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Donkey Mother and Foal Walk Free Thanks to Rescuers in Serbia

Donkey Mother and Foal Walk Free Thanks to Rescuers in Serbia

By Jovana Ivanstanin

Whilst sitting happily on my sofa in London, I came across a Facebook photo of two donkeys in Serbia. The photo was taken by someone who fosters dogs for the shelter we support and I noticed the donkeys were in very poor condition,  so I contacted the person who posted it for more information. He explained that the owner of the donkeys was a drunk who had threatened people who attempted to rescue the donkeys before with an axe and a knife, as well as a massive dog.

He also told me that there was a third donkey who got hit by a car and while still alive, the owner came to cut its throat with a knife as he refused to have the vet come and tend to the poor donkey. I felt I had no choice but to put the donkeys out of my mind as I couldn’t expect anyone to risk their own life to help them.

A few weeks later, I was in Serbia with others from the Forgotten Paws team as well as founders of Happy Endings Sanctuary. I told them about the donkeys and their crazy owner and together we decided we should go and see them in person.

With the help of our Serbian friends we found the mother and foal. The mother was tethered with no shade or available water.  The daughter stayed with her.  They were very sweet and gentle and enjoyed the attention but looked incredibly sad. From the river nearby, we brought two buckets of water to the mother who eagerly drank them.

After five long years without shelter or care for herself or her foal, mama donkey was about to taste freedom.

Immediately we knew we couldn’t walk away. We had to help the donkeys. After speaking to the locals, we found out that the mother donkey has been there for at least five years! How she survived, we don’t know. The temperatures in Serbia go into –20 degrees in winter and she had no shelter.

The daughter was overall in okay condition, unlike her mother whose feet had not seen a farrier for years. The foal wasn’t tethered, so could walk about and get a drink from the river. The older donkey’s feet resembled peasant shoes and curled upwards. The poor girl couldn’t walk properly. Both of them had a million burrs in their coats and their hair had fallen out where they both had rope around their necks.

We left the donkeys and went away planning where to put them and how to get the owner to give them up.  With the help of Zoo Planeta in Serbia, we found a lovely family who would foster the donkeys, but we would be responsible for all their costs from feed to the farrier.  Now we just had to deal with the owner.

After many phone calls, eventually we reached an agreement. The man would sell us the donkeys for 300 euros and sign a contract with witnesses stating that the donkeys had been sold to us.  As much as we did not want to give him the money, that was the only way these donkeys could be saved, so the five of us put our personal money together and became responsible for the two neglected hairy beasts!

We couldn’t wait to get the donkeys to their foster home. For the first time in years, these donkeys will receive care and attention as well as be fed and watered appropriately. The farrier has been booked as well as the vet for their overall health check up, vaccinations and deworming.

To learn more about Forgotten Paws or for updates on the donkeys, visit our website www.forgotten-paws.com

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204 comments

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1:56PM PDT on May 15, 2015

Aawww, thanks so much to the rescuers, donkeys are such sweet animals, and they´re not thickheaded at all (which´s often been said), they feel the smallest vibrations under their hooves, that´s why they stop sometimes and don´t walk for another meter...

5:54PM PDT on May 13, 2015

Hon. Liz Sandals: Introduce a new course called "COMPASSION" for Grade 1 and Grade 12. https://www.change.org/p/hon-liz-sandals-introduce-a-new-course-called-compassion-for-grade-1-and-grade-12

9:59PM PDT on May 6, 2015

Great story, great ending, love donkeys.

9:58PM PDT on May 6, 2015

Great to have a happy ending, cruel mongeral he will get his.

2:38AM PDT on May 5, 2015

Awesome :D

8:25AM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

6:21AM PDT on Jun 16, 2013

Thank you =)

7:04PM PDT on Jun 15, 2013

Remarkable story - Jovana "just happened" to come across the photos of the donkeys on Facebook and then, "just happened" to be in Siberia a few later and was able to help rescue them! Wonderful, heartwarming, and should make us all stop and think about the events in our lives that "just happened" to occur!

12:32PM PDT on Jun 15, 2013

Thank you for rescuing these sweet creatures! :)

10:50AM PDT on May 28, 2013

Thank you...thank you...thank you!

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