A world away from the glamour and magic of the musical Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, our Bjorn’s story was not so fabulous. Bjorn was found as a stray in 2016 in Ireland, and taken to a local pound, where animals are often euthanised if not claimed. Thankfully, we were able to bring him into our sanctuary and give him the love and care he deserved.
Bjorn was quickly admitted to one of our farms in Ireland, where staff gave him a full health assessment. As he was a stray, no one was sure what Bjorn’s history was and what he might have been through. He didn’t have a microchip. He had been gelded (castrated) so must have had a caring owner at some point, but this is usually carried out when a donkey is around six months, and Bjorn was in his later years.
We could estimate that he was 22 years old by looking in his mouth and assessing his teeth. Unlike humans, donkey’s teeth are continually erupting and are worn down by the forces generated when they chew. The length, number of teeth and markings on the surface of the teeth can be used as a guide to their approximate age (which is where the saying ‘never look a gift horse in the mouth’ originates from!).
Our vets took blood and dung samples from Bjorn to test for any underlying health conditions, which didn’t show any major concerns. However, his temperament was described as ‘feisty’ when he was rescued, and it was clear he did not enjoy being handled by people.
The farm staff worked hard to help Bjorn understand that he had nothing to be afraid of now, and he soon came around and began to enjoy his interactions with people.
After a year in our sanctuary in Ireland, Bjorn was moved to live at one of our farms in the UK. His grooms at Paccombe Farm say that he is a very sweet donkey – by no means ‘feisty!’ – and that he will often come over on his own accord for some attention and a good scratch. Unlike most donkeys, Bjorn has never pair bonded with another donkey. Instead, he is more like everybody’s friend and mixes with the whole herd of 38.
We are so glad that we’ve been able to give Bjorn his happily ever after, with the care and respect he so deserves.