A mule who lived with a herd of horses in the West Midlands has been rehomed with a new group of friends 100 miles further north.
Mabel, 12, was a herd member but did not have a close companion. She had escaped from her field several times, putting her in danger as she could have ventured onto a busy road close to the site.
Donkey Welfare Adviser Hannie Buckley says: "Although Mabel's owners dearly loved her and she was a big part of their equine family, they had to prioritise her safety first and foremost.
"After discussing the situation with Mabel's owners, we worked with them to explore other options for her future care.
"It was at this point that the team notified us that one of our established Donkey Guardian families were looking to take in a new family member.
"They already had two donkeys under their care and had recently lost another, so they were looking for a suitable companion to help their bereaved donkeys."
In November, Mabel joined her new Guardian, Sally, at her home. Sally had already opened her doors to three donkeys, Chip, Spud and Wedge, in 2018 – affectionately referred to as the 'potato trio'.
Sadly, Spud developed an untreatable sarcoid – a type of skin tumour- earlier this year. The difficult decision was made to euthanise him, leaving Sally devastated and Chip and Wedge without their pal.
Donkey Welfare Adviser Keira Benham says: "Sally really struggled with losing Spud and was keen to help another donkey.
"I had heard via our Rescue and Rehoming Team that Mabel may be looking for a new home. She showed some anxiety around her interactions with people and needed compassionate and understanding handling.
"We felt that Mabel would be best-suited to living in a home environment where she could develop a relationship with her new owner. After chatting to Sally, it was clear she was committed to making things as easy as possible for Mabel and was keen to follow any advice and support available."
With any new addition, initial introductions need careful planning. Moving locations can be unsettling for donkeys and mules, so Mabel was given space and time to settle into her new home in the weeks following her arrival.
Mabel was gradually introduced to donkeys Chip and Wedge and has not looked back. She is highly affectionate and loves nothing more than some fuss from Sally.
We will keep an eye on Mabel's journey under Sally's loving care and wish them a happy future together.
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