This is a tribute to donkeys (of course!), Donkey Welfare Adviser, Mark Kerr, and a fabulous Donkey Guardian. I had the great pleasure of visiting a guardian home in Mark's area recently. Mandy gave a wonderful home to Eddie and Toffee who had been lovingly trained until they were ready to go out to a forever home by our grooms. And that could have been the end of the story. Then Mark found himself in the challenging, but all too common, situation of having to decide what was best for two geriatric donkeys - Tommy and Teddy - that needed to be moved from a home where the owner was no longer able to care for them. Our experience tells us that old, frail donkeys often do not cope with a potentially long journey, several weeks in the Reception (Quarantine) Unit and then movement to a herd life on one of our farms.
Mark approached Mandy about Tommy and Teddy and she agreed to take them on as they were quite close by. She was scrupulous about keeping them separate for a few weeks, not only from a health point of view, but also fearing her exuberant young boys may be too much for the senior donkey-zens. Perhaps it's no surprise that the donkeys surprised everybody! A gradual introduction saw Tommy and Teddy remember what cantering was all about and bossing Eddie and Toffee into third and fourth place! Now they live as a small but perfectly formed herd, all playing together and choosing who to bed down with for the night. Mandy tells us she is getting so much out of caring for the donkeys and the donkeys are certainly enjoying their lives. She is under no illusion about the longevity of Tommy and Teddy but has a wonderfully pragmatic attitude and feels strongly that quality of life trumps life at all costs. Coupled with Mark's unfailing support and the services of a 'donkey friendly' vet, this has to be a 'win-win' situation.
The Sanctuary is contributing towards the cost of the care of Tommy and Teddy but Mandy is providing all the things that we cannot put a price on - love, diligence and time. And, even better, Mandy feels she could take on another pair of oldies should the need arise. To quote Mandy – ‘ Taking them on and watching them settle happily into their new surroundings at such a great age, has been one of the most rewarding things we have ever done. They are an absolute delight’.
Rock on Tommy, Teddy, Toffee and Eddie!
Written by Anna Harrison,