When ten year old donkey James was rescued after being found abandoned in Coleraine, Northern Ireland last September, he was in a pretty poor way. His neglect had left him struggling to walk on his painfully long, twisted and cracked hooves, and you could see that he was by no means a happy donkey. When our vets checked him over and carried out the routine blood tests that all donkeys have when they first come into our care, concerns were raised that he might have liver damage. On his arrival at Sidmouth last November, about the time when footage of him appeared in our TV advert, staff were continuing to keep an eye out for signs of liver problems. He also sported a rather smart rug to make sure he stayed extra snug and was on additional feeds to encourage him to eat more.
I’m pleased to say that I now have an update for you – and it’s good news! I went out to Woods Farm near Sidmouth earlier today to meet those taking part in our annual International Donkey Week holiday, and got talking to one of the grooms who cares for James on a day-to-day basis. She told me that he is gaining in confidence, is putting on weight and that vets no longer have any concerns about his liver. He is certainly settling in to Devonshire life, and with the help of his best friend Bobby, he is learning to hold his own amid the other young – and sometimes feisty – donkeys in his group. He has a lovely temperament and loves being around people, so staff are looking forward to taking him and Bobby for walks when the weather improves.
Having met James shortly after he was rescued, and seeing how miserable and ‘under-the-weather’ he looked, I cannot tell you how happy I was to hear that he is now officially a healthy donkey, and I will certainly do my upmost to make sure I am at the front of the queue for walks when the time comes!