In May we met Pele and Mickey, who were in dire need of care and companionship. These two beautiful donkeys had been well looked after by their owner but when he passed away, they were left alone in their field. The family had their own grief to deal with and busied themselves with selling the property and settling the estate. Most of the family had little to do with the donkeys, in fact several family members were afraid of them, so Mickey and Pele were left on their own. No one considered the impact of the owner’s death, on the two donkeys. Not only had they lost their caregiver; they’d also lost their friend.

All through the summer, and on into an extra wet autumn, Mickey and Pele were left to their own devices in a field lush with green grass (the field in the background of Mickey’s photo below). The family, unaware of the needs of donkeys, thought Mickey and Pele would be ok in a field full of grass. As the grass kept growing, so did the donkeys’ hooves. The property was sold, and the family finally turned to the question of  “What do we do with the donkeys?”

And so, the Trust was called. By this time though, one of the donkeys, Pele, had developed severe laminitis in his front feet and his buddy Mickey’s back feet were heading the same way. After consultation with the Trust, the donkeys were moved to a small paddock, a vet was called and one of our Trustees who lived nearby went to visit them.

The vet bound Pele’s front feet to cushion them and put him on a course of Bute to help control the inflammation and pain, but a farrier was urgently needed as neither donkey had had a trim since last year. Poor Pele could hardly walk; his poor feet were so splayed.

A local farrier was contacted, who, as luck would have it, had trimmed these donkeys’ hooves when their owner was alive. He knew them as soon as the Trustee mentioned where they were located. The next day, the farrier was able to quickly assess what needed to be done and trim the hooves to give the donkeys better balance and alignment, thereby taking the pressure off the ligaments and relieving some of the pain the donkeys were enduring 

Almost immediately Mickey was moving around more freely, and while Pele was still limping gingerly, he stood straighter and seemed happier.

With the family home sold and the new owners soon to take possession, the donkeys needed to be moved, and the family agreed to relinquish their ownership of Mickey and Pele to the Trust for rehabilitation and eventual rehoming.

Arrangements were made for them to be picked up the following weekend and Mickey and Pele soon found themselves in the care of our guardian in the Wairarapa. They were taken off grass completely and the Trust arranged for Pele to have his front feet x-rayed.

We can now report that both donkeys are doing well. They are both still off grass and in an undercover yard on hay and betta beet. Pele’s sore feet have improved dramatically. He is no longer on bute but does wear Soft-ride boots 24/7. He has virtually no pain when in these boots but still stumbles on turns when out of them. The vet has seen him twice. His feet, when x-rayed,showed rotation so he has probably had laminitis before. The vet will come again in five weeks to reassess the situation but at the moment it is status quo.

Their guardian had their teeth done and it was obvious they had not been done for a long time. There were lots of points but nothing too bad. They will though need redoing in 6 months.

For now both Pele and Mickey are on the road to recovery.