After a rescued donkey lost his bonded companion, we stepped in to help. Learn more about the work that went into helping him find a new partner for life.

In December 2019, Shropshire resident Louise Dodd was alerted to the plight of two donkeys in a nearby village. The pair were discovered abandoned in their stable in very poor health and needed veterinary attention.

After taking advice and liaising with relevant authorities, Louise agreed to take the donkeys into her care and moved them to her nearby smallholding. Despite not owning donkeys before, Louise could see the pair, which she named George and Mildred, were in poor condition and called a local equine vet to examine them. Mildred was the thinner of the two and regularly had to be helped to her feet as she was malnourished and weak.

Louise then contacted our Welfare department, who gave her more advice over the phone and made arrangements for locally based Senior Donkey Welfare Adviser Georgia McCormick to visit.

Following her first visit, Georgia McCormick worked closely with our teams, who were able to run samples at our pathology lab and offer bespoke dietary advice for the donkeys to help Louise get George and Mildred on the path to recovery.

Georgia remained in touch with Louise and was at the end of the phone to discuss all aspects of donkey care, offering advice and support. 

Georgia said: “It was so incredible to see the positive changes in George and Mildred over the months following their arrival. I was so impressed with Louise’s care and devotion, as well as her willingness to learn everything about donkeys. They had clearly been given a loving home with Louise and her husband.”

Tragically in January 2021, Mildred died suddenly. The vet suspected a heart attack or aneurysm and reassured Louise that she wouldn’t have suffered. Louise was understandably devastated and worried about the effect on George after losing his best friend. She devoted lots of time to George and tried lots of distraction methods, as well as showering him with cuddles.

Donkeys form strong pair bonds and much prefer the company of their own kind, so George needed a new donkey companion.

After hearing about the loss and receiving a Guardian application from Louise, Georgia described the home and George’s details to our Rehoming team. They highlighted a donkey who did not have a bonded companion as a possible match.

Aubrey joined George at his home the following month, and the pair hit it off straight away. They have since become firm friends and follow each other around. They like nothing more than playing their favourite game; welly boot Tug-of-War.

Louise said: “I am so grateful for the invaluable input Georgia and the team at The Donkey Sanctuary gave us in a time of crisis. Georgia’s ongoing calm support and encouragement helped me realise that we were doing fine.

“Losing Mildred did make me question what was best for George’s future, but when Aubrey was identified as a possible match and watching them hit it off when they were introduced, I realised it was the perfect solution.”

Can you help?

With you by our side, we can continue to find new companions for donkeys in need