Maxine Carter, Slade House Farm manager
I need to let you all know that we have had to make the most heartbreaking of decisions for mini adoption donkey, Gareth, gently putting him to sleep this afternoon surrounded by his loving grooms and his best friend, Benji.
He has been giving us cause for concern over the last few months, progressively losing his sight and encountering increasing problems with his hoof. Some donkeys cope well with sight loss, others not so well. Sadly, Gareth was in this latter category and this is why it’s been so challenging to treat his hoof effectively.
Over the past few months he had been slightly lame on one of his front legs and X-rays showed up an infection in his pedal (toe) bone. Despite treatment the infection just wouldn’t go away and we were left with just two options. The first would involve major surgery which would require transport to our hospital, a general anaesthetic and daily aftercare for months until the hoof had healed.
All of us here who knew and loved Gareth just knew that he would not react well to all this interference and it would cause him huge distress. We settled on the alternative option which was to manage his pain with painkillers (given to him in his favourite jam sandwich) for as long as possible.
This weekend the infection returned once again and this time with a vengeance.
We could see that the pain was significant. We had truly hoped that we could help him go on for ages but we had to keep his quality of life uppermost in our hearts and minds.
That is what we do here – as our wonderful founder, Dr S, always said, ‘put donkeys first, second and third’. I’m sad to say that we could no longer manage the pain for Gareth, and so it is that we had to make that most difficult of decisions.
I will remember Gareth with great fondness, he was truly a big personality despite being diminutive in size. He will be sorely missed by us all here at The Donkey Sanctuary as I’m sure he will be missed by all his wonderful adopters and visitors too.
If you adopt Gareth, we will be writing to you shortly about how your adoption will continue with a new donkey friend. Thank you so much for your support during Gareth's life - you continue to make a real difference.