As most people who know anything about donkeys will know, our lovely animals can live for a very long time! Many of our rehomed donkeys remain in the care of their wonderful Guardians until the end of their life. Sometimes, however, donkeys may need to leave the security and comfort of their long-term Guardian homes when circumstances change.
Recently I was faced with a situation where two lovely older rehomed donkeys Teddy and Tommy sadly had to leave their home. Approaching thirty years old, they were not the perfect candidates to travel back to the New Arrivals Unit in Sidmouth and readjust to living as part of a large group.
Faced with this situation I thought long and hard about alternatives. Locally I had another guardian home that had two younger donkeys. Knowing the guardians in question, I thought that they might have the time to care for an extra couple of donkeys, but would they be prepared to take on a pair of geriatrics?
I decided that I had nothing to lose by asking her and she told me:
“When Mark first contacted us about Teddy and Tommy to ask if we might consider rehoming them, we were a bit surprised as they were so elderly and we didn't realise that this was an option for older Donkey Sanctuary donkeys.
"Although a decision had to be made relatively quickly as the donkeys needed to be moved in five week's time, we were never put under any pressure at all to take them. Our concerns mainly related to general age-related health problems for donkeys and any specific problems with these two donkeys in particular. We were also worried about whether they might find the move rather stressful.
Another of our initial concerns was that the young seven-year-old donkeys that we already had Banjo and Flute, might be a bit rough with the older ones. We needn't have worried at all as Teddy and Tommy very quickly established that they were 'in charge’.
"We had total support from Mark as our Donkey Welfare Adviser and The Donkey Sanctuary's vet Anna Harrison who answered all our questions thoroughly and patiently.
"As it turned out, Teddy and Tommy settled surprisingly quickly and were soon cheeky, playful and affectionate both with us and the other donkeys. They have become a very cohesive little herd of four in a very short space of time. Yes, they are old donkeys but it has been such a pleasure to have them to join us in our lives.
"They have come from one happy home to another happy home, what more could we want for them? It is definitely something that we would consider doing again if ever the situation arose.
"We are very aware that our younger donkeys might outlive us and we would like to think that if that happens, someone else might give Banjo and Flute a home for their twilight years in the same way that we have been in a position to do for Teddy and Tommy. While this scenario might not be right or possible for some people or some donkeys, it has definitely been the right decision for us."
Our vet Anna added: "Teddy and Tommy had a thorough ‘MOT’ and were found to be very fit for their age and have a wonderfully loving home that also appears to have given these lovely gentleman donkeys a new lease of life! It’s great to hear how much their new guardians are getting such joy out of the arrangement. A real win-win situation!!"