Say hello to the hinny whose own Christmas story had a happy ending.

Last month I was lucky enough to be working from our Devon sanctuary at the same time as the Carols by Candlelight service.

I joined colleagues and friends to experience my first Candlelight service since joining The Donkey Sanctuary 18 months ago.

The atmosphere was magical and, as you would expect, one of the most popular songs of the evening was ‘Little Donkey’, which tells of the long dusty journey to Bethlehem.

Whilst listening to the words and watching as our donkeys munched happily in their barn full of straw, my thoughts turned to the many donkeys around the world and the importance of our work in building mutually beneficial relationships between donkeys and communities.

Little did I know that just a few days before Christmas I would be helping our own little donkey find a place of safety. 

Elf the hinny
Elf on arrival

I am pleased to introduce you all to Elf. Technically he isn’t a donkey – he is a hinny, but he certainly is little. Elf found himself in need of refuge just before Christmas after he ventured on to a busy road and was hit by a car.

He was helped by officers from Durham Police who managed to keep him safe and call for help. Elf was seen by a vet at the scene who was concerned that he might have broken his leg as he was very lame.

With help from the RSPCA, Elf was transported to an equine hospital where we were able to make sure he received the veterinary care he needed. 

Thankfully it was good news, no broken bones. Our emergency holding base was on hand to offer a comfy bed and lots of TLC over the Christmas period, while efforts to locate his owner were made.

Elf was not micro-chipped so police circulated his picture on social media, but despite his image being shared almost 3,000 times, his owner has not been found. Elf has now been placed in the permanent care of The Donkey Sanctuary and we will ensure he has a safe and secure future. 

Huge thanks goes out to everyone involved in making sure this Christmas story had a happy ending. I look forward to letting you all know how Elf Is doing over the next few weeks and months as he continues with his rehabilitation – he is proving to be quite a character already.