When rescuers found Shocks the donkey, he was lying in the field at one of the farms in Ireland with a rope around his neck. The skin around his neck was covered in lesions and sores from being tethered. Little did he know, that moment was the beginning of a new life for Shocks by getting help and become famous as the donkey that can give therapy for speaking.
The troubling story of the little girl and the therapy donkeys
Shocks got a loving new home: The Donkey Sanctuary in Birmingham, England, where many of the animals are rescued from neglect and abuse and go on to become therapy donkeys. That’s where, in 2013, Shocks met a little girl by the name of Amber, who was 2 years old and couldn’t make a sound. When the little girl and her twin were born prematurely, Amber couldn’t breathe. As soon as the little girl entered the world, she needed surgery to save her from certain death. Doctors gave Amber an emergency tracheostomy, a surgery that put a pipe in her neck to let air in, saving her life. The surgery did cut off airflow from her vocal chords that made the little girl totally mute.
Amber and Shocks way to friendship and happiness
Amber also has cerebral palsy, which makes it difficult for her to build muscle and move around. “A friend mentioned The Donkey Sanctuary contacted the little girl’s mother and told her that there are donkeys that can give therapy to the little girl. The family hade no other option than to try it. It was Amber’s first time meeting a therapy donkey. Amber was the donkey’s first therapy patient. When the therapy donkey met Amber they hade a really fast connection with each other. “It was immediate to see that they had a bond, as they were both nice with each other,” Austwick said.
Can the therapy donkey help other children with mute disabilities?
The family said that it was scary for them, as parents, as the therapy donkey was so big compared to the little Amber, but they really seemed smitten!” Shocks encouraged Amber to be active, which helped her build up her strength. She even learned to ride the donkey who, only a little while before, had been left for dead. When Amber turned 3, she was ready for another surgery to make her speak, but it would take practice. After taking a ride with him and getting ready to leave the sanctuary to go home, she hugged the donkey and said, “I love you, Shocky.” Austwick remembers.
“It was such a proud moment and a massive relief to know that she can speak.” Now Amber is going to school and growing up strong – but she still visits her best friend, Shocks. They were so moved by what Shocks did for their daughter. They even wrote a book about it so that can help The Donkey Sanctuary rescue to train more therapy donkeys like Shocks, you can make a donation.