No romantic Valentine’s Day for me - a colleague and I were contacted by another animal welfare charity on the Island of Skye about a very neglected donkey.
Could we take the animal? Of course we could.
Four hundred and seventy eight miles and 14 hours later, through lochs, glens and mountain passes with just a Morrison’s sandwich for sustenance we returned with the lovely donkey, Skye (what else would we call him?).
The tiny foal donkey was one of two bought from a dealer in the north of Scotland. Sadly the owners weren’t able to look after the animals and one died.
Skye was in a pitiful state. He was malnourished, covered in rain scald and suffering from long feet. Such a shame at such a young age. It’s amazing how well he travelled given his poor condition. A real wee trooper.
Since arriving he’s become a real star. At mucking out time he likes to wander the passage between the other donkey loose boxes and stick his tiny nose in the hay racks and help himself. The other donkeys don’t seem to mind! He may be small but he’s mighty! Wee chap but a heart like a lion.
Every day he’s out for a stroll on the lunge line. He is very interested in our sheep. He stops dead and stares at them. He also enjoys venturing up our farm road eating the grass. Then he’ll decide he’s had enough, turn on a sixpence and race back to his stable at great speed. Tomorrow I’m putting on my trainers so that I can keep up with him. In my wellies I can’t keep up!
The wee chap also enjoys emptying the grooming box into his water bucket. He isn’t allowed to go out with the other donkeys just yet but it’s clear that when the time comes he’ll be the boss!
This poor wee thing has landed on all four feet. He’s getting stronger everyday and cheekier. That’s what makes me love the work I do. That’s what The Donkey Sanctuary is all about and I’m proud to be able to help these donkeys. Scotland may be a long road from Devon but if I’m needed I’ll be there for the humble donkey.
With thanks to The Scottish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), to fellow Donkey Welfare Advisor, Gill Hamilton, for her help, to my husband Jimmy for sharing the driving…and for the romantic St Valentine’s meal: a road trip sandwich at Morrison’s in Fort William.