We are sad to announce that Socrates (Socs for short), the much-loved donkey who came into our care in 2021, has passed away at the age of 26.
Some of you may remember the story of Socrates. In 2012, the Government’s Veterinary Department asked us if we could take three donkeys that were part of an animal welfare case, one of whom was Socrates. The donkeys had already been removed from the property and were being cared for temporarily by one of the Government vets.
We could not take Socs initially as he was a stallion and we did not have a separate paddock to keep him away from the other donkeys. What’s more, until the court case and verdict had been finalised, there was still a chance that he could have been returned to the owner.
When we arrived at the vet’s home, she told us that she would like to keep the other two donkeys, which was a great help. Stallions can often be very difficult to handle.
However, from the second he was approached to be caught, he behaved perfectly, walking straight onto the trailer and travelling. He was in fairly good condition, although he had a permanently damaged left ear that had been cut at some point in his life and remained bent almost in half. Overall, he was a very handsome donkey.
After completing the standard six-week separation from other donkeys, we moved him to a holding base where he lived happily in a large olive grove.
The holding base owner took care of Socs, and our farm manager would go to see him and sit on a small bank in the field. Socs always came over to him and would stand quietly for ages, having a scratch along his back and a gentle rub of his head. He loved it!
The court case took about 18 months to go through, and luckily Socs was signed over to us. He was castrated as soon as the paperwork was signed, and had his blood tests, vaccinations and dental checks, never putting a foot wrong.
After Vouni (our old site) had to close due to the fire and the third holding base was finished , the remaining Vouni donkeys moved, as did Socs. He settled in straight away with the rest of the group he was put with.
Our resident Miss Popular, Chloe, immediately took a shine to the new handsome chap and the feeling was mutual. Socs patiently followed his friend everywhere, and they would be found eating side by side at the feed trough, standing together under a tree for shade in the summer, and loathed being apart, even for only a few metres!
This continued for a few years until the arrival of a fully recovered Pip Squeak and Kikas. They had spent time together in a different paddock, and now that they were almost adults, the time had come to move them into the same group as Socs and Chloe.
But Chloe immediately began making it very clear to Socs that the new, good looking younger chaps were much more interesting! Poor Socs continued to follow Chloe everywhere, looking very forlorn and upset.
To make matters worse, we had moved another young, gorgeous looking donkey called Yiannis into the group, who also joined the Chloe ‘fan club’. Socrates wasn’t very happy about it!
Almost three years later, Chloe still played with the three youngsters and Socs would sometimes follow her. However, he had recovered from his broken heart and was quite happy to be taken out on his own to have his photograph taken and have an extra fuss made of him. After a very tough start in life, he really was the perfect gentleman.
Unfortunately, Socrates had not been doing so well lately suffering from chronic health issues. We have been monitoring him for a very long period of time, and recently his health deteriorated.
We have provided him with the best possible veterinary care and treatment, but as he did not have a good quality of life we had to take the difficult decision to put him to sleep. It certainly wasn’t fair to let him suffer in pain.
We will always keep Socs in our hearts, and we will surely miss his kind nature and sweet soul.
Farewell dear friend; may your soul rest in peace.