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

Kofi and his young owners at the SPANA centre, Ethiopia

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.

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22 comments on “Kofi’s committed owners

  1. Carole Tennant on

    Whilst this is a heartening story, my concern is that the mother died of malnutrition and possibly neglect. So the good news of Kofi is tempered with the concerns about the treatment given to his mother.

  2. Sharon Mutti on

    So pleased all is well with him . I am even happier that the boys have compassion for there animals, more than most . ! Keep up the good work everyone 😇

  3. Gilly Lindsay on

    So pleased to hear about the work of this wonderful organisation, and such a great outcome for dear little Kofi. Education is so important and delighted that my donations go a small way in improving the lives of both animals and their owners and carers.

  4. Marlene Davis on

    I am so pleased to see these children are the future for learning to care and understand their animals. It gives me hope that the world might one day be a far greater compassionate place.thanks to these boys, children like them and, of course, SPANA. Keep up the good work.

    Marlene Davis

  5. Pamela Chapman on

    How fantastic that these 2 children cared so much for their donkey Kofi and made sure he got well again and what a wonderful Father to make sure his boys did the right thing. Many people could learn from this and treat their animals with kindness and love not cruelty.

  6. Ms B EVES on

    This is wonderful to see these two little boys learning and looking after their little donkey and other animals around them, it makes me so proud to be a member of this wonderful organisation, keep up the good work and I will keep sending my donations, truly superb.🥕🍏🐎♥️

  7. Vicki & Philip on

    So wonderful to see these brothers be so kind and want to learn and take care of Kofi and other animals as they grow up. The animal welfare club is just perfect for them and all children to learn and naturally love all animals.

  8. Anne Brindle on

    It’s wonderful to hear that people are learning to take proper care of their animals and that the animals are enjoying a much better quality of life and are happy. Keep up the great work.

  9. Lynda on

    This is such a lovely touching story and it’s just heart warming to know that the children’s love of Kofi brought him into the SPANA Centre for treatment – it’s so important to educate children and adults around the world to care for and treat their animals with compassion, which will also benefit themselves enormously!

  10. Lavinia on

    What a lovely article! Makes me glad that I donate to this fabulous charity on a regular basis…it’s really nice to be updated with regards to the work Spana are carrying out and to hear success stories like this one..

  11. pamela hudders on

    thankyou for keeping me posted about you excellent & rewarding work , well done ! I live in spain now ,unfortunately our animals could also do with some of your kindness ,do have some great charities though,thankyou once again & keep up the brilliant work you do . pam hudders

  12. Shirley Stoten on

    I believe in your work to such a degree that I have left a legacy in my will ,family,friends donate on birthdays Christmas as they realise I don’t need gifts.

  13. Jane Bateman on

    I have supported SPANA for many years as I believe they do much good work to reduce animal suffering amongst working animals in places where veterinary care is limited, such as Africa.

  14. Wendy Morris on

    Just keep on doing what you seem to do best, this wonderful work to help these hard working animals, and others that just need some TLC.

  15. Julia De F on

    This is heartwarming news and it’s so important to teach the next generation about compassion and
    caring for their working animals.
    Keep up the good work – marvellous !

  16. Kathy Perry on

    What a wonderful outcome for this poor animal! It is great to hear such a story, let’s hope these boys encourage other to do the same.


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