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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.
James was rescued by The Donkey Sanctuary after being abandoned and spending two years alone in a field with no adequate access to shelter or grazing. He was in very poor body condition with severely overgrown and twisted hooves. James like so many other donkeys have been neglected and abused and The Donkey Sanctuary has come to their rescue. The mission of the Sanctuary is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home our donkeys by transforming their quality of life. Our vision is of a world where donkeys and mules live free from suffering, and their contribution to humanity is fully valued.
The Donkey Sanctuary welfare team provide donkey care courses throughout Ireland catering for all abilities, levels of knowledge and interest. On Saturday past eleven enthusiastic individuals gathered in my kitchen to learn more about the wonderful world of donkeys! It became clear to me that there were four distinct groups present:
Group 1 – exuberantly enthusiast persons, keen on learning more about donkeys but had never cared for an animal bigger than a Labrador dog.
The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland was in receipt of a funding award from The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on Christmas week. The funding will help to launch and implement a proposed Donkey Welfare Improvement Scheme (DWIS) for 2017.
The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland has been in operation for almost thirty years and in that time has rescued and rehabilitated over 5,250 donkeys and mules. The organisation is currently overstretched and is currently caring for a staggering 1,823 donkeys and mules.
On Sunday night last I got a phone-call about a slot that had opened up on the RTÉ Today Show on Monday evening. I spoke at length with Denise the researcher and we got the ball rolling! Denise wanted a donkey to come to the studio but after explaining that donkeys require companionship she quickly agreed that two donkeys would be more suitable and we knew the two girls that would be right for the job- Molly and Ginny.
I first met Comet and Eclipse in July 2015, two stunning skewbald donkeys, mother and daughter. Although their elderly owner cared about them, he could no longer care for them and contacted The Donkey Sanctuary for help rehoming his donkeys. They made the long journey from Meath to Cork where they received much needed attention to their hooves, teeth and other routine treatments. Although gentle and friendly, both mares were nervous and had received only limited handling. It would take some time to return both to full health and build their trust in people.