We found the male donkey on Craig list when a friend alerted us to a ‘free’ donkey. When we called he was being given to a neighbor who was going to shoot him and make steaks out of him. We told the people we were on our way and left for Idaho minutes later, towing our trailer, truck filled with our dogs, sandwiches and us. We arrived at dawn and found this donkey living in absolute squalor. He was knee deep in manure in a 10 x 10 pen with no shelter or even a place to put his hay. He was obviously abused. We put a halter on this terrified donkey and as we were leading him to the trailer an anguished endless bray came from a side of the yard. There was a female there, same conditions but separated from view. She ws marked exactly like the male and we knew they were siblings or mother and son. The people would not let us have her, not even when we offered them money for her. We loaded our new donkey into the trailer and could hear the female crying for a long way as we drove away. It was heartbreaking.
We named him Brayson and he was quite different than any other donkey we have rescued. He had striped legs, a very different bray. Our vet warned us he was very aggressive and should be kept separate from all other donkeys even after he was gelded. He did not think he would ever be friendly or trustworthy. We had him gelded, an awful ordeal. Because he has something mixed with donkey in him he was not able to be put under. It took 5 times the amount of anesthesia it should have to put him under and enormous strength to hold him to get it into him. The vet warned us he might never wake up but we had no choice as he could not be with our females intact. It took many hours but he finally awoke and accepted out hugs while still drowsy. Next, he became infected. Two weeks of spraying him down underneath, medications, lotions, and love got him over the infection and helped bond us but what a scare and 24 hr care! Two weeks later Brayson broke his jaw (still don’t know how) and our vet came out and said he did not know if he could save him. With financial help from a private donor and our vet with the magic hands he put Brayson back together and he is now fine.
Meanwhile, we worried about the female and how to get her and reunite her with Brayson. We asked for help on face book and an angel came forward (thank you, Donna!) and donated $500 towards her ransom. July 4th we drove back to ID and were able to bring her home. The braying of the the 2 donkeys as we pulled into the driveway was incredible. How they knew, I don’t know, but they did! It was a joyous reunion and for another year they were inseparable. We named her Shirlie Jean after the donor’s favorite Aunt.
The 2 donkeys ate together, played together, slept together and stretched out in the sun together. When the farrier was here they stood together. They were inseparable at all times and were very happy to be reunited.
In June of 2012 Shirlie Jean colic’d. We had our vet out and he said it was not colic and he did not think she would make it thru the night. We did not believe that and the next day we transported her to an equine hospital in Spokane. They treated her for colic and she spent 3 days there. We spent long hours with her there. David would patiently sit by her, holding her little blue bucket, asking her to please drink and she would. Even though she didn’t want to. They sent her home saying she should be fine but the next day she was worse. We took her back down and they drew blood. The next day they called with devastating news. She had liver failure and the numbers were very bad. She would continue to go downhill and die a painful death. That morning she was playful and ran down the hill to David. She was in good spirits but we knew it was time to help her cross over. She had not eaten in days and liver failure brings on neurological problems which we had seen in the past few days. Our vet came out on Saturday and we let her go peacefully, with dignity and surrounded by love. She is buried up on the hill where she can watch over all of us and see her beloved Brayson. Brayson is heartbroken and feels so alone once again and he waits by the gate for us to bring her back.
Tragically, Brayson and Sissy had been adopted and were going to their new home in MT in just 2 weeks. We miss her so much. She was such a gentle, sweet donkey. Shy and always last for treats, she was the perfect donkey. We miss her so much but are glad she was able to spend her last year here with Brayson and be surrounded by love and kindness.