On an ordinary day in January, welfare adviser Ian Colton received an urgent call about a donkey that needed our help. Shortly afterwards, the donkey we called Janus came into our care. This is his story.
It can take just a single phone call to change my day. I had a few routine calls lined up for a short January day but these were quickly abandoned after a more urgent call from a Department of Agriculture Veterinary Inspector about a donkey that he was concerned about. I followed him into a yard, where we passed the carcasses of several small animals in plain sight in our search for the donkey. We found him lying down and reluctant to get up which is never a good sign and raised my fears for his health. He was reluctant to stand, probably as he got relief from pain when lying down. The donkey was a large framed stallion whose hooves resembled what can only be described as an implement for digging turf. Due to the length of his hooves, the donkey's posture was abnormal. Once he showed he could not walk with a natural gait, I had no hesitation in describing him as 'welfare compromised'.
The remains of what was probably a bale of silage was in a rack but it appeared to have been there for some time. There was no sign of water for the donkey to drink. A bucket of water was sourced and I gave the donkey a small feed of my emergency feed ration.
I checked the donkey's temperature which thankfully was normal and scanned him for a microchip, without a result. The Veterinary Inspector was of the opinion that the donkey was fit to travel and requested our assistance in taking him into our care. He was worried about the donkey's hooves and recognised they needed careful and regular trimming to return them to the correct length and shape.
The necessary arrangements were made and the following day Eugene attended to collect the much neglected animal. The donkey owner was expecting us and had removed the carcasses. We found the donkey standing in a pen with some pigs, unaware of his new future. The donkey took one look at the fresh shavings in our vehicle and marched straight in, becoming one of the first rescues for 2019.
We called the donkey Janus and he was brought straight to New Arrivals where he was met by members of our veterinary team. A few days later I received a photo taken of Janus at New Arrivals. It was rewarding to see him clipped out and rugged up with perfectly trimmed hooves. He looked splendid.
Photos like that can put me in good humour for a week.
Our welfare team respond to welfare concerns about donkeys and mules all year round. Thanks to YOU, we can keep our team on the road. Please donate today to help us continue to care for donkeys like Janus.