Gin, Tonic & baby Valentino
Rescued July 12, 2011. Valentino born: February 15, 2012.
Gin and Tonic were found in some of the worst conditions we’ve ever seen. Locked in a filthy barn in complete darkness and left without food or water, they were shockingly thin.
Their rescue began with a terribly thin horse named Blanca, who was tied beside a road near San Luis without food or water, prompting a resident to call our centre.
One of our nearby volunteers went to investigate and, after giving poor Blanca some water, ventured further down the path toward some buildings.
There, our volunteer found two horses, Oscar and Mimosa, locked in cages. Gin and Tonic were there too, trapped in an old building in darkness and wading around in their own urine and faeces.
We immediately went to the property to assess the situation for ourselves and then contacted police. The police warned that we were on private property and advised us to leave. The warning came too late, and the owners arrived as we hung up the phone.
We spoke to the owners and, since there was no police back-up on site, we offered to purchase the horses and donkeys. After a heated discussion, they agreed to sell Blanca on the spot. We can thank our wonderful volunteer for acquiring her.
The battle to free Gin and Tonic continued over the next few days. It took almost two months to rescue Mimosa, while Oscar couldn’t be freed until late 2015. The whole ordeal gained extensive local media coverage, which assisted in our plight.
Incredibly, seven months after their July 2011 rescue, Gin managed to give birth to a healthy foal. We remain forever amazed that she managed to carry her foal to full term after suffering such serious neglect.
The night of the birth was so cold that the water troughs were frozen and hail was even falling. Gin had a rug on, but she was so protective of her new baby that she would not let us near. We were so worried that he would freeze as he was still wet from birth. However, Gin was a marvellous mother; she stood over him and kept him warm.
Born on February 15, just a day after Valentine’s Day, we initially called this foal Valentine. But after closer inspection, we changed the name to Valentino – because "she" is actually a he!
Unlike his rescued parents, Valentino will never be subjected to starvation, cruelty or abuse. He has only known love and has blossomed into a very handsome young donkey.
When we rescue family units like this, we try our best to keep them together. So Gin, Tonic and Valentino still live together in one field today. Their bond is unbreakable.
As a non-profit foundation staffed almost entirely by volunteers, we rely on your donations to continue our work to save donkeys like Gin, Tonic and Valentino, and to cover their ongoing feeding and care costs. Find out how you can help here.