Bullied and neglected, donkey duo now thriving in care

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Lottie, left, and Lola were living in a muddy field and needed urgent farrier care.
Lottie, left, and Lola were living in a muddy field and needed urgent farrier care. © The Donkey Sanctuary

As if their muddy field and overgrown hooves weren’t enough, a pair of donkeys struggling to walk were also being bullied by two horses.

Lottie and Lola, both aged nine, were discovered in late December 2019 at a site near Carlisle. Their field was sodden and their shelter was closely guarded by a couple of horses who wouldn’t let them enter it. Their only protection from the wind and rain was to hide behind a hedge.

Lola was living with Lottie and a couple of horses in a muddy field.
Lola was living with Lottie and a couple of horses in a muddy field. © The Donkey Sanctuary

But the future is now much brighter for the pair, who are now in the care of The Donkey Sanctuary. Donkey Welfare Adviser Sally Bamforth said the donkeys were living in “totally unsuitable conditions” and although they were being fed, their needs in every other respect were not being met.

“Lola’s feet in particular, were in a terrible condition and both had seriously overgrown hooves.”

The owner of the donkeys was recently bereaved and unable to care for his late wife’s donkeys. When contacted he promptly relinquished Lottie and Lola into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary.

Both donkeys had overgrown feed but Lola's were the worst.
Both donkeys had overgrown feed but Lola’s were the worst. © The Donkey Sanctuary

On the day of rescue, the charity’s welfare team spent hours with the nervous donkeys so they could be fitted with head collars and prepared for transportation to a holding base. On arrival, the pair began their recovery with the care of a vet and farrier, who began remedial treatment on their seriously overgrown hooves.

Despite initial concerns about Lola’s feet, which were in the worst condition, long-term damage had been averted.  “Although the pair were struggling to walk, thanks to our intervention at a pivotal moment, we were able to prevent Lottie and Lola’s feet from getting any worse had they stayed in the boggy field,” Bamforth said.

Lola's hooves get some much-needed attention.
Lola’s hooves get some much-needed attention. © The Donkey Sanctuary

“More importantly, The Donkey Sanctuary has provided a positive future for these donkeys. It was so sad that Lottie and Lola were not being handled and their needs neglected; donkeys are sociable animals by nature, so it was important to start building up that trust with them as soon as possible.”

Today both donkeys are continuing to make excellent progress. Although still a little nervous, the pair are being handled regularly and continue to grow in confidence. Depending on their on-going care needs, they will either remain at The Donkey Sanctuary or will be re-homed via the charity’s rehoming scheme.

Lottie and Lola at the holding base after rescue.
Lottie and Lola at the holding base after rescue. © The Donkey Sanctuary

The Donkey Sanctuary is a global leader for equine welfare, research and veterinary care. The charity operates programmes worldwide for animals working in agriculture, industry and transportation.

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