Can you imagine carrying out your normal morning routines going to the donkey stable to find the gate open and no donkeys in sight? Complete panic.
Thoughts running through your head at a 100 miles an hour about where they could be.
When a gate has been left open accidentally then there is a guarantee curious donkeys will find it.
Sadly, Donkey Guardian Claire’s experience was not accidental. Intruders visited the premises overnight and had a good look around the out-buildings. With Claire’s partner having a rather impressive motorbike and other various tools, who knows what they were after, but they also let themselves into the barn area where the donkeys lived.
Fennel and Sorrel, two big donkeys, avoided being handled by complete strangers in the dark, but their curiosity got the better of them when the gate was left open after the intruders had left.
Claire’s layout for the farm meant the donkeys had a choice of directions to take - sadly they chose the wrong one and it led out onto a dark road.
When Claire went to open the barn to let the pair into the paddock, she discovered the gate was open. After a quick look around, Claire ran back to the house and awoke her partner David, they immediately jumped in the car to look for the donkeys in the early morning.
The farm opposite has five donkeys, and the sight of the police car driving up their drive indicated to Claire and David they had potentially located the pair, so they flagged him down and the police led them to where they had found Fennel and Sorrel.
The worst case scenario met Claire and David as they pulled up; the vet was on the way and it was obvious Fennel had been struck by a vehicle and had broken his back leg. There was only one option for Fennel and he was put to sleep in the secure, safe area where the donkeys had been contained.
This left Claire and David in an awful predicament, fortunately the area where the donkeys were contained was secure and Sorrel could be given time to grieve for his pal.
Claire led Sorrel home and he was truly miserable. He had lost all his spirit.
After establishing no further risks to Sorrel, The Donkey Sanctuary pulled out all the stops to find a new friend for Sorrel. Soon enough a special donkey called Flash was found. Flash was duly delivered and while waiting for the ramp to come down off the transport he let out an enormous bray to let his new pal know he had arrived.
Sorrel came running in from the paddock and he has never looked back – Sorrel and Flash are now firm friends. Claire has lots of horse experience, so her endless patience with the donkeys has given them an amazing opportunity to lead a fun-filled life and long-term security.
Claire and David now have chains and padlocks on every gate, sadly a sign of the times to be so vigilant with our valued possessions and those we hold dear to our hearts.
RIP Fennel, you left a huge void in a lot of hearts.