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George helps Helena cope with her sad loss

Dear little Helena’s mum, Effie, already had an old injury to her hip when she came to us last year. When we discovered she was pregnant we were very concerned about her during the pregnancy and when giving birth. Fortunately with the help of some safe medication and careful monitoring, she got through the pregnancy but the problem with her hip after Helena was born continued.

Not long after Helena was weaned off Effie, we had to make the heart breaking decision to put her to sleep. We were obviously very sad to say goodbye to Effie, who was a wonderful mother, but also concerned about Helena. She grieved for a few days and was a lost little girl, but we gave her lots of extra cuddles, and then we noticed that she had adopted an uncle – our partially sightedGeorge. He has taken her under his wing – well foreleg – and they spend most of the day and night together.

Dear George is so patient with Helena as she is very playful and jumps up and down on him. He’s also taught her a few donkey manners and is always there if she is feeling a little worried about something. We know he helped her get through a very difficult time. George has called in support when needed, from one of our very old donkeys called Marcus, so does occasionally get a rest.

Helena and George

Kastoris gets the best care

Kastoris is a very handsome donkey and has the rare, but gorgeous, smoky grey colour coat we all love. Although only six years old, this young stallion was one of the donkeys we treated on our Outreach Programme for several years. His elderly owner took good care of him and he was a very well behaved donkey – the whole team were very fond of him.

When we visited him this spring, he had lost weight and his owner was very concerned. We gave her some advice but a few weeks later she asked if we could take him. The main problem getting to him though, was the track to his paddock – the steepest, narrowest path you can imagine, and his owner’s family were very concerned about their mum falling on her way to care for Kastoris.

She refused to sell him as she wanted him to get the best care and was so happy when we went to collect him. We were happy too as Kastoris had been brought up the path onto the lane before we got there! Once he’s settled in, we will do a little operation to castrate him (as we have a non-breeding policy) so that he can join the main donkey group and play with new friends.

Kastoris

Animal Inspector training is a great success

The first half of basic donkey health care training for Limassol District’s Animal Inspectors took place in July 2014 at Limassol Veterinary Department.

We had originally been informed that there would be around 25 people attending so we thrilled when over 30 arrived. Not only were the Animal Inspectors there, but also some vets, a donkey owner and vet students – one from Greece, some from Cyprus and another working in Slovenia.

With the aid of a presentation and our pretend donkey called Ranger, we were able to show examples of problems that we come across, explain some of the differences between horses and donkeys, as well as demonstrating and explaining how to identify the main health issues donkeys can suffer from.

We also showed everyone the contents of their information pack and certificate they will receive when they complete the second part in October. Everyone was very keen to come back, especially as we’ll be taking one of our real donkeys along.

A huge thank you goes to Constantinos Economides, the Chief Veterinary Officer of Limassol District Veterinary, for providing first class facilities, and to everyone who gave us such positive and complimentary feedback.

Animal inspector training

Little Helena playing around

Although we put our foal, Helena, in with our oldies group a month ago to learn a bit more about being a donkey, at five months old she still has a lot of energy to burn off. A trip to the shop and €1 later, we put two cheap balls into the paddock to see if she would be interested in playing with them.

Helena

Young supporters help our donkeys

We all know that to improve animal welfare, we need to educate the younger generation. Without having a visitor centre this has become much more difficult for us and so we were delighted to hear from some young supporters who wanted to help us.

Limassol Junior Grammar School are very involved in learning about the environment and animal welfare. The school has its own environmental club which many of the children belong to and the group organised a fundraising bake sale which raised an amazing €125 for our donkeys.

A big thank you to everyone including the bakers and the buyers! We’re so grateful for your hard work and support.

Panikos, aged 14, is another keen young supporter who is very interested in donkeys and wants to learn as much as he can about them. He has saved his money, already adopted two of our donkeys and wants to do more to help.

When he was a very small child he used to ride his grandfather’s working donkey, which is where his love of these special creatures began. As a special treat, we took him to see some of our donkeys and during the visit we talked about what our farrier does.

Panikos told us he would like to see our farrier at work and ask him questions – who knows, he may become a farrier himself?

Grammar Junior School

Kayak champions promote our work

We were recently contacted by a young couple, who were coming to Cyprus on holiday, if we would like them to make a short video about our work. James and Katia are both international freestyle kayak competitors and we were curious to find out what their interest in donkeys was. Apparently, although they have some sponsorship for their sport, they needed to have some income and so James had started by videoing his sport which then developed into producing videos.

Filming donkeys

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