At the end of August we were contacted about a donkey with an appalling eye infection in the Charante region of France. This is nearly 5 hours north of our French holding base. However, we thought it sounded so serious that Jan Lemmy at our holding base and a colleague left immediately to try to locate the poor donkey described to them as being in an enormous amount of pain with an eye so infected it was the size of a tennis ball!
Jan later wrote:
We followed directions and eventually came across two donkeys far up in the corner of a field. To get closer to them we had to climb over barbed wire to get into an adjoining field and after a short while another donkey came out of the woods to join her friends but she was much more timid and obviously in a great deal of pain. We were shocked at the enormous infected eye which smelt terrible. We went back to the village to get more information about the owner from the mayor and then a local vet. After some searching we found the farmer who owned these donkeys and without any hesitation he handed this donkey over to the Sanctuary.
It was obvious the donkey was in serious trouble but we had no success when we asked two vets from two local practices to come out to treat her, so in desperation we bought rope for loading and lint to cover her eye and telephoned back home for a trailer to come and collect her.
The next morning we went back and fed her and put her into a barn. We didn't want to have trouble catching her once the trailer had arrived. She was extremely timid and not used to being handled - after all she was very unhappy with her wound and the terrible smell all around her which she didn't understand. In fact in the morning when we went back her eye wound was full of maggots!
We were surprised at how quickly she loaded into the trailer and we really felt she knew we were there to help her.
Our vet was waiting for us when we arrived home at 8 o'clock that night and he was shocked at her terrible condition. He gave her an antibiotic injection and left eye cream to be administered. After two weeks of treatment the infected eye reduced in size considerably and it took all this time before flesh stopped dropping off.
Once the swelling had gone down, we saw she had her own eye underneath - it had been saved before the infection spread to it. In fact she had suffered an infection of the upper eye lid and was very lucky to have kept her sight.
We named her Fleur because she is as beautiful as a flower. She is now friends with several of the other donkeys at the holding base and is a very strong willed determined donkey, which on reflection probably helped her to overcome her cruel treatment. Never again will she need to be scared of the humans around her and she is now completely spoilt.