The core values of The Donkey Sanctuary are collaboration, compassion and creativity and we recently put all three into action to improve the standard of living for abandoned donkey Casper.
Our Welfare Department were recently called to assist another group – Cottage Rescue – who in recent years specialise in the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of dogs. They had been asked to look at an apparently abandoned donkey stallion found wandering the roads nearby; he was reported to have the most terribly overgrown feet. Hannah gladly took him in as she has a stable and previous experience with equine rescue. Our Donkey Welfare Adviser Katie Reed was called upon to visit and confirmed not only the appalling feet but also some worrying looking swelling of the sheath/penis area – which ‘Casper’ was most reluctant to have examined.
I visited next at Katie’s request and confirmed her findings. I couldn’t miss the feet and the fact that this adult stallion was in good, if not obese body condition. I even found he had a microchip – quite an unusual finding in these cases. I’m fortunate to be in the position of being able to carry and administer drugs and so I next sedated the donkey to have a proper look at his nether regions – the sores looked uncomfortable (and made this vet cross his legs!) but was affecting the surface of the penis only and not deeper tissues. Laurence O' Sullivan, Senior Veterinary Surgeon at The Donkey Sanctuary viewed a picture I send through and agreed it was most likely caused by trauma – no-one knew if Casper had been in the company of other donkeys recently. We’ll let nature take its course for the moment but feel it will settle down without too much veterinary interference.
Armed with farrier experience, two ladies to help restrain a somewhat sedated donkey and the tools to hand I set about correcting the worst of his hoof issues as best I could. Casper is now safely on a deep bed of shavings, a diet to manage his obesity and some pain relief to help him get used to his new feet. Time will tell how well he recovers and what the future holds – he may come to The Donkey Sanctuary or be rehomed direct; an owner may even come forward (but better be prepared for some grief!). For now he’s in a much safer place at Cottage Rescue than wandering the roads and grazing the ‘long acre’ on his impossibly high heels.