Staff at the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary are “heartbroken” at the loss of three elderly residents.
The charity has paid tribute to Nobby, who suffered a severe bout of colic, and Scott, who had been suffering from laminitis, who were both put down on 4 January, just over a fortnight after Oliver had been put down, also owing to severe laminitis.
The sanctuary said Nobby was attended to through the night last Thursday (3 January) but his condition continued to deteriorate.
In a statement, the charity said: “By the morning Nobby’s vital organs were beginning to fail and there was no other option but to put him to sleep, attended by our farm manager Laura and our vet Anthi from Vectis Equine.
“Nobby was a real character, beloved by all the staff, and famous for his ability to unzip staff fleeces and look into their pockets for food. Nobby was the fastest runner in the OAP group and was unsurpassed as the leader of the pack running into the fields. He was well into his 40s, lived a fabulous life and thrived in the last few years when his growing fan club visited him regularly.”
The sanctuary said that since the start of November, Scott had been looking uncomfortable and that despite veterinary treatment, his condition worsened in late December, especially after the death of his companion Oliver.
“The changes in the bones meant that he would never be able to bear weight on that foot again, and the sad decision was taken by us all that our only option was to put him to sleep,” the statement said.
Oliver had also been suffering from laminitis for “many years” and but his condition “worsened dramatically” in December.
“He received the very special care that he deserved but passed away at 5pm,” said the spokesman.
“People will know that Ollie suffered all kinds of problems with his joints and his back, and this latest issue was just one too many for him to recover from. He passed away with his friend Scott at his side, along with our vets and farm team.”
The sanctuary said it “has to remain positive” for the animals who rely on it.
“Whilst we could feel sorry for ourselves because of the tough time we are currently having, we would like to remind everybody of what is really happening at the moment. A number of our very old donkeys, whose background was uncertain and whose history is often unknown, are coming to the end of their lives at the same time,” said the spokesman.
SPANA comes to the rescue of working donkeys with specially made nosebands
The four equines, Happiness, Geoffrey, Nincompoop and Bill, recently came into the care of the Donkey Sanctuary
“They have lived for a time length beyond our expectations, have had their lives extended by fabulous care and welfare but, like all of us, they eventually reach the end of their time. We have lots of animals here and times like this are going to be a fact of life, even though it is unbelievably distressing for everybody.
“This has been a torrid few months which has tested the emotions of all of us – staff, volunteers and supporters – and there are never any guarantees that all our troubles are over. However we will stand by what we set out to do when the current team arrived at the sanctuary in 2012: we will be as honest as we can, keep people up to date with what is happening here (good and bad) and show our appreciation and support for all the kindness we receive from people who encourage us. Because we have a lot of animals, things seem worse when we have a tough period such as the one we are enduring.”
The sanctuary said it will be writing individually to people who adopted the donkeys and thanked everybody for their support.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.