Education is without doubt a key part of the answer to improving the lives of donkeys and mules in Ireland and running donkey care courses in new venues throughout Leinster is something high on the priority list. We have held successful courses in Wexford and Dublin in established guardian homes and at My Lovely Horse welfare organisation in Kildare. Courses have been well attended and the feedback has been positive and encouraging.
Courses do however take time to set up, promote and run effectively but the pros outweigh the cons. With an escalation in welfare complaints and a never ending stream of relinquishment requests coupled with the day to day task of supporting established guardian homes and keeping an eye of potential new homes, the courses can be a task.
One phone call this week was all it took to underline just how important educating the public is. A kind lady called Sarah took part in our Stage 1 course at Airfield House in Dublin earlier this month and as a result of what she learned from myself and Eugene (donkey expert) that day she was able to alert her neighbour to a change in his donkey's behaviour and using the confidence she gained from her new knowledge gently insisted that a vet was required. Thankfully Sarah’s determination paid off and donkey Neddy is now under vet treatment for a serious respiratory infection. Neddy’s owner admitted to not noticing the symptoms and both he and the attending vet praised Sarah’s quick reactions.
Sarah's follow up phone call underpinned the importance of what we do and highlighted how beneficial it is for us to share our wealth of knowledge that we have gleaned over many years.
I hope like me it helps to remind and encourage you that although our time is precious, when we spend it wisely and effectively we absolutely do make a difference to donkeys and their owners alike.