We are always telling people that donkeys are sociable animals which need company. This was certainly the case for a donkey called Planet. He is a fine healthy young donkey who lived in a big field in Co Roscommon. He lived “under the stars” as he had no shed or stable but he coped with that.
He had no additional feed during the winter but he survived. What he could not cope with was the loneliness. The farmer used the field for grazing cattle but as the field was low lying it was wet and the cattle only remained on the land for short periods. For the rest of the time Planet was on his own and this affected him greatly.
When I visited him he was happy to let me, a stranger, catch him and put on a head collar. The problem only came when I tried to leave. He became agitated and tried to chase me. He ran to a high spot and brayed at the cattle in the field across the road but they were no help. Clearly his behaviour was a sign of his mental distress. As his behaviour deteriorated his case was prioritised.
He was picked up and transported to a Donkey Sanctuary holding base in the company of six other donkeys. Now when Planet looks up at night there is a roof over his head, friends all around but he can still wander to the gate look up and see the stars.