A final farewell to four of our oldest donkeysOver the past few months, we have said a fond farewell to four of our oldest donkeys. These are their stories.
Over the past few months, we have said a fond farewell to four of our oldest donkeys: Jenna, Doina, Nicole and Carolina. They were all aged between 25 and 30 years old and had come to our shelter at different times, each one rescued from serious situations of maltreatment. At Footprints of Joy, they were able to rediscover their freedom and spent their final years surrounded by the affection of their companions and our staff. These are their stories.
Jenny was the veteran member of the group. She arrived at Footprints of Joy back in 2009 and was one of the very first donkeys we rescued. Jenna watched the shelter grow and expand, saw us welcome new residents, witnessed firsthand all the changes we made to the equine sanctuary, and greeted us every single morning during the past 14 years. She reached the considerable age of 24, which did not, however, stop her from insistently demanding apples, carrots and plenty of warm caresses. She left us on a warm autumn day, in the same meadow where she had found her freedom again.
Doina told us herself when it was time to let her go: she was over 30 years old and her health had recently deteriorated. She came to us in 2020 and immediately formed a special friendship with Cleo, our cat who lives in the equine sanctuary. During Doina’s last moments, Cleo never left her side, comforting her and letting her feel her undying support. It was a very touching moment for all of us, who will always remember her as one of the strongest and most resilient donkeys we have ever known.
Losing Nicole was a great sorrow for everyone, for both the staff and the other animals. She contracted a nasty illness one morning in late October from which she never fully recovered, and after giving her all the veterinary care possible, it was decided we should put her out of her misery and give her a dignified end. Nicole was 26 years old. She really enjoyed the company of people and receiving our attention, which she reciprocated with great love. We will miss her immensely, but our grief is nothing compared to what Miruna, another of the sanctuary donkeys who had become inseparable from Doina, is feeling.
Last but far from least is Carolina, a donkey with a very special story that we will never forget. In January 2021 we were called for a rescue mission more than 200 miles away from our sanctuary. When we arrived to pick her up, a little goat named Mihaela jumped into the van with her, and we realized that the two of them must have spent every moment of their days together. So we decided to bring them both to Footprints of Joy. Unfortunately, during Carolina’s quarantine period, someone broke into the building where she was resting and took Mihaela away. This was a huge blow for Carolina, who refused to eat for the entire day. When she was well enough to come out of quarantine, we took her into the enclosure with the other donkeys and she found comfort in Tica, who helped her integrate into the group. We will always remember Carolina, the special way she had of calling us when she wanted our attention, and how she grazed serenely on the fresh spring grass with her Mihaela at her side.