It’s not every day that one donkey leaves a lasting impression not only on staff, but thousands of visitors to the Sanctuary. That one donkey is called Jubilee who for four years formed part of the ‘meet and greet’ donkeys down on the Main Yard.
Despite all our efforts to rally round to give him the love and attention he desperately wanted, over the past couple of weeks Jubilee’s health started deteriorating rapidly. The grooms increased his feed to try and maintain his weight, but with all the best will in the world, there comes a time to make the decision we all dread when it’s time to say goodbye to an animal we have loved and cared for.
Jubilee came into our care in 2007 after living with his owner for almost 30 years, but due to personal circumstances he could no longer look after Jubilee.
He missed his owner terribly and our staff had to watch Jubilee carefully in case he developed a stress-related condition called hyperlipaemia, which can be fatal in donkeys.
For those who knew Jubilee, he will be remembered as a very quiet and gentle donkey who gave so much and asked for little in return. His love of people shone with the tenderness he showed them.
Angela Harlow, one of our quality time volunteers, wrote about Jubilee which is a fitting tribute to Jubilee’s character:
“One warm afternoon, during the summer I witnessed another of Jubilee's character traits - his tenderness towards other animals. Lying in the middle of the yard was an elderly Golden Retriever, his owners were busy photographing and cuddling donkeys. Gradually Jubilee made his way over to the old dog, both animals passively regarding the other, until Jubilee was almost on top of the dog. The owners of the dog seemed unperturbed and so we settled to watch what would happen next. Jubilee bent down and touched noses with the dog, who simply closed his eyes.
After a moment or two Jubilee then very gently took the old dog's paw in his mouth and held it a few inches above the ground before placing it back down again. Jubilee then placed his head close to the dog's head and both animals stayed like that for several minutes more. I have no idea what was communicated between those two animals that afternoon, but whatever it was, it was gentle and respectful.”
Jubilee was at his happiest when surrounded by people. And what a fitting end towards the end of his life to have been centre of attention at our Candlelight evening on Friday 9th December 2011 being loved by so many.
This photo was one of the very last public photos we took of Jubilee as he wished everyone a Merry Christmas at Candlelight.
A gentle donkey who loved people, Jubilee will be greatly missed by us all.