Elma Cunningham is one of our Welfare Advisers working in Scotland, and she and her family also help run a small holding base where donkeys like Skye can recuperate.
This little colt was living alone on the Isle of Skye and it took a 500-mile round trip to get him into the safety of our care. He was terribly thin, his body in poor condition and legs covered in sores from constant exposure to the elements. Sky wanted to write for you in his own words, how his time with Elma has been…. with a little help typing of course!
When I arrived in February 2015 after a long journey a huge bed of straw awaited me, accompanied by a warm feed and water. The Welfare Adviser who brought me settled me in the stable, got a chair and a blanket and sat up with me until the small hours of the morning, then one of her sons came and took over. Before breakfast somebody called a Vet arrived. He is a nice man though his stethoscope was cold.
He listened to parts of my body, took my temperature and said I was to have lots of rest, a special diet, medication three times a day and round the clock observation. The Welfare Adviser and her boys stayed with me all day and during the night for about a week. I even had heat lamps in my stable for a wee while. They were taken away and I had a very warm rug put on. It stayed with me well in to spring.
Two days after my arrival the Vet came back and was really pleased with my progress but knew there was a long way to go. I was beginning to enjoy my food, particularly the grated carrot and apple that found a way into my feed bucket. As for the home-grown hay in the manger – wonderful!
The following week I had a Donkey Sanctuary Medical. My body score was less than one, I had lots of worms but luckily no liver fluke. So it was more yucky stuff to take. However, it slipped down well with a biscuit. The Vet implanted my micro-chip, completed my passport application form, started my flu and tetanus injections and I was all set!
I enjoyed a short daily stroll outside on a lunge line. What I did enjoy when I was out was seeing the sheep. They are the funniest looking things. One day I was taken up to the top shed and I saw new lambs. They weren’t much smaller than me.
The farrier came and trimmed my feet. We meet regularly. He’s a nice man and chats away to me and scratches my ears. I think that’s because he can do my little feet without any bother. I just hold them up for him, one at a time.
When the better weather came I was allowed out on my own to the paddock. I ran and ran, rolled and rolled, and ate lovely grass. After a few weeks I was allowed out with a donkey who has now become my best friend. He’s called Coco. When I was fit enough Coco and I went out and about raising the profile of the Sanctuary. Once I went to the local Boys’ Brigade Company Parade and took the salute as they marched past. How important was I?
I live permanently at the Holding Base in Scotland. The family felt I had been through so much they kept me. I love it here. My meals are the same time every day, my stable is spotless. I have a lovely paddock and lots of donkey friends.
The dedication of the holding base family, the expertise of the Vet and the patience of the farrier brought me through a dark patch but I’m fine now and the “Skye’s the limit”.
Thank you Donkey Sanctuary I will be forever in your debt.