Spare a thought for donkeys in need this Christmas
It was last New Year’s Eve when we rescued a young donkey called Echo, found cruelly abandoned in a muddy field, soaked to the skin and with extremely long hooves that were causing terrible suffering.
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What a sad and lonely Christmas Echo must have endured. He was in a shocking state, recalls Jane Bruce, one of our welfare advisers.
“The neglect of his hooves stands out as one of the worst cases that I have witnessed,” she says. “He was shifting his weight from one foot to another in order to alleviate the pain.”
Nervous and mistrusting, Echo was brought safely into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland, with the beginning of the year marking the start of his road to miraculous recovery.
During a full veterinary assessment, x-rays were taken of Echo’s feet to assess the severity of the damage. In what was likely to have been his first ever farrier treatment, he had the curled and twisted excess hoof removed. He could now walk free from pain for the first time in months, if not years.
As well as a bed of warm straw and a manger full of nutritious food, Echo had people to care for him and the company of other donkeys. Over the coming months, grooms gave Echo the patient, loving care he had sadly never enjoyed, and which he so desperately needed to build his emotional confidence.
“He’s really come out of his shell, and is learning to trust humans again,” says Jane. “He will now come up to me for feed and treats and is far more accepting of being handled and fussed over. He really is a lovely, friendly boy.”