Moment of hope in sadness as rescue donkey bonds with new friend after companion’s death

  • A severely lame and overweight donkey taken in by a charity a year ago is now on the road to recovery and has bonded with a new friend following the sad loss of her companion.

    Lily, 11, and Amy, 13, were overweight and struggling to walk when a concerned member of the public contacted the Donkey Sanctuary in February 2020.

    “It was clear from the way Lily was standing that she was in discomfort,” said the charity’s welfare adviser, Jenna Goldby, who responded to the call last year.

    “She needed farrier attention to remove the overgrown hoof and allow her legs to straighten.”

    Although Amy’s hooves looked less severe than Lily’s, her behaviour caused more concern. The donkey was displaying tension and pain, and was constantly shifting her weight from one foot to the other.

    “Even when she was standing still, Amy’s stance indicated the discomfort she was in,” she added.

    “She stood with her back arched, head down and tail tucked tightly in. It was heartbreaking to witness how every step was so painful for her.”

    A vet gave the pair pain relief before they were taken to Penmellyn Veterinary Hospital, where they stayed for a week until their condition was stable enough for them to be taken to the Donkey Sanctuary’s headquarters in Sidmouth, Devon.

    Lily’s health continued to improve, but Amy’s condition caused serious concerns.

    Lily at the time of rescue.

    “Unfortunately, the X-rays of Amy’s hooves showed permanent and considerable damage to the bones within the hooves,” said Ms Goldby.

    “Despite the veterinary team’s tireless efforts to alleviate her discomfort, she continued to display signs of pain.”

    She added it was decided that the kindest option was for Amy to be put down.

    The charity was concerned that Lily was at risk of developing hyperlipaemia — a potentially fatal stress-related condition in donkeys — so she was quickly found a suitable group of donkeys to settle in with.

    One year on and Lily is thriving with her companions and has bonded with a miniature donkey named Faith.

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    “Lily and Faith bonded quickly,” said farm supervisor, Liza Macmaster.

    “They follow each other around a lot, and if one has disappeared for a few minutes, they will find each other and pair up again.

    “Lily really likes attention and fuss. When we are mucking out the stables, she will stand next to our grooms and is delighted to receive some affection.”

    The original condition of her feet mean it is unlikely that Lily will be eligible for rehoming, but she has a home for life at the sanctuary.

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