A rescued mule called Marty has been spending his days exploring with six donkeys who live at one of our wonderful Guardian homes.

A member of the public discovered Marty in 2017, abandoned at a property in Northumberland. Surviving on food provided to him by passers-by, Marty was confined to a garden that more resembled a scrapyard.

Littered with dangerous metal waste, the garden’s only shelter was in the form of a dilapidated shed. The shed was so tiny that Marty had to back himself in and out of it because he couldn’t turn around when inside.

Our Donkey Welfare Adviser Keira Benham says: “Mules and donkeys need a shelter that is solid, dry and keeps the adverse weather out.

“It should be big enough for them to move around and express their natural behaviours, such as lying down, rolling and resting.”

Marty was rescued by a shelter in Northumberland, who contacted Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, an established Guardian home situated near Ramsbottom in Lancashire, and asked if they would give him a new home.

Once Marty arrived at Bleakholt in January 2018, he was initially kept separate from the other donkeys. The team carried out assessments and checks before introducing him to the group of six donkeys, Flash (17), Jessie (25), Conal (12), Adam (11), Sean (11) and Fergal (12).

Keira says: “Marty has always been a very inquisitive character. As soon as he was introduced to the herd, he integrated with them almost straight away.

“He is such a lovely boy. He helps out brushing the other donkeys and is very keen to learn new things and focus on his training. He is so funny and has become a much-loved member of the herd.

“Marty is a great example of how mules can thrive in a home environment when they are kept stimulated.”