Spice, a 16-year-old brown mare, and her 12 donkey friends were rescued in February 2014 as fierce storms took hold of the south west, causing chaos. These 13 donkeys were in the midst of the extreme weather and the intensity of the storms left them living in a mud bath. Their stable was in disrepair, open to the elements and offering them little shelter from the wind and rain.
When Alison Beck, one of our Donkey Welfare Advisors, paid the owner a routine visit to check on the donkeys in their care, little did she realise the extent of the devastation that awaited her.
Spice was weak and starving. She had exposed raw patches of skin over her body which had been caused by the persistent lashing rain. Worse still, her painful, red skin had attracted crows that had been viciously attacking her wounds. Cold and wet, Spice was desperately thin with little access to food and no hope of finding warmth and comfort.
Our emergency rescue teams had been on high alert throughout the stormy weather and the severity of this particular situation demanded an immediate response.
A team of welfare experts, including a vet and handlers, were scrambled, and they reached the scene within hours.
With the weather against them, the team battled to catch and contain the distressed donkeys in horrendous gales and eventually corralled the donkeys into a safe enclosure. Slipping and sliding through the mud, the first of the donkeys was loaded into the lorry.
“As we led Spice and her friends two by two through the mud and into the lorry, it reminded me of Noah’s Ark as the weather was very similar,” recalls Alison.
What happens next
Find out what happens when the welfare team bring Spice and her 12 friends back to The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. Greeted by a warm, dry straw bed and plenty of food; this is where the road to recovery begins.