News 30th April 2007

Jetta and Frankie were found in appalling condition at Drumshanbo Mart and after some negotiations the selling dealers agreed to relinquish them to the Sai Sanctuary.

Jetta was extremely emaciated and dehydrated, she has a damaged front leg that looks as if it may have been broken at some time and has had both ears clipped at the tips and on both outer edges (maybe tags that were torn out?). She also sports a large "S" brand on her ribcage which we have decided is "s" for "saved" and "Sanctuary", whatever it's original meaning.

Frankie, though not as thin, suffered a wracking cough that literally brought him to his knees in exhaustion. A heavy worm burden was almost certainly the main cause but the equine disease 'Strangles' was suspected and he was kept in isolation and treated with enormous care for some weeks.

Both ponies were terrified so it took many weeks of patient work before we could confirm that Frankie was only a foal (he looked more like a goat on arrival!) of around 8 months and Jetta, although she looked old, was probably only about 7 years old. We are happy to report both are now doing well and beginning to allow people into their space.

Below: Jetta on arrival and some weeks later



Left: Working with Frankie to gain his confidence




Two stallions

Early in June we were asked to take two donkey stallions as they had become "unmanageable". Part of the problem was a lack of qualified farriers in the area so the owner had had to resort to using a local man who claimed to know how to trim the donkeys' hooves. The result was two hurt, frightened and angry donkeys and two badly kicked men, and the owner wanted us to get the donkeys gelded at his own expense and work with them so he could handle them again, when if all was well, he would be happy to have them back.

Unfortunately, the story does not have a happy ending. Because the bigger and older of the donkeys was such a handful we arranged for them to be castrated at the Dublin University Veterinary Hospital where they could live in sterile conditions away from summer flies and field infections until they were healed. The operations were successful and we were on our way to collect them when we received a call to wait a while longer; the older donkey had become suddenly and acutely unwell. Later the same day he was euthanased on humane grounds and a post mortem showed that his caecum (part of the large intestine) was enlarged to three times its normal size and perforated with minute holes, through which stomach fluids had seeped into the abdomen. We still await a full report but can be sure that whatever the cause, it was unrelated to the castration operation.

Naturally we were all devastated, particularly the donkey's owner, and of course, the other smaller and younger donkey, who now suddenly had to cope with a whole new environment without his lifelong mate. Here the story begins to improve as little Puzzle, as we called him, has turned the corner and is making many new friends of both the long-eared and human kind. He is a timid little fellow who had always been overshadowed by his big, ebullient friend but is gaining confidence daily and now allows gentle stroking of his head and neck.



Puzzle settling in at the Sanctuary





In late June we lost dear Maudie, the last of our three really damaged "golden oldie" donkeys. Maudie was not the oldest in years but suffered with severely damaged front legs and hooves, so she was always kept with our other less mobile donkeys and ponies.

Her passing was unexpected in that she appeared to be in good health and was motoring around the field grazing and sunning herself between showers the day before, but was found the next morning in her bed, where she had slipped away peacefully sometime in the early hours.

She was a gentle, much loved little donkey who had been a faithful companion to many other sick and infirm donkeys throughout her last years here at the Sanctuary and we miss her.


Film Makers

Carola and Bernd Gotta, professional film makers in Germany before moving to Ireland a few years ago, have been busy for many months making a mini-documentary about our work at the Sanctuary.

Their enterprise caught the imagination of the local newspaper The Leitrim Post who published an article about them on 12th July, 2007.

We thank them for their hours of patient and exacting work in all weathers - often not the weather they preferred! - and wish them well with their future plans, both for this undertaking and others.



30th June 2007

This month saw many other casualties at the Drumshanbo Mart in Co. Leitrim. As The Donkey Sanctuary is active on behalf of the donkeys at this Mart but no one is looking out for the horses and ponies it falls on us to fill this gap, hence the photos we have are of ponies rather than donkeys. Unfortunately, there are many in need of help but with limited resources, limited space and limited (wo)manpower, we can only touch the tip of the iceberg.

Carrys was the lucky one from this particular Mart on this particular day - an elderly, emaciated Welsh pony mare with severely infected eyes and an extremely sore muzzle and nose from untreated sunburn which had blistered, cracked and become infected. Her selling dealer was aware of her problems and very happy to send her into care, for which we are grateful.

Carrys needs to see a dentist but she's a hyperactive, anxious little soul who will need sedation before her mouth can be treated. At present she is so underweight our vet is reluctant to administer sedative drugs, so we have the difficult process of getting weight on her bones while she still has difficulty eating! However, she has improved even in two weeks so watch this space......

Right: Carris at home and already improving and

Left and Below:  Other sad and needy ponies