Trying to improve donkey welfare standards can sometimes seem like a losing battle; it’s easy to forget that there are good people out there who really do take care of their donkeys. Through our Community Programme, we meet some wonderful owners who ask us questions and listen to our advice so that they can give their donkeys a better life. Two such people are Andreas and Panagiota.
Vasilis is a young man who enjoys working in the countryside and a few years ago got a donkey. On our first visit, the young mare was difficult to handle and we spent time showing Vasilis what he could do to get her used to being caught, touched and have her hooves picked up. We also explained the best foods to feed, the importance of providing shelter whenever possible and to give the donkey plenty of water. He’s naturally a quiet, calm person, which helped his donkey learn to trust him.
The mare is now a confident donkey who is a pleasure to handle and this year became an excellent mother. This photo shows Vasilis with the foal who is such a friendly little chap who loved being cuddled when we visited earlier this year. He’s already good to lead and pick his hooves up! Vasilis has really listened to our advice and done a fabulous job with both donkeys.
Another super owner is Panagiota who uses her donkey for work on her land each day. She relinquished her previous donkey to us as he had a problem with one of his hooves and was unable to work. Fortunately, we knew of someone selling a donkey that we thought would be ideal for Panagiota and Shibilli (not ours!) has been working for her for several years.
We knew Shibilli well from our Community Programme visits and thought he would be ideal for Panagiota. After giving her a full description, and assuring the person who was selling him that he would be going to an excellent home, we put the two ladies in touch. They agreed on a price and Shibilli moved to his new home.
He’s a lovely natured donkey, with a huge character, whose only ‘fault’ is that he can wriggle out of any head collar! We’d warned Panagiota about this and the previous owner had confirmed it but this didn’t put Panagiota off at all. Shibilli was exactly the right size and temperament, in very good condition and already trained to work. The perfect match!
For safety, she puts him in a stable at night so he doesn’t escape and go off wandering, although on the few occasions he has managed to break free, he never goes very far!. Panagiota has a great bond with Shibilli and when we arrive, he’s always immaculately groomed, in an easy area for us to work and is so well behaved. If she has any concerns, she always asks our advice and does what we suggest or recommend. What a lucky donkey?!