Donkeys form extremely strong bonds and the loss of one of a pair of close friends can pose a real threat to the health and wellbeing of the one left behind.
At Redwings Horse Sanctuary, the vets and equine care teams understand just how carefully a lonely donkey must be monitored and managed to help them recover. So when beautiful donkey Derek sadly lost his inseparable companion Clive in September 2015 due to a severe case of colic, they knew they needed to find him a new special friend.
Derek and Clive had arrived at Redwings’ Aylsham Visitor Centre, north of Norwich, in 2013 following a desperate plea from their owner who was no longer able to care for them and was struggling to find a suitable new home where they could remain together. Redwings has an open-door policy for these adorable long-eared creatures to ensure their complex care needs are met and the pair were warmly welcomed into the Sanctuary.
Having been friends since birth, finding a new donkey pal to step into the hoof prints of Clive was going to be tall order!
Luckily help was on hand in the form of a gentle donkey called Harry, who had been living with Redwings’ largest donkey herd at its Caldecott Visitor Centre, near Great Yarmouth, also in Norfolk. The teams held their breath and crossed their fingers as he was carefully introduced to Derek in October 2015. But no one need have worried – Derek attached himself firmly to Harry and the pair have been best buddies ever since!
Louisa, a member of the horse care team at Redwings Aylsham, said,
“It was a very special moment and a great relief. Derek had been doing well with his other donkey friends Wiggins and Wacko, but he was quiet sometimes and, having been with Clive for so many years, we knew he would want his own best buddy again. He perked up straight away when he met Harry and he is very much back to his old self again. It was wonderful to see!”
Thank you to Redwings Horse Sanctuary for contributing this blog post.