Defying the odds: Rose is thriving despite being abandoned at birth

By Dionne Meehan

MEET Rose, Donegal Donkey Sanctuary’s newest arrival.

When Rose’s mother Daisy was found wandering near a forest heavily pregnant, Sanctuary Manager Danny ‘Donkey’ Curran knew help was needed.


“She wasn’t a large mare; she was as wide as she was high,” Danny said.

“We knew it wouldn’t be long until she would foal and she was not in great condition.

“Luckily, she came to us easy enough, we got her captured, got her into a horse box and we took her back to the sanctuary,” he said.

And soon, in the comfort of the sanctuary, Rose was born.

“Like all donkeys the birth was very quick,” Danny said.

“It is a very rare thing to see a donkey being born.

“A donkey will just go into a corner, lie down, give birth and get up straight away.


“Ironically, my wife was working in the visitors centre when she heard a bit of commotion with the donkeys outside.

“Usually, when they start making noise it is time to go and look,” he said.

But unfortunately, within 30 seconds after Rose’s birth, Daisy had already walked away.

Traumatised from life before the sanctuary, Daisy will not accept her little daughter Rose.

“There is a lot of intense work with little foals like Rose,” Danny continued.

“She has to be fed every three hours and that is around the clock.

“In about one month’s time, that will step back to every four hours and that will go on for up to 12 to 16 weeks depending on how she comes along.

“Little foals are susceptible to other diseases because they are not with their mum and behavioural issues as well can be huge.

“We are her family now and over the next 10 weeks we have to reintroduce her back out to donkeys.

“It is going to be very hard to get donkeys to be gentle enough with her so they don’t harm her.

“She is a playful foal as well so she will cause a lot of upset by playing and running after our other donkeys, you would just be scared they would hurt her,” he said.

With the first 48 hours being a very vulnerable time for a new born foal, Rose, despite her size, seems to be defying all odds.

“At 48 hours Rose was getting tired, she wanted to lay down a lot, but the next day she perked up,” Danny said.

“We were worried that night, we had people here with her around the clock playing with her.

“We put the lights off and someone would sit in the corner in silence and darkness but keeping an eye on her.

“She has pulled through, she is doing well but she still has other milestones to reach yet, it is not all out of the woods,” he said.

With 100 donkeys in the care of Donegal Donkey Sanctuary and the price of input costs increasing, now more than ever they need your help.

“We are completely donation based,” Danny said.

“Rose being here is going to impact on the day to day running of the sanctuary.

“It won’t be long until September comes, we have to buy hay, we have to buy straw and we have to buy meal.

“We are already short of stables and Rose is going to be taking up space on top of everything else.

“It is just part of what we do, these things come along and you have to deal with them,” he said.

The day before Rose was born, Danny had 98 donkeys.

“Rose became number 99 and yesterday evening I took a donkey in as well,” Danny continued.

“That is me at the 100.

“I don’t have full stabling for 100 donkeys, so between now and September I have to find homes,” he said.

And thats not including Danny’s extensive waiting list.

“I usually have around 30 donkeys waiting to come in.

“None of them are emergency cases, it can be people emigrating, marriage break-ups, house repossessions, even the mica crisis is affecting us a lot here at the sanctuary.

“About six weeks ago I went out and took two donkeys away from a home, down in the south of the county where they say there is no mica, the people’s house was crumbling and the stable was ready to fall down.

“They said they couldn’t afford to look after donkeys when they had a house to repair.

“There are so many things affecting everything to do with what we do as well,” he concluded.

If you wish to make a donation to Donegal Donkey Sanctuary you can do so via

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