A pair of donkeys whose lives were turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic have joined a new loving home in central Italy.

Rosie, 19, and Violetta, 16, originally came into our care in May 2012 after their former owner could no longer look after them.

After spending three years in a holding base in France, the two donkeys were taken into the care of our Italian sanctuary, Il Rifugio degli Asinelli.

It didn’t take long for Rosie and Violetta to find a new family. Within two months of their arrival in 2015, they were rehomed to a Donkey Guardian in Siena, Tuscany.

Five blissful years passed until the world was disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The area Rosie and Violetta lived in was also home to wild boars. With Italy placed into lockdown, the reduction in human activity saw an increase in the boars’ numbers and allowed them to move closer to populated areas.

With the boars now free to roam, they repeatedly damaged the paddock fences containing both donkeys, often frightening the pair and causing them to flee.

With no solution in sight, Rosie and Violetta’s Guardian took the painful decision to hand the pair back to The Donkey Sanctuary before they came to any harm.

The search was on again for a new home for Rosie and Violetta. After several months of searching, a cultural organisation that manages a park in central Italy near Po decided to open up its doors and provide second chances to rescued animals.

After evaluating the suitability of the location and giving advice on how to make it suitable for two donkeys, one of our welfare advisers organised a donkey care course for Rosie and Violetta’s new Guardian.

We then arranged a meeting to introduce the donkeys and Guardian – and it was love at first sight.

Following a 370km journey to their new home, Rosie and Violetta arrived on 26 July. We all hope it will be their home for life.