Down-on-her-luck Delilah had an unconventional upbringing, spotted grazing the green fringes of a superstore carpark and nibbling on grass outside a doctor’s surgery. Her “stabling” was said to be the back of a transit van.
Now, life is looking up for the young donkey, who has been given a home by the British-based charity World Horse Welfare.
Delilah was seen several times around Middlesex being fly-grazed – the British term for leaving animals to eat the grass on public or private land without permission.
One of the charity’s field officers, Nick White, had visited Delilah, advising her owners on the care she required and providing forage.
“The first time I was alerted to Delilah, she was less than a year old, very frightened and living overnight in the back of a transit van which she had to jump up into,” White recalls.
“The van had no ventilation and only rags on the floor with no fresh air and would have been very cold during the winter nights.
“During the day she was tethered in the car park of a DIY superstore near Heathrow and her owners would not be parted with her, despite my offers to take her into the charity’s care.
“I continued to monitor her condition and saw her in a number of different locations. On a visit one day in March, Delilah was clearly exhausted and lying on the grass outside of a local doctor’s surgery with no water.
“This is clearly not ideal for any equine, but particularly for donkeys who rely so heavily on companionship – and at such a young age too. I knew we had to try and get her out of this situation.
“Coming across a fly-grazing donkey is certainly not a common occurrence in my job with World Horse Welfare but thankfully we were able to save Delilah.
“I met with the people who had been caring for her and it became apparent that her previous owners had moved on, leaving Delilah behind and with no provisions for her care.
“Her current carers were about to be evicted and could not take Delilah with them so they gladly signed her over into World Horse Welfare’s ownership.”
Delilah was then transported to World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre where she has since been undergoing rehabilitation and learning all about what the life of an equine should be.
“She now has a bright future ahead,” White says.
Delilah is reportedly thriving in her new life and is enjoying making lots of new friends with the various horses and ponies at the Somerset-based centre.
Delilah’s friendly nature and good looks have already proved a hit with visitors and a recent competition to find a fitting name for this furry donkey had more than 100 entries.
The winning name was suggested by visitor Kate in honour of her daughter, Delilah, and an official naming ceremony will take place soon.