Following his mother's death after foaling, a one-week-old orphaned donkey foal has been given a forever home with The Donkey Sanctuary.

The foal was relinquished into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary by his owner, who wanted to give him the best start in life after his mother tragically died from complications during foaling. Sadly, despite veterinary care and the best efforts of the donkey’s owner, the mother's condition did not improve and the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep.

The week-old foal, named Sam, is receiving round-the-clock care by staff at The Donkey Sanctuary's new arrivals unit in Sidmouth. Despite a distressing start to life, Sam appears healthy and is feeding well on a supplemented diet.

Christmas foal Sam with groom
Foal Sam at one week old
Foal Sam with groom
Sam with new arrivals manager, Sara Blair-Salter

Hannah Bryer, head of welfare at The Donkey Sanctuary says: “Our teams work tirelessly all year round to support donkeys most in need here in Great Britain. By working with owners, we can often help provide advice and support to find solutions to the challenges they may be facing. Sadly in cases like this, the best welfare outcome for the donkey is often the hardest for owners.”

Hannah concludes: “Saying goodbye to our much loved pets at the right time should never be regarded as a failure. I often admire the courage of owners who put the welfare of their donkeys first, even in the most difficult of circumstances, so when this owner reached out to us, we acted swiftly to make arrangements to bring the foal into our care. There is something truly special about being able to provide hope and reassurance to so many donkeys and their owners, but especially at Christmas.”

The foal can be sure of a happy forever home with The Donkey Sanctuary, where he will be cared for until he is big enough to join the resident herd.

The Donkey Sanctuary works to transform the quality of life for donkeys, mules and people worldwide through greater understanding, collaboration and support, and by promoting lasting, mutually life-enhancing relationships.