This story started with our marvellous mule carer Lesley, who has rehomed four of our mules in Gloucestershire, who sadly lost her beloved mule Billy to cancer in 2014. My fellow Donkey Welfare Adviser Sophie was heartbroken about Billy and applied her considerable mule knowledge to finding Lesley a replacement, which was no mean task as Lesley was devoted to Billy and is also an active and successful Agility competitor. Undeterred, Sophie selected the large and powerful mule Wallace, who she felt would flourish in an enriching home.
I was delighted to be able to attend a recent coffee morning being hosted at a poultry breeding venture called 'Click-Cluck'. Diane German and her husband Paul rescued donkeys called Sparkle and Snowy a few years ago, both of which were colts and had been found thin and very timid. Diane nursed them back to health but sadly Snowy died unexpectedly leaving a huge gap in Diane, Paul and Sparkle's life. When he was well enough, Sparkle was gelded and the search was on for a companion coming from The Donkey Sanctuary. Diane and Paul were finally 'rehomed' by Shrek!
Rehomed donkey Dylan lives with Julia and her family who shared this photo that perfectly sums up his most innocent of looks, he's almost convinced us he's nothing to do with this mess ...almost!
Dylan eagerly looks forward to Julia coming to poo pick his paddock. Without fail, he waits until the wheelbarrow is full and mum Julia is not paying attention, then one quick nose nudge and the deed is done, with the whole load upset all over the floor. Each morning Dylan's "who me" look manages to make Julia, John and Tom laugh.
As you may have read in previous blogs, The Donkey Sanctuary has a superb rehoming scheme, whereby suitable homes are matched with donkeys from us and receive all the support and help they need for the lives of the donkeys in their care.
Sadly, sometimes circumstances change and the homes can no longer care for our donkeys, so we have to consider the best options for them and whether it is more appropriate to take the donkeys back to one of our farms, or to move them to another super home.
Coco lives permanently at one of our bases in Scotland. In June this year he found himself being exhibited in the Donkey Section at The Royal Highland Show. He was entered in the Stallion/Gelding Class and came fourth, winning a huge green rosette. When the audience heard he was one of our donkeys what a cheer went up and the applause was deafening. Coco took it all in his stride.
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.
This week many of us have been remembering those that fell during the War and marking the occasion were two of our rehomed donkeys, Flora and Oonagh, who went along to the Jimmy the Donkey at Somme Centenary Service being held in Peterborough Central Park yesterday. Flora took an active part in the service stepping in once again to represent Jimmy the donkey.