Donkey foal Kofi was in terrible pain when he came to the SPANA centre. His two young owners were anxious to help him. Read about how two brothers are developing an appreciation for animal welfare that will last a lifetime.
Six-month-old donkey foal Kofi is well loved by his two young owners Thomas, 10 and Aser, eight. Both boys took on responsibility for the young animal when the donkey’s mother died of malnutrition from a parasitic infection. The little boys love Kofi and bottle feed the orphan foal daily under the watchful eye of their father, Semih who already attends SPANA Ethiopia’s community training sessions. Over the years, Semih has cared for many donkeys which he uses to help him transport goods around the town of Bishoftu, Ethiopia.
He depends on these animals for his livelihood and to support his sons and wife so knows the importance of keeping his animals healthy. Semih is proud to see his sons following in his footsteps, practicing compassion for animals. He has shown his children how to look after Kofi who needs extra care as he doesn’t have a mother to depend on.
Early that morning, Thomas and Aser came to their father very worried and upset. They told their father that Kofi’s “tail was bloody” and that the foal was straining and looked uncomfortable. Upon closer inspection, Semlih could see that it was worse than just a cut to the tail – poor Kofi had a prolapsed rectum and was in great pain.
There are several causes of this uncomfortable condition including worms, severe diarrhoea or colic – all of which would result in Kofi straining muscles. With enough strain, the colon can actually be forced out of the body – a terrible medical problem that can only be fixed with medical intervention.
The two boys begged their father to help them bring Kofi to the SPANA Bishoftu clinic as soon as it opened. Kofi was the first patient of the day and was seen immediately – gently examined by the vets who first treated the aggressive parasites that had led to the injury before suturing the prolapse. Kofi was admitted for a few days and prescribed anti-inflammatories and painkillers while he healed in comfortable conditions.
Learning about animal welfare
While Kofi was recovering, SPANA vets talked to the boys and their father about how to avoid future parasites and provide Kofi with the best diet. Our vets were struck with just how attached the children were to Kofi and how enthusiastic they were to learn more about good animal handling. While many of their friends were members of SPANA’s animal welfare club already, Thomas and Aser were not yet signed up. Desperate to learn more, the children excitedly asked their father if they could join and learn how to be even better owners to Kofi. Semlih was delighted and promised to bring them to the next class.
Animal welfare clubs are a brilliant way to inspire the next generation of working animal owners. Children are taught about the Five Freedoms, animal sentience and how to best care for their donkeys, horses, camels and even domestic pets. As a result, SPANA is helping to prevent many injuries and illnesses before they start and encourage kindness and compassion to all animals.