he would be guaranteed a safe, happy life in our care and made the phone call which started the process.
When such a lovely donkey is relinquished to us we will try and directly Rehome them with one of our amazing Guardian Homes as single donkeys in their mid-teens are not common. Alison, my fellow Donkey Welfare Adviser, had a wonderful home in Cornwall where a donkey named Dan was on his own having lost his friend recently. Emails, photos and phone calls started the matchmaking process!
So after the necessary health checks to ensure Oscar was fit to join Dan, the day arrived when our lorry went to pick Oscar up. I was there with Rita who was remarkably brave although obviously sad. Letting go because you love an animal so much and want his happiness is a very unselfish thing to do. The end of an era for Rita but the start of a new life for Oscar.
My fellow matchmaker, Donkey Welfare Adviser Alison Beck will now watch over Oscar and I will leave it to her to tell the rest of the story...
"Just as Sue was at the start of Oscar’s journey, I was at the end with Chris, Jayne and Dan. With great excitement we were thrilled to see the lorry pull up outside Dan’s field and waited with bated breath as the ramp lowered and saw a very relaxed double of Dan!
Not only do Dan and Oscar share their good looks but their past history is very similar. Dan had been rescued as part of a feral group of donkeys by the RSPCA. He, too, was very timid and nervous and found it hard to make a special friend whilst still in a large group. Chris and Jayne have oodles of patience and dedicate much of their time to their donkeys, which made them the perfect home for Dan. Dan is such a lovely boy and thanks to Chris and Jayne he has transformed into a very confident, affectionate donkey over the years; much like Oscar has, thanks to Rita. Sadly he recently lost his friend and desperately wanted another donkey to share his 5* home. When Sue told me about Oscar, I knew that he would be perfect for Dan. What tales both boys could tell each other and now thanks to Rita, Chris and Jayne, have a fabulous home for life.
Oscar and Dan soon spent time getting to know each other, there was much interest shown and when Oscar saw his lovely new stable and where the straw is stored, and quickly decided that life was going to be great.
As with all new friendships, we advise to let the donkeys find their own space and to let them approach you. However, with these two special donkeys it won’t take long for them to form a firm friendship!
As Sue and I often say, being a Donkey Welfare Adviser has many highs and lows but playing match maker is certainly one of the highs".