It’s hard to envisage what to expect when you receive a call concerning two donkeys abandoned in a disused site and what you will see when you arrive there. Our welfare team is certainly used to dealing with unexpected situations but we are naturally often shocked ourselves by what we see. It seems that the parameters of donkey neglect and irresponsible management are constantly being stretched further and further.
And so, I arrived at the location with a sinking feeling in my stomach not knowing what I would find. I waded through long swards of overgrown nettles and weeds, passing by dilapidated buildings and came on a larger derelict building. To say the atmosphere was eerie when I entered the dark warehouse was putting it mildly. There were donkey droppings on the ground amidst aerosols and solvent cans. Clearly there was more sinister activity going in this building than I had expected. I walked through the rubbish strewn building fearing the worst for the donkeys.
They weren’t in the building, I exited it with equal trepidation and suddenly my heart leapt when I spotted them huddled together standing a few feet away. Their big black eyes met mine with the same element of shock. Not wanting to scare them I quietly talked to them making my way forward to examine them closer up. They were visibly nervous but allowed me to get close enough to assess their condition. Both were stallions, one mature and the other barely two years old. The larger of the two donkeys' hooves were long and twisted, as we often see with abandoned donkeys, as he pitifully hobbled about dealing as best he could with his discomfort.
Swift arrangements were made in line with abandonment protocol to have the donkeys now named “Finn” and “Sullivan” to be removed from this precarious environment.
Both donkeys have since received veterinary and farriery care and are now in the safety of The Donkey Sanctuary. Finn in particular has caused us particular concern since arriving back at our holding base having developed a serious condition called hyperlipaemia. This condition is often induced by stress and has resulted in him being reluctant to eat. He is under constant supervision and is receiving treatment to combat this condition. Meanwhile his companion Sullivan has fared somewhat better and has proved to be the plucky courageous one of the two. He has a very sweet inquisitive personality and remains devotedly at Finn’s side, his constant companion through his illness.