Friday 30 September 2016

'He has fight in him' - donkey sanctuary raising funds for foal born with deformity in hind legs

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 12/08/2016 | 12:39

Little Timmy was born with lax tendons. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary
Little Timmy was born with lax tendons. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary
Timmy and his mum Twilight. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary
Timmy was born with lax tendons. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary
Timmy and his mum Twilight. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary

A donkey sanctuary in Donegal is raising funds to help a three-week-old foal born with a deformity in his hind legs.

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The donkey, named Little Timmy, was born on July 20 at the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary in Raphoe, run by Sandra and Danny Curran.

The foal's mother, Twilight, had been rescued from a forest in south Donegal a couple of months ago.

She had been chased and beaten with sticks before being dumped in a highly water-logged area. Danny Curran said it took weeks to coax her out because she was so afraid of people.

“She was in a terrible state. She had a lot of lice, it was really, really bad. Within a day or two we realised that she was (pregnant),” Mr Curran told Independent.ie.

“Very quickly once she had gotten plenty to eat and was in a stable, she really came around and was in great health altogether, so we were just waiting for her to foal.”

The attack caused severe damage to her unborn baby, who suffers with lax tendons as a result of the abuse.

On discovering the foal’s disability, they sought advice from a vet, who suggested that Timmy would need surgery on his legs and possibly orthopaedic plaster casts.

Timmy and his mum Twilight. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary
Timmy and his mum Twilight. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary

The sanctuary will also need to install surgical rubber matting in the stable to prevent him from tearing or damaging his limbs any further.

They are now seeking the public’s assistance to get Timmy the help he needs.

“We started a GoFundMe because we didn’t really know what the future held for him. The biggest issue is the aftercare, and how much that will cost,” said Mr Curran.

“The operation might be €1,000-€1,500, but that’s nothing – if we have to put him in the plaster of Paris, or a more lightweight version, we’ve heard estimates of €6,000. If he’s walking about in a field when it’s wet, it might have to be replaced every day for a long time.”

The vet said it’s possible that with enough exercise and physiotherapy, the donkey’s ligaments may become stronger.

Mr Curran has been following a care plan for Timmy’s feeding and exercise, and said his mobility continues to improve.

Timmy was born with lax tendons. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary
Timmy was born with lax tendons. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary

He described Timmy as “hopping like a kangaroo” when he walks, which the vet has said will help by putting pressure on his tendons.

“He’s doing okay, he’s actually doing better than what the vets had anticipated at this stage. On his right side, his tendon has come up about two and a half inches, but the other one hasn’t really come up at all,” he said.

However, he described Timmy as remaining cheerful throughout.

“He never lies down, he’s amazing. He’s like a foal that there’s nothing wrong with. He wants to run and he’s cheeky, he pushes the mare,” Mr Curran said.

“We’ve seen it here so many times that you know if a foal has fight in him or not, and he has fight in him. He’ll never put down his head and look sorry for himself or like he’s giving up.”

Timmy and his mum Twilight. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary
Timmy and his mum Twilight. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary

The campaign has since raised close to €5,500 of its €7,500 goal. To donate, visit the GoFundMe page here.

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