Murphy was a stallion and his owners found that looking after him was far from straightforward. At just 3-years-old he was shut in with no company or stimulation and so for the last 18 months, Murphy’s world has been a 12 x 12’ internal stable in the corner of a big barn. His bed was hardly ever cleaned out and so he lived on an undulating mound of filth.
Little or no attention had been given to his feet which were overgrown and twisted with months of remedial farriery needed to minimise the damage caused. His muscles were weak and underdeveloped due to lack of exercise and the wooden sides of his prison had been chewed in frustration.
A chance remark brought him to my attention but I had no idea I would find such a depressing situation. Stallions are difficult to keep and need excellent facilities but, unless you intend to breed, then they are best castrated. The life of a stallion can be a very lonely one as putting them with other donkeys can result in aggressive behaviour or unwanted young stock.
Castration for Murphy was obviously not considered but it would have made a world of difference in his young life to play and interact with other donkeys as a gelding and to have that one special friend which is so important to donkeys. To be free to play and run around a field.
Murphy stole our hearts when the vet, her assistant and I, were there to do the medical assessment on him. Unhandled and a little wary, but completely lacking any aggression, Murphy clearly yearned for love and contact from people.
The owners in this story were happy to sign Murphy over to our care and Murphy’s life has now been transformed. Transferred to a local vet practice, he will be castrated and the long process of remedial farriery on his feet will begin. He will get that special friend and hopefully one day will be rehomed with one of our wonderful Donkey Guardians.
If you have or know of a similar situation, then please talk to us. We do not judge and we can advise or help in the best way possible.
The call of a lonely stallion is a heartrending one – does it have to be that way?