For 12 years, Ben changed owners. They were all the same, as none of them cared for him. For 12 long years, Ben had no one to stroke his ears, and no one to pet his nose.
He still shakes his head in fear when you lift your hand. He is trying to instinctively protect himself from being beaten. He was beaten by all his ex-owners, very badly.
When Ben was brought in to our shelter, he was full of wounds on both sides of his body, and also on the head. These wounds are the first to heal. But the terrible psychological drama he had gone through, that will last for many years.
In his first years of life, Ben was severely exploited. He carried things all day long, sometimes working hard despite being sick and weak; hungry, thirsty…and all the time, unnecessarily abused. One day, his owner changed again, and he became a donkey-guardian for sheep. The abuse continued. At some point, the shepherds decided to get rid of him. He was abandoned at the edge of the road,outside the village.
The veterinary notified the police and took the donkey in. And this is the first image I have of the first donkey we rescued. We called him Ben. He was full of wounds and parasites, severely dehydrated and very skinny. The first time I gave him a hug, I felt his ribs almost bursting out of his skin, already full of wounds. It was devastating!
I was so upset at seeing how Ben reacted. How scared he still is when I lift my hand to pet his nose. But as the days pass, things are getting better for both of us. I don’t get scared of his reactions anymore, and he gets less scared of my hand.
Perhaps I was upset the most to hear from my colleagues that donkeys like Ben have never tasted a carrot before. Imagine that. How expensive can one carrot be? Today, Ben eats carrots with passion. He also like apples. And one day, I gave him pears – and he enjoyed them too.
I always try to make people feel my emotions through my writing. My goal is not only to raise awareness about ROLDA, not only to make people donate, but especially to make them feel. Sometimes it’s anger – and this is what I felt hearing that Ben hadn’t tasted a carrot in 12 years. Sometimes it’s joy – and this is what I feel when Ben lets me touch his gentle nose. Or when he ignores a carrot offered by someone else and comes straight to me, gazing into my eyes with his funny look.
I never had a donkey to look after before. I had never pet a donkey before(except at zoo, when I was little and my mom took me to see donkeys and ponies at a zoo in Bucharest) But you don’t need a life of experience with these animals to feel for them. To show care, and to love them.
Ben and I discovered a way of communicating. He would make a funny noise greeting me at a distance. As I got closer, I liked to tell him kind words,talking to him softly so I would not scare him off. This donkey had already suffered too much already, and unnecessarily.
I hope you agree with me. We believe that we should help this donkey to properly retire. I talked with my colleagues and we all decided that Ben worked for the wrong kind of people for way too long. It was our responsibility to work for Ben from now on, so he can relax and enjoy the rest of his life. Ben seemed happy with our decision!
It doesn’t take much for a donkey to be happy, I have done my homework…
First of all, Ben needs a few volunteers to speak up for him, and share his story far and wide.
Ben also needs volunteers to contact local/international charities that help donkeys, and ask them for donated supplies. This will help the ROLDA team handle donkeys professionally, and provide the best care possible.
And of course, Ben needs a place for winter that he will absolutely share with a jennet!
There are so many other abused donkeys that need our help in the villages surrounding our town. Hundred of donkeys who are beaten, abused, and who suffer medical emergencies that go untreated. Donkeys who have never eaten a carrot before. Of course, we can only take in old donkeys or emergencies (those badly abused or with severe injuries, or donkeys from families who can’t afford to look after them anymore)
Let’s recap what Ben needs:
- Grass – We have plenty around the large shelter
- Hay – for winter time
- Carrots and apples, sometimes bananas
- A rug for the coldest days
- A rug for rainy days
- Grooming supplies
- Veterinary treatments (de-worming, annual vaccines)
Plus: A shelter for winter that Ben has promised to share with all the other donkeys in need. An enclosed outdoor space where Ben and all the donkeys can exercise, and have plenty of grass.
The outdoor space should have a covered area for shade during hot summer days, a feeding spot, and access to water (buckets etc.)
I don’t know if Ben’s dreams can come true before Christmas. But wouldn’t it be fantastic to see Ben moving into his own home? A shelter for donkeys will cost us 40,000 EUR, but of course, it will not be just for Ben. There are so many other donkeys waiting for our help!
In my eyes, Ben is just the start. He is a gift that was sent to me soon after I lost my own dog Boss. An opportunity to open my eyes to the reality of life for Romanian donkeys. Like dogs, they are voiceless, powerless, and suffer in silence.
We welcome volunteers to help us fund raise, and we welcome sponsors to give a name (to honor a loved one or a lost pet) to a particular donkey box. You could even sponsor the entire donkey facility! It will forever bear the name you give it.
I look at Ben, and I know I can continue to tell his story over and over.
Because animals like Ben are my inspiration. If you ever need a moment of inspiration, an opportunity to write straight from your heart, on behalf of abused animals like Ben….maybe you should visit us?
Can’t come? Don’t worry… you can still help Ben and his friends sitting at the keyboard of your computer. You can help by sending Ben’s story to your friends, or by contacting a supplier to see if they would donate donkey products for Ben. Read more here about what you can do with less than 3 minutes of your time.
Today, I watched Ben eating his carrots, and noticed a light in his eyes, one of happiness. Maybe it is my imagination? But I think I also noticed his fur and skin, once so full of wounds – is growing shiny and thick. He has a chocolate color that would melt your heart. Now, he is surely one of the most beautiful donkeys in the World!
What you can do next?
NO PayPal account needed
Won’t you join us? Become a part of our beautiful dream to give Ben and the other abused donkeys a safe home…