Rescued: July 10, 2013
One summer’s morning, we received a call from Orihuela police about a property near Callosa de Segura: a man who’d apparently been hoarding horses and donkeys had accidentally cut himself on something and died alone on the property.
His equines were left to starve.
They were all kept in absolutely horrendous conditions and, upon further investigation, dogs were also found hidden out the back of the property in cages. The Spanish dog rescue charity Asoka got involved, and were absolutely brilliant, although we do believe some dogs died because they were sadly too far gone.
We were asked to take five donkeys – Little Lady, as well as Ma Curly, Geronimo, Ray and Dreamer (who sadly passed away shortly after his rescue).
All five donkeys were in appalling condition, but Little Lady was by far the worst. Her hooves, left untrimmed for years, had grown so long and laminitic that she could no longer walk. So Little Lady was simply unable to get to what little food was available on the property. She truly was horrifically thin and very weak when rescued.
Back at our stables, we immediately sought specialist assistance for Little Lady’s hooves. Our farrier was able to make Little Lady far more comfortable, but the damage to her hooves and joints is severe and permanent. She remains on strong medications to ensure she lives a pain-free life.
At first, Little Lady was very timid, but with gentle handling and much affection she gradually came out of her shell. As she recovered, our rescued mule Dexter would pay a visit to her stable each morning to say hello. Then, as she grew stronger, Little Lady began to wander around the yard in the afternoons.
We knew delicate Little Lady would never be strong enough to mix with our boisterous crew of other donkeys. But eventually she did find the perfect best friend. In February 2015, we rescued another donkey named Della, who also suffered from severely deformed hooves caused by years of neglect.
We introduced the two slowly and they would totter around the yard together, before heading back to a shared stable for a snack together. Moments of bonding like this are absolutely priceless and still bring a tear to our eye.
Very quickly, the pair became inseparable. They’re both still very frail and can’t walk very well, so they have free range of our stables and laneways.
We often joke that they’re like two little old ladies with handbags, pottering around the yard. We’ll usually catch them helping themselves to our hay shed, and once they even escaped together and went wandering an astonishing distance for two disabled old girls!
It's so wonderful seeing this pair out and about, doing whatever they please. They are the best of friends and so content in their retirement. This is where your generous donations go, towards ensuring rescues like Della and Little Lady have the specialist care and love they need long-term.
Little Lady died in January 2019 following a sudden deterioration in her condition. She started to show some odd behaviour during the week and having called our vet Dorothea to check her out, she reckoned that most likely it was a neurological problem. Despite all possible intervention form our vet we were unable to save her and she passed quietly during the night watched over by her constant companion Della.
As a non-profit foundation staffed almost entirely by volunteers, we rely on your donations to continue our work to save donkeys like Lady, and to cover their ongoing feeding and care costs. Find out how you can help here.