The Donkey Sanctuary has come to the aid of two donkeys whose owner was struggling to meet their needs due to his own ill health, and fearing for their future.

The donkeys, Winston and Tilly, are a closely bonded pair. Six-year-old Winston had never been away from Tilly’s side. As well as being concerned about their welfare, the owner was also worried about how Winston might cope if he had to be separated from Tilly in different homes. Donkeys can develop very strong bonds with their companions and separating bonded pairs can create enough stress to result in the serious condition of hyperlipaemia, which can be fatal.

A future together

Thanks to our supporters, we were able to offer both Winston and Tilly a secure future together, and put their owners mind at ease that his donkeys would always be cared for.

Welfare adviser Liz Wright and lorry driver Tony collected the pair in June 2018. With a little help from their owner and some gentle persuasion, both Winston and Tilly boarded The Donkey Sanctuary lorry to start the journey to their new home.

For Liz, when she saw Winston it was love at first sight, and she has a particular soft spot for him. “I was completely struck by the length of Winston's ears, I've never seen such a handsome donkey,” she said.

Settling in well

Winston and Tilly are currently residing at one of our holding bases, and will eventually be moved to one of our seven farms depending on which one will suit them best, or possibly even join our Rehoming Scheme. Liz added: “They have settled in well together. Both have received some handling and leading training, and are also on a feeding programme to help them lose a bit of weight.

“Young donkeys like these two can be expected to live for another 30 years or so. When a person takes on the responsibility of owning a donkey, they must take into account how long a donkey can live for, and whether or not they will still be able to care for them so much further down the road. Also, Winston and Tilly are young and healthy, but as donkeys age their health often deteriorates, meaning they need even more of your time and care, and potentially money too.

“Everyone has always cared for and loved these two donkeys, but we understand that circumstances change and it’s not always just the neglected donkeys that need our help.”

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