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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.