AMIGO & JOSH
One day, Josh saw a post on social media about a donkey an hour away who was in trouble. He was a very senior, very skinny donkey whose owner had just passed away. There was nowhere for him to go. The next day, we drove out to the coast and found Amigo. Loading him onto the trailer was one of the most difficult loading experiences we’ve ever had. He hadn’t been on a trailer in over 15 years, and made us work for it. We were extremely concerned about wearing him out due to his lack of nutrition, but we finally got him loaded and to Oscar’s Place.
We called our veterinarian en route for an emergency visit. Dr. Kerry met us at our ranch and said that out of a body score of 1–9, this donkey was a 2. It’s not only that you can feel his ribs and hip bones when you touch him, but you can see them protruding from a distance. He had a very poor demeanor, with his head hanging low, terrible hooves, and in dire need.
After his vet visit, we immediately started Amigo on our deworming protocol, and we worked to quickly (and carefully) get weight on him while taking into account his weakness and age. We shredded his hay and mixed together beet pulp and alfalfa cubes soaked in a soup-like mixture to encourage him to eat. His appetite is improving, and we treated him for a stomach ulcer. Today, Amigo is off of the sugary beet pulp and eats the proper amount of food. He is starting to gain some much-needed weight.
We started taking Amigo to Gabriel’s yard to graze and spend his days, and would try to bring him back to his quarantine pen to spend the night. But as old and as weak as he is, Amigo made it clear that he did NOT want to go back to his quarantine pen. Gabriel came to me and said, “He doesn’t want to go back to his pen. He wants to stay here.” I said, “Fine, but that means he lives in YOUR yard. Are you ready for that?” Gabriel said, “Absolutely.”
So now, Amigo lives full time in Gabriel’s yard (a short walk away from the rest of our pens and pastures). He has giant trees that he hangs out under. He takes naps, walks around, and gets all the love in the world from the volunteers. Amigo ate Gabriel’s bed of azaleas, and instead of being angry, Gabriel rewarded him with a slice of watermelon.
I’d say we’re seeing a 1–2% improvement in Amigo every day. Progress is very slow, but it’s an improvement, nevertheless. His health is not getting any worse. Amigo is doing the best that he can. While his future is still uncertain, and he is likely in his final chapter, he is living a nice, relaxed life with zero stress, great medical care, lots of nutrition, and a ton of love. Amongst our staff of 9 and volunteers of over 100, Amigo is definitely a favorite. He is stealing hearts and giving a ton of love back in return. Be a friend for Amigo on his long road to recovery!
About the Photographer:
Johanna Siegmann is an internally award-winning portrait and architecture photographer, specializing in photographing people with their pets. A collection of her unique images, which capture the relationship between humans and animal, has been published as In Good Company (Notable People with their Pets), available online globally and via special order from your local bookstore. Johanna believes in giving back to the community, and a portion of the proceeds from the book are going to charity. She has donated her time and talent to Oscar’s Place for this calendar project.
About Oscar's Place:
Donkeys are some of the most loving and trusting creatures on Earth, and when they suffer because humans are unkind, Oscar’s Place steps in. While we’re just a team of everyday individuals, we deeply care for and are committed to providing a safe haven for donkeys in need. We focus on donkeys because the world's donkey population is being decimated. Not by disease, global warming, or predators. But because there is a high demand for their hides in the creation of a traditional Chinese medicine.
They deserve better than to be abused, crowded into horrifying transport containers, and shipped off to slaughter factories. Our mission is straight-forward: To every donkey that makes its way to Oscar’s Place, we will do everything in our power to keep that animal safe, healthy & happy for the rest of its life.
We love animals, and quite frankly, we need to team up with other people who also care about what happens to these beautiful creatures. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to make a big difference.When you make a donation, you help a donkey recover emotionally and physically from its past.
You are restoring their belief in humans as caregivers. Your impact even makes it possible to re-home donkeys to carefully-screened adopters, which enables us to bring more of these precious animals into our care system. Again, we’re not special, but our team consists of caring employees, volunteers, veterinarians, and farriers – all with a singular objective: to help donkeys recover physically, mentally, and emotionally. Every person on-site is committed to hands-on interaction with our donkeys, every day.Loving them. Calming them. Healing them. We want to show them that humans can be good. Can you save a donkey’s life today or can you share this message?
Thank you so much for caring.