An animal rescue centre in Ireland has pulled off a remarkable rescue, hauling a stranded donkey through dangerous floodwaters to safety.
The donkey, who goes by the name of Mike, has Suzanne Gibbons, of the Kerry-based charity Animal Heaven Animal Rescue (AHAR), to thank for saving his life.
A storm which swept across Ireland had blown over the gate to Mike’s pasture, as well as the shed in which he took shelter. He wandered off into the path of the rising floodwaters and became trapped.
His owner contacted AHAR, which Gibbons founded in 1991, for help.
Gibbons posted on the group’s popular Facebook page: “Code red. Today’s emergency. Please help me. There is a donkey stranded in deep flooding in Kilorglin. I need a boat and men to help. I have ropes etc.”
The man of the hour was local rowing club coach Mike Fleming.
Gibbons said: “He was my last chance and phone call to beg for a boat. He listened and he drove down to meet me. I knew straight away he had the guts to do it. No negative attitude … He braved such dangerous water to help us save him.”
Fleming and Gibbons were joined in the rescue attempt by another local, whose name was given on Facebook as Declan.
The entire drama played out on Facebook.
The rescuers headed out in the boat through the floodwaters on the River Laune to reach Mike. They secured the bedraggled donkey in a lifebuoy and began to carefully tow him through the floodwaters to safety.
Mike bobbed underneath the floodwaters at times, frightening his rescuers, but always popped back up, thanks to the lifebuoy.
Finally, Mike was ashore, and Gibbons was ecstatic.
“Never say something can’t be done, just do it. Declan and Mike were beyond brave. So many people told me don’t do it; it can’t be done. You can’t swim, you’ll get killed. These two men just said, ‘OK girl, let’s give it a go.’ I love you both for what you did today. My heroes.”
The charity stressed that Mike had a loving owner, and had sought help after he realised he would be unable to rescue Mike on his own. He was present the whole time and was in tears when the rescuers hauled Mike to safety.
“Mike the donkey has a really genuine owner and is so grateful we saved him,” the charity said. “He has had him for years.”
Mike was taken back to AHAR’s base, where he was dried with towels and fed a hot mash.
He was seen by a vet and was given a course of antibiotics to ward off the threat of pneumonia.
Mike has a small amount of fluid in one lung but the vet said he would recover.
“All he needs is loads of TLC.”
Gibbons praised everyone involved in the rescue, and would clearly do it all over again if she had to.
“He was so worth the danger just to see his little face on dry land.”
Mike will spend a little while recovering at the charity’s rescue centre before being returned to his grateful owner.