I associate bush fires with places like Australia and they conjure images of kangaroos running from the flames.
Our work brings us into some of the remotes parts of Ireland and when the RTE news carries a headline “Firefighters make major progress over gorse fire” its implications for donkeys was not immediately obvious.
The fire was on a hillside commonage in Co Sligo and very extensive with approximately 4,000 acres affected by the fire.
My first indication that all was not well came when I came across diversion signs on my way to a farmer who was availing of our Donkey Welfare Improvement Scheme.
When we met he said that the donkeys were lucky to be in the field and not yet moved to their summer grazing on the mountain commonage. As we drove the mile to the field we made our way between 'Road Closed' signs and passed fire engines before reaching the donkeys.
Happily all was well with his five donkeys. I was generally pleased with the donkeys’ condition but we needed to discuss castration, worming, the benefit of fitting a head collar to make it easier to handle the them, tips to improve their housing for next winter and as is usually the case the need for more regular hoof care.
Having arranged for a farrier to attend to the donkeys' hooves I carried on leaving an unusual combination of farmer, donkeys and fire engines behind - all that it really needed was a kangaroo to make the situation totally surreal.