A few days ago, Lucy went to the small Palestinian village of Ras Atira, near the city of Qalqilya, in order to provide care for working equines. Here is her account of the outreach work and some photos.
Quite a few of the families living there own a donkey or horse (to a lesser extent, mules) that they use mainly for agricultural work such as tilling their small fields and for work in orchards and also for pulling carts laden with goods and for transportation. Although all quite well nourished, many of the donkeys have harness and chain wounds on their backs, chest and shoulder areas and their noses, and sadly because most are handled very aggressively they are so scared, timid and wary, that they are too afraid even to take a piece of carrot.
One poor little donkey had bleeding forelegs which we cleaned, treated and bandaged, giving the owner ointments and bandages to continue the treatment at home, and we also arranged that we will return in 2 weeks time for a follow up.
A total of 15 donkeys, 4 horses and 2 mules visited our roadside clinic and we did everything from rasping teeth, trimming hooves and worming, to changing old, worn, damaging harnessing, covering nose chains, giving antibiotics and cleaning and dressing wounds. No matter how many times we appeal to the owners to use better methods and a gentle hand and a more gentle tone of voice, it’s clear that we will need to keep ploughing on again and again and again until one day, hopefully, there will eventually be more positive changes. Does it make me feel like giving up? Yes, without a doubt, but for the sake of those little animals feeling even a little respite and having a cool drink of water and knowing what it is to feel a hand of love and many times, hear a prayer said for them, we can’t give up, we need to continue on and help them as much as we can.
In this particular village it’s difficult because the older women and younger ladies who all mostly stay out of sight in their homes, like for me, ‘the English donkey lady’ to go and sit with them and drink their Arab spiced tea and marvel at all their children and babies, which I’m happy to do, for a few minutes - because I desperately want to do what I am there to do, help the animals! But equally of course I cannot, not accept their warm hospitality.
Some apparently think of me as ‘the French donkey lady’. Our vet, Dr Nour, tells me he hears some of the local men telling others, ‘the French donkey lady is here!’ Au toujours mes amis, au toujours!
Two things that we found we are desperate for is a really decent, proper equine tooth rasp (we have a cheap one which just isn’t effective enough) and some good, effective anti-fly ointments and spray for use on animals. The rasp we need, with three spare blades, costs £166/$215/€193 - are you able to help? If you are, we would be so grateful and so would the dear donkeys, mules and horses who will be able to benefit from it by being able to chew their food more efficiently.
And of course apart from a good tooth rasp and anti fly ointments, we also desperately need your kind donations just to help keep our outreach clinics going and our Sanctuary open and able to continue to care for our rescued animals. Please help us if you can, we cannot do our work without you. THANK YOU 🙏🏻♥️
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