About two weeks ago my highly-tuned senses began to pick up news of an abandoned donkey in our vicinity. The woman's brow grew more furrowed and she had many telephonic consultations with Sheila. I knew something was afoot and kept my highly receptive ears tuned for more information.
In brief, a young male donkey had been caught in the middle of a nasty family fracas and had been unceremoniously turned loose to fend for himself, near a highway, for two weeks. Finally, he was caught and turned over to someone who holds such foundlings for the town for thirty days until they are claimed or sold at auction. Sheila and the woman desperately tried to speak with the powers that be, offering to buy the foundling so he wouldn't have to endure another traumatic experience and would be assured of a happy future. No response was forthcoming and the wall of silence remained unbreached so the poor lad went off to a livestock/meat auction last Saturday.
Sheila was embroiled in a fundraiser at the same time and so Herself volunteered to go to the auction, on Sheila's behalf, in an attempt to purchase said donkey. She was joined by some other donkey rescue troops who formed a determined cadre, bent on emerging with donkey in tow. The weather behaved disgracefully, with the skies opening in a tap-like fashion and refusing to shut off all day. The auction site was a horror of mud and mire and crying animals.
And there they found the soaking wet donkey, along with four horses, in the only outdoor pens at the place. A short time later, a small, bedraggled female donkey was thrust into another pen. She was lice-ridden, pregnant and foundered and her consignors thought so little of her that they took her halter away with them. The group determined that she must somehow be taken to PrimRose as well.
The day wore on and it became evident that the donkeys would be the very last to be auctioned . The rain came down in buckets and the donkeys, without food for the duration and probably since the night before, stood forlornly in their pens. Finally, they were chased into the auction ring and the woman set to with some furious bidding. She said she only began breathing again when the hammer went down and the man wielding it said SOLD! in her direction.
Then began the process of getting the donkeys from the pens to the PrimRose trailer. Geographically, these are as far removed from the busy loading docks as possible. There was a moment of great concern when it was discovered the little jenny had lain down in exhaustion and defeat and didn't have the energy to stand. She was finally coaxed up and followed the young donkey lad to the trailer, reluctant to walk on the concrete because of her deformed and aching feet.
I must mention that a lamb had also been purchased by the woman as company for the ancient rescue sheep, Helen, whose equally ancient sheep friend died recently. It was felt that Helen would come out of her deep depression if another ovine companion was found. And that is how, at a meat auction, three and one half creatures out of thousands, found their way to the safety of PrimRose and not to ...well, somewhere else.