The inspirational story of a family overcoming adversity and forming a unique bond with a rescued donkey at The Donkey Sanctuary in Birmingham is being told in a book called Amber’s Donkey which launches today.
The book is on sale at major retailers and also via Donkey World and the family will be celebrating the launch and signing copies of the book at The Royal Hotel in Sutton Coldfield on Saturday 30th January from 11am-2pm.
When Amber and her twin sister, Hope, were born 26 weeks premature, Amber was rushed to hospital for an emergency tracheostomy. Their parents, Julian and Tracy, were given the devastating news that Amber was unlikely to ever walk or talk, followed by a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy.
When Shocks the donkey was found barely alive on a farm in Ireland, nobody expected him to survive. He was taken to The Donkey Sanctuary and it was the worst case of neglect their rescuers had ever seen. Shocks had a skin infection in his neck and rather than seek treatment, his owners had poured industrial-strength bleach into his wounds, tethered him to a pole and left him to die.
As Amber grew up and underwent painful medical tests and operations, she became increasingly withdrawn. Julian and Tracy were beside themselves with worry. They thought she’d never live a normal life like her twin sister, Hope. After several attempts at therapy, they sent Amber to The Donkey Sanctuary’s Assisted Therapy Centre in Birmingham. It was a last-ditch attempt to help their beloved daughter.
When Amber and Shocks first met, it was as though they had known each other for ages. Despite having a fear of humans due to his maltreatment, when Shocks saw Amber approaching, he lowered his head so that she could wrap her arms around his neck.
Riding Shocks helped develop Amber’s muscles, defying all the doctor’s predictions. In turn, staff at The Donkey Sanctuary were amazed to see the gradual change in this timid little donkey, as he blossomed and became friendly and confident. Soon he was their most popular donkey with lots of children wanting to ride him.
As Amber’s mother, Tracy said ‘It was as if they understood each other’s pain. Like two broken beings, helping each other’.