A Rescued Donkey’s Progress and Two More Rescues
By Pamela Holmes
When I tell you that I’m pretty sure I could write a story every month about Dana Bartlett and her animal rescue efforts on St. John, I’m not kidding. I was no sooner in the process of writing an updated story about Suzie Q, the wild donkey found missing a rear hoof on February 1st, and also about TJ, a male donkey born on February 6th who initially required bottle feeding as he was not nursing, that I received a text from Dana at 5pm on Saturday, March 7th. Another donkey was found near Zootenvaal with one of his testicles bitten off. I couldn’t believe what I saw when I met Dana at Sandy Stein’s house on Eden in Coral Bay after Dana had followed the injured donkey through the trails. Apparently, he had gotten into a fight over territory with another male donkey the night before. The poor guy had been bleeding for almost 24 hours. He was weak but still very wild. It took the three of us awhile to get a halter on him and tie him to a tree. Dana then called Dr. Laura Palminteri. We tried to get him to walk to Dana’s farm, the Carolina Corral, but he had lost too much blood and was very weak. He went down in the middle of the road. Now what?? It was getting dark and we were afraid we were going to lose him. Luckily, Dr. Laura called back and said she was on her way. She arrived with Scarlett Steer, who settled herself down at the donkey’s head, while Laura immediately started the castration procedure via car headlights. It took all four of us women to try and hold him down and keep his back legs from kicking Dr. Laura. Luckily, a couple visiting from New York City appeared and jumped in to help; she holding the surgical implements and he a flashlight. After he was stitched up, we rolled him on a sheet and lifted him into the back of Dr. Laura’s pick up truck with the additional help of Matt Trayser. Dr. Laura drove him to Dana’s farm and was carried into a private stall. After a short while, he was up and eating a banana out of our hands. Like Suzie Q, though wild, I think he knew he was in a safe place and that we were trying to help him. Though Sandy had originally called him Stubby, as he was missing the end of his tail, Dana renamed him Ali (as in Muhammad) for the great fights he gave with the male donkey as well as us! Ali is recuperating at the Carolina Corral and getting proper medication for his wounds. He will be released once he is healed.
A huge thank you to all for giving up their Saturday night to take care of this poor helpless guy. I don’t know what we would’ve done if Dr. Laura wasn’t able to come. She has been helping Dana save animals since 1997. Thank you also to all who made donations to Dana in support of rescuing Suzie Q as a response to my article published in several sources last month. Suzie Q was checked by Dr. Laura on February 11th and given a good bill of health and encouragement that her hoof would grow back over the next six months. She lets us change her bandage on a regular basis and is so sweet, (maybe even appreciative)! The baby donkey, TJ, who was not nursing at first, finally got the hang of it after a couple weeks and he and his mom, Cinnamon, are doing well at the Carolina Corral.
Dana has been the only hands-on, all-volunteer donkey and other large animal rescuer on St. John for the past 23 years. She has continued to do it all these years because it fills a need in the community to care for the larger animals who have nowhere else to go. Despite the challenges and/or because of them, her work at the corral is able to make a difference in people’s lives as evidenced by two recent notes. The first is from a visiting couple and the other from a part time resident. They read:
“Dana, We enjoyed spending time visiting with you and your special animal friends. Meeting and knowing how your kindness helps so many animals on St. John and your beloved donkeys will forever be in our hearts.”
“Dear Dana, Thank you for helping the animals. Your example and energy make a profound difference for all of us. A kinder community. Grateful.”
She is looking to become a nonprofit organization so her efforts of assisting the animals becomes bigger than just herself and it can continue long after she cannot care for them. If anyone is able to assist her with this process, please reach out to her. In the meantime, her animals are always in need of support via feed, hay, medical supplies and general maintenance materials. Donations through the local feed shops, Home Depot gift cards, Jefferspet.com gift cards and veterinary services would be greatly appreciated and accepted. Dana is also trying to secure a pick up truck and a horse trailer to enable her to rescue future injured donkeys. If you would like to make a contribution to help sponsor Suzie Q, Ali, TJ or any of the other rescued animals, you can visit her website.. Contributions can also be made via PayPal at the Carolina Corral’s email, email@example.com or by check to The Carolina Corral 16133 Spring Garden, St. John, VI 00830. Keep up to date with her animals and their stories on her Carolina Corral Facebook page! Thank you for your support!
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