A tricky rescue in Jordan

SPANA's chief executive Jeremy Hulme recounts how our vets managed to save a donkey that had spent more than a day in a freezing cold stream, with a little help from a couple of nearby working animals

Jeremy Hulme blog photo

Thinking back to army assault courses, I can’t remember anything much more miserable and demoralising than lying in a ditch full of cold smelly water.

Half an hour is about as much as I could stand, so to hear of a donkey that spent over 24 hours immersed in a freezing cold stream after it fell down a steep wadi (or river bank), is almost beyond belief.

When someone finally noticed the poor thing (it had been hidden from view by thick vegetation) the SPANA mobile clinic team that went to investigate expected to simply pull out a dead body.

Donkey in stream

But amazingly, there was still a spark of life in it. Goodness, donkeys are tough!

They managed to get it out of the stream onto the bank – and with a vigorous massage and rubbing down, injected a bit more life into the poor thing.  But how on earth were they going to get it up out of the stream gulley?

Donkey on river bed

Now, November is the season for ploughing in Jordan. One of our team saw a pair of donkeys ploughing a nearby field and went to ask for the owner for their help.

Soon, ropes were dropped down to their stricken comrade, harnessed up to the pair above, and slowly but surely, the cold, wet animal was drawn up the side of the gorge.

Donkeys who helped pull stricken donkey to safety

I’m not sure she immediately showed her gratitude to her equine saviours - she was still in a pretty bad way.

She was taken back to our clinic in the animal ambulance, put into a support (it’s a disaster for animals like this to be left lying on their side, but she was too weak to stand) and given 24-hour nursing. The water had caused a number of issues for her, but a bit of serious TLC can work wonders.

There’s still a way to go – she’s not a spring chicken either – but thanks to a bit of species assistance (and some help from SPANA) she has a very good chance of making it. 

Happy Christmas from Jordan.

Water donkey eating after recovery

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