Dolno Ossenovo village is situated about 70 km away from the Donkey Valley. It is one of the few villages in the entire region where donkeys are still a common sight – some households have even two. The rugged terrain means they are invaluable helpers for locals in this rural area.
TWO FOR THE ‘PRICE’ OF ONE
It is not the first nor the last time when we travel to pick up one donkey but come back with two.
We get a call with a request to pick up a twelve-year-old donkey that has been limping with his hind leg and can no longer do any work. The owners want someone to look after their helper that is no more able to work.
We check the donkey thoroughly, from tooth to foot. It turns out our new friend has no name, so in a quick brainstorming session we settle on the name Elvis.
But while we are in the middle of Elvis’s checkup, a local woman finds us and asks us to go over and examine her donkey, Hassan, who seems to have issues with his hind legs too. We go over to her home where a handsome little donkey awaits us.
It is not hard to diagnose Hassan’s problems - his hooves haven’t been trimmed in some time. Thankfully, that’s well within our expertise, so our team member, Ismail, sets to work immediately.
While Ismail is working, the woman shares she is struggling to look after Hassan, especially now that he is getting old and can’t work as well as he used to. How can we possibly say no? Our Valley is already full, but we could never turn our backs to a donkey in need. It is decided on the spot that Hassan is coming with us to his new home.
But first, we return to pick up Elvis. He seems like a brave donkey, walking over the bridge without a hitch.
The trailer, however, stops him in his tracks. Donkeys are wrongly perceived as stubborn, when in fact they stop and do not want to budge mostly when they find themselves in a new environment or face a new experience. They need their time to take in the details in their new surroundings and overcome their insecurity. So, after a while, and with some encouragement, Elvis makes it into the trailer.
It is a lovely, warm spring day when we welcome Elvis to his new home in the Donkey Valley.
We welcome the unexpected new addition too – Hassan. We give him the name Hassan Martinov, from the word Mart, which means March in Bulgarian. We have one Hassan already, so we name our new friend after the month when he arrived at his new home in the Valley.
It is a good day when we know another donkey has joined us in his or her new forever home, to enjoy life, to be safe and well looked after. But it is even better when two newcomers are saved from unknown, often unhappy, fate. Resources may vary, but we always strive to find a way to provide for every donkey we take in.