Animal Action Greece organises dignified retirement for two old donkeys


Waiting in a field in Ermioni…
The way the younger of the two ‘girls’ is standing shows how sore her feet are. She’s trying to relieve the pain by taking the weight off the front of the foot. It’s the typical posture of an equid that is suffering from laminitis.

During our outreach visits, our Equine Project team not only offers treatment to the horses, donkeys and mules (equidae) it meets, but also creates relationships with owners. So we were terribly sad to hear from the local welfare group, Hydra Ark, that Tasia Voulgari, much loved by our team and the whole island community (and famous for herdonkeys, hens and cats) had passed away suddenly at the beginning of February, 2020. Tasia’s two elderly donkeys have been among our regular “customers” during our annual outreach visits to Hydra and Tasia was kindness itself to our team, (always insisting on offering its members a refreshing drink, even though her resources were limited.)  But, on her death, there was great concern about the future of her donkeys.

The transporter lorry has arrived and someone has thoughtfully put down some nice, soft sawdust. Even so, we can’t say either of the two travellers seemed eager to board…

Both of Tasia’s ‘girls’ are elderly; the older one is over 30 and the younger over 20 years old!  The younger “Babe”, as Tasia used to call her, unfortunately suffers from serious chronic laminitis has frequent, acute crises as a result.  These cause her to be in severe pain both when walking and when simply standing still, affecting her quality of life.

Since the two animals have lived together for years, and separating donkey companions causes them real mental anguish, our challenge was to find a place that could not only take both of them but also offer professional veterinary and farriery treatments to the laminitic one.  Not an easy ask!

All’s well. The two friends are patiently waiting for the next part of their journey… we collected them from Ermioni (on the mainland, just across the sea from Hydra) where they had been taken by ferry and here they are about to begin their onward trip to Espi Hsew at Markopoulo.

Although local equine owners (Tasia’s friends and family) had helped the animals and transported them to a field in Ermioni, on the mainland, where they could be retired, we felt we ought to be involved because of the medical needs of the younger animal.  So vet, Elisa Geskou, our Equine Project Coordinator, stepped in.  With everyone working together the many difficulties were navigated and an even better solution was gradually arrived at and agreed by all.  It was once again provided by the Hellenic Society for Equine Welfare (ESPI) in Markopoulo, which agreed to take both donkeys.  Animal Action Greece is contributing to the cost of a professional assessment of their health so that they can receive the treatment they urgently need. Diagnostic X-rays and have already been taken and the farrier has started the gradual correction of the hooves that will need to be continued over the next few months.

ARRIVED! “These accommodations appear acceptable. Now, what about a snack before we settle down for the night”?

All this was enabled through the amazing team effort made by the Friends and Volunteers of Hydra Ark, who, in honour of the memory of their old friend, Tasia, offered donations and managed – in the space of just a few days – to raise the amount needed for the specialist transportation of Tasia’s beloved donkeys.  They will also cover some of the expenses of the animals’ initial care.

For our part, we are grateful to everyone who contributed to resolving a complex set of problems.  This kind of willing cooperation gives us hope for the future and proves that, if only we seek it out, there is always love and care for animals as well as people, just waiting to be discovered.

If you agree with us that they deserve a comfortable retirement after a hard, working life, please, could you make a donation today? In return, we promise to reach and help as many as we can. YOU make it possible.

Thank you for caring!

Tasia and her two ‘girls’ in happier times. (This photo was taken over 2 years ago).
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